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The Anxious Bench and Cornell University

Tal Howard, Director, recently published a blog post on The Anxious Bench. He also gave a talk at the Chesterton House at Cornell University.

Vatican II's 50th, and the upcoming quincentennial of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 are two significant anniversaries for Western Christianity. Howard and Mark Noll, of Notre Dame, have planned a conference for November 2013 on the Campus of Gordon College. "The conference, we hope, will lay groundwork for asking the "big questions” about the Reformation that inexorably will arise as 2017 draws near," he said, the important focus being the question of how all Christians should remember and commemorate such an occasion.

For Howard, Vatican II is a major factor for any consideration of post-Reformation Christianity, and the posture one uses to remember this more recent, but no less complex event will certainly prepare for 2017. To see the conference as a face-off between progressives and conservatives is, according to Howard, "lazy Whig history." The second Vatican council was guided by two foundational ideas, says Howard, "aggiornamento or, loosely, bringing the Church into dialogue with the modern world, and . . . ressourcement or, loosely, seeking older sources," both terms treated more fully in his 2011 book, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (Oxford, 2011). The effect of these terms can be seen in the council's two principal documents, which articulate a visision for contemporary ecumenism and ecclesiology. Read the full article on The Anxious Bench blog >>

Howard was invited to speak at the Chesterton House at Cornell University on November 9, 2012. His talk was titled, "Religious America, Secular Europe? Reflections on the Transatlantic 'God Gap'" after his book, God and the Atlantic. A center for Christian thought on the historically non-sectarian campus, the House is a collaborative effort among many members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities—including students, pastors, professors, and campus ministry workers, and was founded in 2000. Watch the talk >>