As we inch toward the presidential elections of 2016, crawling through a seemingly endless desert of soundbites, debates, and TV advertisements, we would do well to step back and revisit Reinhold Niebuhr’s Cold War liberalism. The new collection of Niebuhr’s Major Works on Religion and Politics, edited by Elisabeth Sifton, shows that Niebuhr’s political reflections are just as relevant today as they were when he wrote, and can guide us through the political wasteland in which we currently find ourselves.
Part of the frustration of reading Niebuhr on racial injustice comes from the fact that, as Paeth says, Niebuhr failed to support black liberation and empowerment at the precise moments when the logic of his Augustinian thought should have told him to do so most strongly.
This book is both a project and a staging post on a shared journey. It is a place where, for a brief moment, the three of us came to rest in order to explore and expand upon our separate reflections on attempts to construct an appropriate contemporary conceptuality for Christianity, and its implications for engaged practice and public theology.