Hat Trick

The Revealer’s better half, Killing the Buddha, scores with one of the more interesting pieces on the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. What makes Peter Manseau’s report noteworthy? Manseau’s eye for the event’s absurdity (it took place in a hockey rink, and a dissenting priest gave a lecture on “rimming”); his observational tone that dispensed with talking heads; and his emphasis on culture as theology. Meanwhile, The Revealer‘s revealer, Jeff Sharlettakes on a trinity of new books on how the 1960s effected American religion in the Washington Post Book World. The best bit, if he does say so himself, is a quote from one of the books under review, Mark Oppenheimer’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture. “The mainline churches survived the strange, strange times of the nineteenth century . . . the days of latter rain, speaking in tongues, gifts of prophesying, and conversations with the dead. Somehow, the old religions survived. . . . Catholics still believed in the Pope and Episcopalians did not. Unitarians still did not believe that Jesus was God. Baptists did not baptize their young. Jews did not baptize at all. And still, people kept coming. The 1860s couldn’t change that. And no, the 1960s couldn’t either.” Take that, Alan Wolfe. Better yet, get it straight from the horse’s mouth — in an excerpt from Oppenheimer’s book that ran in The Boston Globe.

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