"In fact, social justice, hope, and building a movement of transformation have always been at the center of liberal Christianity. A dramatic challenge has been posed to all of us, though, by the economic debacle that began on Wall Street in the fall of 2008 and has spread around the world. As we've heard many times, this is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with most analysts predicting that it will get worse before it gets better. How exactly does the rubber hit the road for liberal Christians in responding to an epochal calamity like this?

"I believe that this is especially a time that aches for what liberal Christianity has to offer. For this tradition has the ability to look ahead to a new social covenant, not just back to an old one. It puts rationality and openness to new ideas ahead of blind faith and dogma tied to the past. Criticized sometimes for not taking sin seriously enough, it points us to the classic Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love while at the same time struggling against vices like fear-mongering, greed, and anger. It reminds us that we're all equal in the sight of God. That makes a real difference when it comes to issues of wealth and class, just as much as with those of gender, sexual orientation, race, and other characteristics upon which humans have historically discriminated against each other. It asks us to look beyond personal salvation in the hereafter to help build community here and now. Reminding us of Jesus's words not to judge lest we be judged, and not to throw stones at others since we sin ourselves, liberal Christianity promotes tolerance and dialogue in areas of difference and conflict. What's needed now is nothing less than a new Christianity for America and the world — one that works respectfully and appreciatively, hand-in-hand, with Christians who don't affirm themselves as liberal, with people of other religious traditions, and with the nonreligious and the antireligious."