Christian Realism

Christian Realism and Enlightened Self-Interest as the Marshall Plan Emerges
Christian Realism and Enlightened Self-Interest as the Marshall Plan Emerged

The economic aid which is required could not be a matter of pure generosity. Nations as nations are incapable of such generosity.

Post-War Munich and American Housing Requisitions: A Christian Realist Plea
Post-War Munich and American Housing Requisitions: A Christian Realist Plea

“The people of Munich were informed by proclamation of the city administration that the requisition of private homes for army housing was to be carried through, and to a greater extent than had been hitherto feared.”

Five Impressions on Niebuhr and Co., 1945–47

From 1945 to 1947 as the United States and Soviet Union moved toward the Cold War, Christian realists writing for Reinhold Niebuhr’s journal, Christianity and Crisis, responded to global dilemmas. Here are five impressions of those articles, along with lessons for today.

Ruins of Old Fort Randall Church on the right bank of the Missouri River in Pickstown, Charles Mix County, South Dakota, on July 9, 1947. By Roy Oglesby for Historic American Buildings Survey, via Wikimedia Commons.
Man’s Chief End and the Meaning of Life

Man is troubled—more troubled than at any previous time in the brief sojourn of his kind on this planet. Wars, revolutions and social convulsions all indicate the depth of his disquiet. He is troubled because he does not know, and he wants to know, the meaning of his own life.

Top Gun & American Audacity

The world whether admitting to it or not needs an audacious America that will safeguard that part of civilization cherishing law, liberty, equality, decency and ordered prosperity.

Is It Time to Preach Optimism? - Hope Pessimism
Is It Time to Preach Optimism?

Recognizing the place for a genuine religious hope born of faith and for an enthusiasm for realization of social and ethical gains in any historical situation, Christianity will nevertheless, when true to itself, set its face against utopianism or popular brands of optimism.

Niebuhr’s Report from Switzerland, 1947
Niebuhr’s Report from Switzerland, 1947

At the end of Reinhold Niebuhr’s travels across Western Europe in 1947, he spent a week at the Ecumenical Institute, a facility near Geneva. He was hopeful of how this project would bless the church life of the world, and he offered observations about discussions there about communism, church-state relations, Christian political parties, and more.

Free Speech Healthy Politics House Un-American Activities Committee
Free Speech and Healthy Politics

Now what is here symbolized has been the most fundamental idea in our American democracy. Ours is a government by discussion.

From Attacks on Civilians to Spiritual Injury: Future War Trends from Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
From Attacks on Civilians to Spiritual Injury: Future War Trends from Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is proving to be a tragic proving ground for trends that will almost certainly be replicated in other twenty-first-century warfare. Decentralized decision-making, the targeting of population centers, tactical speed in decision-making, the rise of artificial intelligence, vital intelligence sharing, and the strategic impact of moral and spiritual injury demonstrate the boundaries for future combat.