Archives For History

 

Today (October 5th) marks the anniversary of the death of one of the most important social critics of the past 50 years, Neil Postman.  In honor of the occasion, we offer this introductory reading guide to his work.

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.

1)  Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

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Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

  

Hope and Community: A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World

Veli-Matti Karkkainen

Eerdmans
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Saturday (Sept 30) is the Feast Day of St. Jerome (347-420 CE)…

Jerome was a priest, confessor, theologian and historian. He was born at Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia . He is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin (the translation that became known as the Vulgate), and his commentaries on the Gospels. His list of writings is extensive

The protégé of Pope Damasus I, who died in December of 384, Jerome was known for his teachings on Christian moral life, especially to those living in cosmopolitan centers such as Rome. In many cases, he focused his attention to the lives of women and identified how a woman devoted to Jesus should live her life. This focus stemmed from his close patron relationships with several prominent female ascetics who were members of affluent senatorial families.

He is recognized as a Saint and Doctor of the Church by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Anglican Communion. (Bio via Wikipedia)
 
Here is an insightful, and perpetually relevant clip from his writings… 
 
 

On Making Use of Secular Writings in Theology
From Letter 70 – To Magnus, An Orator of Rome

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With Rest and With Celebration
 
A Review of

A Brief History of Sunday:
From the New Testament to the New Creation
Justo González

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Alisa Williams
 
 
 

*** This review originally appeared on
SpectrumMagazine.org

 Reprinted with permission of the reviewer.

 
Growing up Seventh-day Adventist, it always seemed strange to me that the majority of Christians worship on Sunday. Though I attended Adventist schools from kindergarten through university, and we often discussed the importance and “rightness” of Saturday as the proper day of worship, the why behind Sunday worship and the how it came to be were never addressed. I remember asking the questions, but the abrupt, “well other Christians are just WRONG” and the more toxic (and inaccurate), “it’s the Catholics fault,” weren’t helpful to my understanding. Over the years, I’ve heard references to Constantine’s role in Sunday worship, but it all seemed a bit muddy.

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Today (September 27) is the Feast of St. Vincent DePaul… 

Here is his story:

(Adapted from The Catholic Encyclopedia)

“Charity is the cement which binds communities to God
and persons to one another ”
– St. Vincent DePaul

Born at Pouy, Gascony, France, in 1580 (though some authorities have said 1576); Vincent died at Paris, 27 September, 1660. Born of a peasant family, he made his humanities studies at Dax with the Cordeliers, and his theological studies, interrupted by a short stay at Saragossa, were made at Toulouse where he graduated in theology. Ordained in 1600 he remained at Toulouse or in its vicinity acting as tutor while continuing his own studies. Brought to Marseilles for an inheritance, he was returning by sea in 1605 when Turkish pirates captured him and took him to Tunis. He was sold as a slave, but escaped in 1607 with his master, a renegade whom he converted.

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Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

    

Church in Ordinary Time: A Wisdom Ecclesiology

Amy Plantinga Pauw

Eerdmans
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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…)

    

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Brene Brown

 

*** Watch a video clip introducing the book’s central idea

 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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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… 

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