Book Forum: “What Would Jesus Buy?”
Two Books on Consumerism and Evangelical Culture
Books claiming to decipher evangelical Christianity for the secular reader are nothing new, but the Bush years ushered in the genre’s golden age. Following the 2000 election, scores of pundits sought to explain the rise of the Christian right, and some of their efforts were worthwhile. For The Great Derangement, Matt Taibbi went undercover at a fundamentalist retreat that culminated with a mass exorcism where he was encouraged to vomit up demons, and he walked away understanding how easy it could be to “bury your ‘sinful’ self far under the skin of your outer Christian.” D. Michael Lindsay conducted interviews with evangelicals in business and politics for Faith in the Halls of Power and (perhaps to a fault) allowed them to speak for themselves.
Read the full review:
Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture.
Paperback: U of Calif. Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
To Serve God and Wal-Mart:
The Making of Christian Free Enterprise.
Hardcover: Harvard U.P., 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $22 ] [ Amazon ]
Jesus Manifesto Reviews
Brennan Manning’s THE FURIOUS LONGING OF GOD.http://www.jesusmanifesto.com/2009/05/radicals-resting-in-god%E2%80%99s-fury-brennan-manning%E2%80%99s-the-furious-longing-of-god/
Why should Christian radicals – ordinary and otherwise – read Brennan Manning’s books?
We need to read Brennan Manning — a former Franciscan priest and self-described ragamuffin — because, while affirming both community and action, he calls us back to that which is the universe’s lone life source: intimacy with God. In Manning’s latest release, The Furious Longing of God, he reminds us that ours is not an egotistical deity who sits back and smugly fields the praise of indebted subjects, but one who chases after creation with a fury unlike the universe has ever seen.
Read the full review:
THE FURIOUS LONGING OF GOD.
Hardcover: David C. Cook, 2009
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $15 ] [ Amazon ]
THE OTHER JOURNAL:
Movements toward the Beautiful
in the Theology of Charles Williams
In his book The Art of the Icon: A Theology of Beauty, Paul Evdokimov compares the Creator God to a divine poet who brings the world into being from nothingness, each creative act summed up with these words, “[H]e saw that it was beautiful.” Evdokimov contends that in the Greek text, the word used for what God sees is kalon (beautiful) and not agathon (good), and the word used in the Hebrew text can sustain both meanings simultaneously. What God has created, he has made beautiful; creation is fundamentally beautiful. As Evdokimov continues his narrative on the creation text, he demonstrates that in Genesis “the Hebrew word to create is conjugated in the completed mood (Genesis 1). That is to say, the world ‘has been created, is created, and will be created’ until its fulfilment.” Here we feel the pulse in language of the process of becoming: God in his divine wisdom began a drama in which he created in the “completed mood,” and in so doing, he invited the participation of his creation in its own fulfilment. As the twentieth-century Russian theologian Sergii Bulgakov teaches, all creation is longing to be revealed as what it is, as fundamentally beautiful, and “all things press towards beauty.”
But how are we to understand beauty, and what does it mean that God has invoked the synergistic and historically bound participation of his creation into its consummation? In this essay, I consider these questions using the theology of Charles Williams, an early twentieth century lay theologian and poet. As I pursue the idea of beauty within Williams, I will invoke other authors whose thinking might fructify and enhance Williams’s thought. Then I will turn to the question of sanctification. If beauty is our fundamental nature and that to which we are pressed, then we must seek to know how “beauty saves the world,” as Fydor Dostoevsky once said. To explore this question, I will examine Williams’s understanding of the poetic and its relationship to the life of the church.