Document Type



Pacific Coast Theological Journal

Publication Date



Religion and Philosophy


Are there signs of new emerging myths and stories about our religious self-understanding as a nation that will help us address what Robert Bellah calls, our "third time of trial"? On and off for many years, I have been interested in the questions raised by Robert Bellah's work on civil religion. Specifically, I have sought answers to the above question posed in the last Chapter of Broken Covenant, "The Birth of New American Myths." Perhaps to be more precise about my interest in this question, I would at least have to go back to my graduate student days in Berkeley at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in the 1970's. In 1975 at the release of Broken Covenant, I organized a book event that included, Bellah, theologian, Robert MacAffee Brown, and ethicists, John Bennett, and Robert Lee. Brown and Bennett were teaching at Pacific School of Religion and Lee was teaching at San Francisco Theological Seminary. There was a packed sanctuary for the event at the University Christian Church. In the social, political and religious effervescence of the 60's and 70's, emerging new cultures were of interest to all.