Changing the culture
James Davison Hunter, the University of Virginia social theorist known for his books on the culture wars, has written a new book, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford). It questions, to put it mildly, the ways that many Christians think about changing the culture. I haven’t read the book, but this brief summary and interview with Hunter from the May issue of Christianity Today are certainly thought provoking: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/may/16.33.html
In Hunter’s intellectual landscape, evangelical Protestant Christianity has always loomed larger than Catholic Christianity, so Catholics reading this have to make some adjustments. His views also seem to reflect the common assumptions of (a) those of us burdened with a good bit of academic social theory, and (b) those of us situated in universities or other outposts of elite culture. Finally, I’m uncertain, as were a number of his Christianity Today readers, about what concretely he means by some terms. For all that, this is a stimulating interview, both altogether and in its parts.