Saturday, April 03, 2010

Faith in the Halls of Power

I was surprised and exceedingly hopeful when I read Michael Lindsay's book in 2007.  Dr. Lindsay, a sociology professor at Rice University in Houston and formerly of the Gallup Polling Organization had had the privilege of studying hundreds of industry leaders, who happened to be Christians, many of them, devout Christians.

He chronicled leaders in 1) Academics 2) Politics &Public Policy 3) Business and Philanthropy and 4) Hollywood and the Arts.  It was impressive to see the presence of Christians in positions of influence and the effectiveness of 20th Century parachurch institutions like World Vision, Prison Fellowship Ministries, and Compassion International.

But, in James Davison Hunters book that we have been looking at, he says that Christians lack significant impact because their presence is not dense enough. In other words, effective impact emerges from the density of the Network of people.  Dr. Hunter asserts that the Christians in influential positions are the exception that prove the rule that modern elites are for the most part, secular. It was the density of the Reformation network, the density of the Great Awakenings networks, the density of the abolitionists surrounding Wilberforce with overlapping economic, political, and cultural capital that led to an eventual change in the Culture.

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