Archives For Emergent Village


Jonathan Brink Reflects on
John Franke’s Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth
For The Emergent Village website

It’s not often that you run into a book that explores a deep tension within the church in such a succinct way, that you say, “I wish I had written that.” But John Franke has done just that.

Franke recently released, “Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth” by Abingdon Press, a book that wrestles with the nature of truth and its apparent contradiction of plurality. How can truth be plural? Franke offers what is arguably one of the better responses to the common tension in the church as it grapples the shifting landscape towards postmodern culture.

Franke’s central thesis is,

“the expression of biblical and orthodox Christian faith is inherently and irreducibly pluralist.” (p.7)

At first glance, this kind of statement can be seen as a defense for cultural relativism. In other words, it seems like Franke is arguing for the idea that truth is relative. And if you close the book there, you’ll be missing out on a deeply informed argument away from this very idea.

Read the full review:

Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth.
John Franke.

Paperback: Abingdon, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Powells Books Reviews
Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre
by Rene Girard

In Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business, two door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen fight a bad-tempered homeowner. The manic tit-for-tat escalates from head banging to a demolished house and an exploded car. The three become more and more alike as their wiggy violence spirals without aim or purpose.

It’s funny because we know that that’s the way we are, from the cradle. You hit your brother; he hits back; you hit again, only harder. Aggressor and aggrieved become interchangeable, indistinguishable, and parents know there is little point in trying to figure out “who started it.”

As the Stanford scholar Rene Girard observes in the book-length interview Battling to the End, “The aggressor has always already been attacked” and so feels justified. Look at the Middle East.

But what if violence goes unchecked? “This is an apocalyptic book,” Girard states at the outset. The more probable such an endgame becomes, “the less we talk about it.”

Read the full review:

Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre
(Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture).

Rene Girard
Paperback: Michigan State Univ. Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]