John Micklethwait
Editor, The Economist

John Micklethwait Defines ‘Pastorpreneur’

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The Economist editor on how evangelical Christianity adapts to the modern world.

John Micklethwait

John Micklethwait is Editor-in-Chief of The Economist. Before that he edited the US section of the newspaper (1999 - 2006) and ran the New York Bureau for two years, having edited the Business Section of the newspaper for the previous four years. His other roles have included setting up The Economist's office in Los Angeles, where he worked from 1990 - 1993 and being Media Correspondent. He has covered business and politics from the United States, Latin America, Continental Europe, Southern Africa and most of Asia. He is a frequent broadcaster and has appeared on CNN, ABC News, BBC and NPR. He is the co-author of "The Witch Doctors", "A Future Perfect: the Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalisation" and "The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea" and "The Right Nation", a study of conservatism in America, with Adrian Wooldridge, also an Economist journalist.

Question: Hasn't evangelical Christianity really just become a self-help movement?

Micklethwait:    I think, there is an element of truth in that which the mega-preachers dealt with what we call the [past entrepreneurs], they don’t particularly like that aspect but it has to be said and, you know, Rick Warren’s a very good test case of this.  Actually, if you look at some of these messages they’re delivering, amongst these sort of cuddlier, nicer thing, you know, they’re still quite hard lined on issues like abortion, gay marriage, famously Warren got into trouble with a lot of people prior to his gay [guilt] in the Obama inauguration, I think, you know, that maybe a surprise to people around him that he was suddenly seen as more “intolerant” than people imagined.  In the end, a lot of them… and if you listen to what they actually teach, it’s not quite far from [Princeton] but, you know, it’s got quite a stern message underneath it so I think there’s that militating against it.