Different Together-How the Church Could Save the World
November 1-3, 2017
Princeton Theological Seminary
In a nation divided by its politics, Christianity continues to be a church divided, despite Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one.” (John 17.21) This course explores the causes of American polarization, then imagines biblically-grounded strategies for Christian collaboration and community-building across difference that could help heal our land.
Sociologists tell us that the U.S. is more politically polarized than at any time since the Civil War. Conservatives seem unable to find any good use for liberals, and vice versa. In that context, American Christians continue to divide from one another because we disagree. This course will trace the causes for our draw to echo chambers. Then, in light of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, “that they may all be one” (John 17.21), in line with Paul’s belief that God gives a variety of gifts “for the common good” (1 Cor 12.7), and drawing on a growing body of economic research, the course proposes strategies for seeing our theological and political difference as an asset, rather than a threat.
Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind — Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics (Penguin-Random House, 2013).
Allen Hilton, House United — How the Church Could Save the World (Augsburg-Fortress, 2017).
Scott Page, The Difference — How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (Princeton Press, 2008).
Rev. Allen Hilton, Ph.D., is the Founder and Leader of House United, a non-profit initiative that helps schools and churches collaborate and build community across our theological and political differences. Allen is also the Theologian in Residence at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, AZ. Allen earned an M.Div. from PTS (’89) and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Yale, where he also taught on the NT faculty. He has served churches in CT, WA, MN, and AZ. His book, House United: How the Church Could Save the World (Augsburg-Fortress) is due out May 2017. Allen lives in Scottsdale with his wife, Liz, and his teen and tween sons Sam and Isaac.