A compelling story of how one man, in light of his Christian faith, questioned the exclusivist claims of church, nation, and race.
In The Grace of Troublesome Questions, Richard Hughes shares his life-long quest to make sense of three exclusivist narratives. First, the church of his youth claimed it was the one true church, outside of which there was no salvation. Second, he absorbed equally exclusivist assumptions that claimed the United States was God’s chosen people—a nation called to enlighten and redeem all humankind. And third, Hughes discovered embedded within himself and his nation the pervasive notion of White supremacy. While these three claims defined the world of his youth, Hughes came to see that none of them squared with the teachings of the Christian faith. Through personal stories and penetrating analysis, Hughes offers a behind-the-scenes tour of his scholarship, and the clear and compelling vocation that has fueled his life’s work.
RICHARD T. HUGHES is Scholar in Residence, Center for Christianity and Scholarship, Lipscomb University.
“Always anchored in the teachings of Jesus and the example of the Early Church. Hughes never disappoints. His writing is provocative, confessional, courageous, and inspiring. You will see the world differently after reading this book!”
—John Roth, Editor, Mennonite Quarterly Review; Director, Mennonite Historical Library; and Professor of History, Goshen College
“Few historians have deepened our understanding of American religion more than Richard Hughes. This book speaks volumes to the present political, religious, and racial landscape. A must-read.”
—Joe Creech, Director, Lilly Fellows Program
“This book is a genuine treasure! Always the master of his subject, Hughes invariably thinks outside the box. To top it off, Hughes is a superb communicator who delivers his insights in beautiful, clear prose.”
—Grant Underwood, Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, Brigham Young University
“For those familiar with Richard’s work, this book will be a joyful reminder of what you already know to be true of his great mind and capacious heart. For those who are not, prepare to be elevated— inspired and challenged—in your understanding of American Christianity.”
—Hannah Schell, Editor, Vocation Matters, Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE)
“No one has loved, studied, or wrestled more with the American Stone-Campbell religious tradition than Richard Hughes, and no one has expressed with more clarity its massive gifts and flaws, always pressing it to become the ‘beloved community.’”
-Douglas A. Foster, Scholar in Residence, Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University