Archives For American


A new book, out tomorrow, makes a broad case against football.

Publishers Weekly’s review notes:

Almond makes a convincing case for the theory that Americans have turned to football in order to meet spiritual needs that arose as a result of industrial and social progress.

Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto
Steve Almond

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Read an excerpt from the book, and tell us what you think…

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The Growing Influence of the Prosperity Movement

A Review of

Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Kate Bowler


Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
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Reviewed by Douglas Connelly.
If you are looking for a critique of the prosperity gospel or a biblical evaluation of its teaching, this is not the book for you.  In her first book – an adaptation of her doctoral dissertation – Kate Bowler tells the story of how the American prosperity gospel began and developed, and she introduces us to some of the main prosperity preachers.  But Bowler does not take a side in the debate over prosperity teaching.  Instead she tries (and largely succeeds) to give an even-handed account of how such teaching set its roots in American religious culture and how it grew into the mega-influence it is today.

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Prophetic Encounters - Dan McKannan“Did I Not Bring the Philistines from Caphtor?”

A Review of

Prophetic Encounters:

Religion and the American Radical Tradition

Dan McKannan.

Hardback: Beacon Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed By Jess O. Hale, Jr.

In a presidential election year in the United States, citizens and persons of faith find themselves bombarded with spin and media messages aimed at the contradictory purposes of appealing to the ideological poles of the major party bases and to the apparently shrinking political center.  In the midst of this partisan communication, persons of faith frequently find their only options to be either the Religious Right or the Secular Left.  The media storyline often assigns persons of faith to the Religious Right of James Dobson and the Family Research Council while the other pole is left to the secular, often godless, Left.  Into this environment Dan McKannan’s Prophetic Encounters usefully reminds us that the Left is not godless or secular, and indeed has a quite natural religious expression.

McKannan provides a needed correction to the common narrative of the left as secular.  For progressive evangelicals, Prophetic Encounters paints a picture of the Left that goes beyond their pride in Finneyite revivals, abolition and Sojourners to illustrate the diversity of a Left with pagan witches and Jews as well as Unitarians and mainline liberal Protestants who faithfully labored to change American society.  Perhaps this religious impulse is a moving of the Spirit.  If so, the message of radical religion extends broadly beyond the Christian tradition, though the Christian tradition is prominent among radicals, so that religion represents leaven to the radical tradition.

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