The James Luther Adams Foundation seeks to cultivate a community of inquiry, conversation, and action engaging the distinctive voice and vision of James Luther Adams with contemporary religious, political, economic, and cultural concerns—concerns that are personally and institutionally formed and reformed through prophetic faith, democratic community, and ecological commitment.


The community of faith in which and from which we live finds its self-awareness in changing situations only through our speaking with each other.  Our community of faith is a community of communication.  It is a community of dialogue, or perhaps we should say, of multilogue.  Something very important for religious faith is implied by the very existence and possibility of communication.” 

~ James Luther Adams, “In the Beginning Is the Word” 

Where today do we turn to find probing discussion on matters of religious and ethical concern to our communities of faith? The late David B. Parke last carried this torch as Editor of the lively journal, Kairos (Greek, “the right time”). We seek to open such a space again for timely contributions by Authors, Respondents, and others wishing to comment.

In keeping with the virtually unlimited in range of Adams’s concerns, topics of these Kairos/Conversations may be as various as our own ultimate and proximate concerns. If those who take part gain new self-awareness and consensus, so much the more will JLA’s vision of a “community of communication” be sustained.

James Luther Adams headshot
James Luther Adams

Kairos/Conversation Two

The second in our series of conversations begins with William Johnson Everett who reflects on his recent collection of essays A Covenantal Imagination: Selected Essays in Christian Social Ethics (Wipf and Stock/Resource Publications, 2021).

William Everett is the Herbert Gezork Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Andover Newton Seminary at Yale. 

Reflections on A Covenantal Imagination

Next in our series: Hak Joon Lee, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, responds to William Everett, April 2023.

Our readers are invited to comment on posts on this site. Please use the Comments field at the end of each post to share your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you.

George Kimmich Beach
Jerome Ross
Jerome C. Ross
Nancy McDonald Ladd

Kairos/Conversation One

George Kimmich Beach is the author of Transforming Liberalism: The Theology of James Luther Adams and the editor of three collections of Adams’s essays. In his essay below on JLA’s theology, Beach writes: “Within the broad areas of Adams’s intellectual work we find a radical turn—toward a theology that arises from and calls for engagement in the communal and the historical dimensions of human existence.” 

Read Kairos/Conversation One by George Kimmich Beach:

The Prophetic Theology of James Luther Adams

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd responds to Kim Beach’s essay:

By Their Groups You Still Know Them

Reverend Dr. Jerome C. Ross responds to Beach’s essay:

Ross: Is Such a “Prophetic Theology” What We Need Today?

Read a response to this essay by Dr. Norman Faramelli.

The faith of a church or of a nation is an adequate faith only when it inspires and enables people to give of their time and energy to shape the various institutions — social, economic, and political — of the common life.”

James Luther Adams


Robert Kraig is on the Board of Directors of the JLA Foundation and is a grandson of James Luther Adams. He serves as the Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin. A recent article of Robert’s was featured in progressive news magazine In These Times. How Progressives Can Counter ‘Tough-on Crime’

William Everett, who was James Luther Adams’s teaching assistant in his final year at Harvard and is a member of the Board of James Luther Adams Foundation, now brings a number of his essays into a volume that lifts up the many strands of covenantal thought in his work. A

Newly Republished Edition: (San Diego: Reader’s Magnet Press, 2021, 381 pages) In this book Adams’s leading editor and interpreter provides a comprehensive synthesis of his thought. The book is organized around Adams’s major themes, giving theological context to the numerous anecdotes that made his rhetoric irresistible. This new edition is

Based on newly processed home movies by James Luther Adams, never shown before, of Germany’s most prominent Christian leaders of the 1930s. A film about the church and the Nazis. James Luther Adams, professor emeritus of Christian ethics, and George Huntston Williams, professor emeritus of church history, recount their personal remembrances

Who was James Luther Adams and why is he important for those who care about the fate of liberalism—liberal religion and liberal democracy alike—in this age of anxiety?  For an answer there is no better place to begin than Adams’s own dialogues at a gathering of the Collegium Association, at

“We Unitarian Universalists have been living off the intellectual capital of James Luther Adams for half a century now.” It was in the 1980s. The speaker was a respected older UU minister. His assertion surprised me at first, since he was a self-declared religious humanist, while JLA was clearly a

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