Rawls Goes to Church
Many mainline Protestant communities want to be welcoming while preserving their identities; they want to be shaped by the central claims of the faith while making room for those who doubt. And crucially, they want to do this in a way that leads to vibrant, growing communities, where more and more people gather to worship, encourage one another, and live out the Gospel. How should the Episcopal Church—and other mainline Protestant denominations, insofar as they’re similar—try to achieve these goals? I suggest that local churches borrow some resources from John Rawls’s Political Liberalism. On the view I outline, it’s valuable for local churches to see themselves as akin to political bodies composed of reasonable citizens. The idea, in essence, is that the relevant kind of reasonableness would make congregations more unified even while tolerating more diversity, and would accomplish all this without giving up their distinctly Christian identity.
Copyright (c) 2020 Bob Fischer
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