Archives For Fundamentalism

 

The Soul Damage of 
Fundamentalist Culture
 
A Review of
 

I Will Shout Your Name
John Matthew Fox

Paperback: Press 53, 2017
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Reviewed by C.S. Boyll

 

Using humor and tragedy, John Matthew Fox has published his first short story collection that inspects the foibles of fundamentalist culture and its soul damage.

 Fox is gentle with his characters’ psyches, although he doesn’t offer much, if any, spiritual power and solace. These believers make decisions with little awareness that Jesus will and does stick closer than a brother. I can’t deny that such outliers are among the Bride of Christ. Many readers have known at least one irritating person like “God’s Guerrilla” Randolf Hamilton. A retired missionary, Randolf still gives hellfire-infused speeches to youth groups, hooking their attention with stories about Bible-smuggling and snakebite survival.  Unfortunately, Randolf suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s. Ironically, losing his memories makes Randolf a better father and grandfather.

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In Spite of How Messed up
God’s People Can Be

A Review of

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future
Elizabeth Esther

Paperback: Convergent Books, 2014
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Reviewed by Ellen Painter Dollar
 
 
Scenes from Elizabeth Esther’s childhood:
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A Review of

The Sword of the Lord:
The Roots of Fundamentalism
in an American Family
.
Andrew Himes.
Paperback: CreateSpace, 2011.
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Reviewed by Bart Fletcher.

John R. Rice, Jr., and his publication Sword of the Lord, are familiar names to those with even the most remote connection to Christian fundamentalism in the United States.  From the  battles in the 1920s between fundamentalists and modernists to the startling rise of a “moral majority” in the 1970s, the iconic Rice, who died more than thirty years ago, was a significant player.  Rice’s grandson, Andrew Himes, has created a work that is a creative amalgam of personal memoir, family genealogy, religious history and cultural critique.

For the first few chapters, I questioned the effectiveness of this mélange of genre.  With historical references carefully cited in a broad sweep of the relevant literature, it was at first a bit disarming to observe the weaving together of personal story and family history conjecture.  Early on (page 27, for example), Himes writes of the Scottish-Irish settlers of Appalachia and their emerging connections with the American Revolution.  In the midst of historical data is his assertion, “On Tuesday morning, September 26, 1780, John Rice Sr. joined over 1,100 fellow citizen soldiers, who became known as the Overmountain men.”  Within sentences the author writes of a “Sword of the Lord” sermon preached by one Reverend Doak, implying that his forbear was present.  There is no documentation to this claim, not even a reference to family legend.  This makes a clever connection between the book’s title and continual theme, but needs more explication for it not to seem overly contrived.

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