Archives For Society

 

 Looking inward.
 
 A Feature Review of

The Character Gap: How Good are We?
Christian B. Miller

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018.
Buy Now: 

Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]
 
Reviewed by Mary VanderGoot

 

When you pick up The Character Gap and see a picture of Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler on the dust jacket, you might expect the author is going to sort the good guys from the bad guys. Once you start reading, however, you realize that far from helping you point the finger at anyone else or create another hero, the author, Christian Miller, is inviting you to look inward.

This is a book written by the Director of the Character Project, which is being funded by the Templeton Foundation, and involves researchers around the world who are addressing basic questions about how people make moral choices. Gathering a wide range of findings together into an elaborate view of human behavior, the team of the Character Project is addressing one of the big questions: how good (or not) are we?

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James Davison Hunter

Today (May 18) is the birthday of James Davison Hunter, the noted sociologist and public intellectual…

In honor of the occasion, we offer these three interviews that introduce his work.

If you want to read his work, we recommend
starting with To Change the World

[ Other Books by James Davison Hunter ]

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Openness to Community
 
An Interview with Marcus Rempel, author of:
 

Life at the End
of Us vs. Them:
Cross Culture Stories

 
Paperback: Friesen Press, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 
Interview by Josina Guess
 
 
Over the course of about six years, I have gotten to know Marcus Rempel as he has made occasional pilgrimages away from his snow-covered farm in Canada to the sunny mild green of winters in Georgia. He and his family served as volunteers at Jubilee Partners, the Christian intentional community where I lived with my family, and he has remained connected- returning every few years to build and strengthen friendships. He is a gifted songwriter. My favorite of his songs, which our worship community sings every Easter is “Christus Victor,” a song that came to him in a dream.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( David Brooks, Madeleine L’Engle, Scot McKnight, MORE )

Each week, we carefully curate a handful of books for church leaders that orient us toward the health and the flourishing of our congregations.

Via our sister website Thrifty Christian Reader
To keep up with all the latest ebook deals,
be sure to connect with TCR via email or on Facebook
 

*** DON’T MISS
Amazon’s Monthly Ebook Sale for April!
CLICK HERE for the best deals
from it for Christian Readers…

 

 

#1:
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

David Brooks

*** $1.99 ***

A very helpful book from one of today’s most insightful commentators.

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Our Many Misunderstandings
of the World Around Us

A Review of

Scienceblind:
Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong
Andrew Shtulman

Hardback: Basic Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [  Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Alisa Williams

 

In an age where scientific information is readily at our fingertips, why do so many people resist or flat-out deny scientific explanations for everything from pasteurization and immunization to geology and genetics? This is the question Andrew Shtulman, a cognitive and developmental psychologist, seeks to answer in his book Scienceblind.

The quick answer is intuitive theories, our “untutored explanations for how the world works,” get in the way of reality (4). These intuitive theories are pervasive and indiscriminate – even scientists with years of study subconsciously resort to false intuitive theories when tested. This alone seems cause for alarm, but Shtulman offers hope. If we can understand why our minds insist on carving “up the world into entities and processes that do not actually exist” then we can also course correct our minds by dismantling those pesky intuitive theories so we can “rebuild them from their foundations” (5).

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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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If Neighborhoods Are Destabilized

 
A Feature Review of 

Evicted:
Poverty and Profit
in the American City

Matthew Desmond

Hardback: Crown Books, 2016
Buy:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Kristin Williams
 
 
When the housing market was as close to the bottom as it would get, my husband was offered a perfect job in another state.  Our only hesitation came when we looked around the small town we would be leaving and saw many homes for sale or standing empty and very little movement in the market.  Thinking we could wait until the market rebounded, we decided try renting our house for a while.  Today, nearly 8 years later, we are still renting our house out and still learning exactly what that means.

It was from the perspective of a landlord that I picked up Matthew Desmond’s devastating new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.  Desmond, a Harvard sociologist and recipient of a MacArthur Grant, combines personal insight gained during years living in inner city Milwaukee and data collected as part of his Milwaukee Area Renters Study to create an eye opening portrait of poverty and racial inequality.  These problems are not unique to Milwaukee, they can be found in every large American city.

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The most important new book release this week is likely…
 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond
Hardback: Crown Books, 2016
Buy:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
 
Here are two brief videos that introduce the book…
 

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts - Susan CainAgainst the Extravert Ideal

A Review of

Quiet: The Power of Introverts
in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain.

Hardback: Crown, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Jessica A. Kent

Chances are, you’re probably familiar with the terms “introvert” and “extrovert.”  Our tendency is to think of  shyness and withdrawal when we think of an introvert, and a kind of robust people-person quality when we think of an extrovert.   If you’ve taken any kind of personality test you’ll find yourself placed upon the introvert/extrovert spectrum somewhere.  Or maybe you’ve heard that we each get “recharged” in our own way, some alone and some with others.  In Susan Cain’s new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she goes about clarifying what we know about the introvert and extrovert personalities, adding cultural substance to the psychological definitions against which we frame ourselves.

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The End of Sacrifice - John Howard YoderA Brief Review of

The End of Sacrifice:

The Capital Punishment Writings of John Howard Yoder.

John C. Nugent, Editor.

Paperback: Herald Press, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

John Howard Yoder’s work is well known for its emphasis on non-violence, and yet until recently little was known about his writings on the important issue of capital punishment. He had written a number of pieces on the topic, but they were scattered in Mennonite publications with limited distribution, in a section of an evangelical book on the issue and in unpublished papers.  Thankfully, Yoder scholar John Nugent – the author of The Politics of Yahweh, one of our 2011 Englewood Honor books – has collected these writings in one new book entitled, The End of Sacrifice.  The book’s title is drawn from Yoder himself, as Nugent notes in the introduction:  “It is the clear testimony of the New Testament, especially of the epistle to the Hebrews, that the ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant find their end – both in the sense of fulfillment and in the sense of termination – in the high-priestly sacrifice of Christ.”

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