Archives For History

 

Singing The Lord’s Song
in Our Homeland

 
A Feature Review of

Bowing Toward Babylon: The Nationalistic Subversion of Christian Worship in America
Craig M. Watts

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by James Matichuk
 

This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog.
Reprinted with permission. 
*** Visit his blog for many other insightful reviews!

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is living water for our dry, thirsty souls. Nationalism poisons the well.  For citizens of the Kingdom of God, our political, national affiliation is not the most significant thing about ourselves. And yet, America has a long history of co-opting Christian language and worship for nationalistic, political ends.  Craig Watts, the pastor at Royal Palms Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Coral Springs, FL,  probes the reality of American Civil Religion that has permeated our churches in Bowing Toward Babylon.

Several practices of American civil religion have permeated Christian worship in US churches: The placement and honoring of American flags in the sanctuary, celebration of national holidays, the singing of patriotic songs, etc. Watts makes the case that, “rather than being innocuous practices, expressions of nationalism in worship constitute manifestations of misdirected worship that lead to the spiritual malformation of worshippers” (11). In other words, the symbols and story of America (or any nation) is at odds with the Christian story, where Christ calls a new humanity from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  Drawing a long prophetic tradition, Watts calls America, Babylon— a metaphor for an empire or nation where God’s people are tempted to succumb to majority practices and the worship of national gods.

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Engaging the Deep Memory of Our Faith

A Feature Review of 

Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church
Stefana Dan Laing

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2017
Buy Now:  [  Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Garet D. Robinson 

 

One of the greatest tragedies in history are the forgotten stories, people, and events which have shaped our world. Over time, it seems history books fade almost as fast as memories. Whether this is from the erasure of the so-called victors, or disappearance from steady rushing waters of time, events and stories can be forgotten. When Stefana Dan Laing looks at the history of Christianity, she shares the concern that its formative thinkers and writers are being lost. In Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church, Stefana Dan Laing sets out recover these forgotten for patristic texts and remind evangelical Christians of their importance. Holding a PhD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serving as assistant librarian at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Houston campus, Laing is well positioned to lead this inquiry. Retrieving History is a short text, coming in at just under 200 pages, and is published by Baker Academic and is a volume in its Evangelical Ressourcement series that seeks to draw present day wisdom from church history.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

   

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel

Laurent Binet

Read a review from THE GUARDIAN… 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Today, July 20, is the Feast Day of St. Margaret of Antioch

 

The story of this important saint…
Adapted from The Catholic Encyclopedia by Marina Konow
 

“Threatened with death unless she renounced the Christian faith, the holy virgin refused to adore the gods of the empire and an attempt was made to burn her, but the flames, we are told in her Acts, left her unhurt. “

 
 

St. Margaret of Antioch was a virgin and martyr. Also called Marina, she belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman who lived not far from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, Margaret was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse, and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother (in what is now Turkey).

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A Difficult Church Service
to Sit Through

A Review of 

Tears We Cannot Stop:
A Sermon to White America
.

Michael Eric Dyson

Hardback: St. Martin’s Press, 2017.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 

Reviewed by Jordan Kellicut

 

My first memory of race was the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots. Growing up in a white family, in a white community, in a white school, race was not a thing I ever considered. I do, however, remember watching King being beaten on the evening news. I always assumed that the four police officers who perpetrated this act of racially charged violence were charged, convicted, and jailed for the crime. I was shocked to learn, in Michael Eric Dyson’s Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, that these men were found innocent (though two were later convicted in Federal court). This likely illustrates the very issue of race in America – namely many white Americans (like myself) are oblivious to the experience of people of color, and as we have seen in the past few years, often hostile to their story.

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This week marked the 20th anniversary of the original UK release of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel. 

 

The newest book from the Harry Potter universe… 

 
 

NPR remembers the occasion with a replay of their original review:

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I have just started reading this excellent new book written in the style of a graphic novel…
 

Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
Ben Nadler / Steven Nadler

Paperback: Princeton UP, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
 
 

Read the Introduction to this book, and an excerpt of it… 
(via Google Books)

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Seven Societal Lessons
We Need to Learn

A Review of 

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Heather Ann Thompson

Hardback: Pantheon, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by John Hawthorne
 

This review originally appeared on
the reviewer’s blog
and is reprinted here with permission.

 

I tell my students that there were five radicalizing events that led to me being a sociologist, although I didn’t know it at the time. It started with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968. I was old enough to have been following the civil rights movement and understood how the killing was a reaction to a quest for justice. That was followed just two months later by the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Because I was Kennedy campaign chairman in my eighth grade history class, I’d gotten my Very-Republican grandmother to drive me to Kennedy headquarters to pick up campaign paraphernalia. And now he was dead. In May of 1970, four students were killed by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War Protest. That introduced me to the idea that government officials might act badly. Between 1972 and 1974, I watched in fascination as the President of the United States had his illegality exposed and resigned the presidency in disgrace.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

 

And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings
(The Genesis Trilogy Book 1)

Also:

A Stone for a Pillow: Journeys with Jacob
(The Genesis Trilogy Book 2)

Sold into Egypt: Journeys into Human Being
(The Genesis Trilogy Book 3)

Madeleine L’Engle

These classics has just been released in paperback, with a new foreword by Rachel Held Evans!

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Yesterday (May 10th) marked the birthday of theologian Karl Barth!

In honor of the occasion we offer the following rare video clips of him discussing theology…

*** Books by Karl Barth ***

 
 

1 – On the Confessing Church

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