The good does draw to the good. – Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is an award-winning American journalist who this past January gave the John Albert Hall lecture at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The organizers underestimated the interest, as there were people standing in the assigned lecture hall, and there was a video link to three more lecture halls for the overflow.
For fifteen years Hedges covered the Middle East and the war in the former Yugoslavia for the New York Times. He has written books on war, religion in the US, and politics. A quotation from his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002) was used at the beginning of the The Hurt Locker:
The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.
Hedges is (like me!) a graduate of Harvard Divinity School where he received a Master of Divinity in 1983. He applied to be ordained after graduation in 1983, but apparently being a war correspondent was not considered to be a type of Presbyterian ministry. Eventually the leaders of the denomination changed their minds, and he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014.Christopher Hedges – Christian Fascism and the Rise of Donald Trump from CSRS on Vimeo.
He has unconventional views. He is an old-fashioned social democrat who describes the United States as a failed democracy and believes that the United Kingdom on its way to being one. He has little time for politicians of either major party in the US who he sees as being in thrall to corporations. He has seen more corrupt politicians in more diverse places than anyone could wish, and yet still has hope for the future, and advocates resistance. He quotes Dostoevsky to say that if you want to see the soul of a nation look at its prison system. If Dostoevsky is right, then Hedges knows the soul of the US because he teaches courses at Princeton where half the students are undergraduates and the other half are serving time in prisons. He is grounded in the gospel faith and cannot see why the heresy of the Christian right is not denounced from pulpits and street corners. You may not agree with everything he says, but he is well worth listening to.
The John Albert Hall Lecture is co-sponsored by the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria and the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia. I spent much time as a liaison from the Diocese, sat on a couple of the Centre’s committees, and was a Fellow of the Centre in 2009 and 2012-2014. It is exactly what a a place for inter-disciplinary graduate research should be.