Before we talk about the proper place of Christianity in our society today,
we might want to make sure we know what we’re talking about.
Most North Americans demonstrably do not.
Christianity is the dominant religion in North America’s heritage. While it is still the faith with which most North Americans identify, polls show how little most of us know, let alone understand, about the Christian religion. What do Christians actually believe? What do they want? Why do they act as they do? Where do they fit in a pluralist society?
John Stackhouse goes deep to understand the effect of Christianity on our cultural landscape, below conflicting opinions about surface phenomena. Although the light doesn’t penetrate very far and the pressures can be intense, he has uncovered subterranean factors too important to be neglected. From these scholarly explorations, he can bring insight to our vexed questions about the Christian religion, interpreting its beliefs and practices in vivid language to a broad audience. He is also uniquely equipped to guide Christians in how to live, and articulate, their faith as they navigate contemporary society.
John Stackhouse is a leading interpreter of Christianity. He has lectured on contemporary Christianity at Edinburgh, Fudan, Harvard, Queen’s, Stanford, and Yale universities, among many others. He has given expert testimony to the Canada Revenue Agency, the British Columbia Supreme Court, and the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. And he has conducted seminars for Christian conferences, churches, and student groups from Virginia to Vancouver.
Canada has produced one of Christianity’s most clever and demanding givers of worthwhile advice in John Stackhouse.
Douglas Todd, Award-Winning Reporter & Columnist, The Vancouver Sun
talks & seminars
Christianity in the Modern (and Postmodern) World: Secularization, Religious Resurgence, and the Bewilderment of Public Institutions
This lecture, based on talks presented to journalists, lawyers, politicians, CEOs, physicians, professors, and other cultural leaders, outlines what is and what isn’t changing in the religious landscape of the West. It surveys the confusing range of responses by judges, legislatures, universities, school boards, news media, and other public institutions that struggle to cope with these new and complex challenges. Avoiding the agitated exaggerations so typical of some accounts, even from the well credentialed, the talk then draws on global historical and sociological data to present a useful, intelligible portrait of the ebb and flow of religious life in North America, Europe, and around the world. Leaders have found it helps them truly understand what they are seeing and to respond without overreaction but with poise, clarity, and realism.
Make Up Your Mind: How to Think as a Christian
This lecture (also offered as a seminar) introduces the contemporary intellectual landscape and then offers Christians a basic, “portable” guide to thinking responsibly and thoroughly about everything in life: from art to bioethics, from globalization to groceries, and from picking out a DVD to electing a politician. It surveys the place of the Bible, Christian tradition, human reason, our experience, the Holy Spirit, Christian community, and more—and shows precisely how each plays a part in the properly-functioning Christian mind. (This presentation is based on Dr. Stackhouse’s forthcoming book, Need to Know: Vocational Epistemology [Oxford University Press].)
Winning Your Friend, not (Just) the Argument
This lecture (also available as a seminar) surveys the four key obstacles (pluralism, plausibility, postmodernity, and consumerism) that hinder Christian attempts to offer their faith to others. It then describes a posture and voice for Christian witness that is at once more faithful and more effective than other models popular among Christians today. It concludes with a wealth of practical suggestions to help each person, whatever his or her vocation, to offer the gospel to his or her neighbour in a truly neighbourly way. (This presentation is based on Dr. Stackhouse’s book, Humble Apologetics: Defending the Faith Today [Oxford University Press].)
Behaving in Public: Christian Engagement in Public Life
This lecture (also available as a seminar) offers a sweeping sketch of the role of Christianity and of Christian individuals in modern societies. It then provides focused, practical advice about how Christians can properly engage in public life today, whether as a parent concerned about a local school, a voter concerned about federal politics, or a citizen concerned about the ways Christianity is presented in the media. (This presentation is based in part on Dr. Stackhouse’s book, Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World [Oxford University Press].)