Archives For Voting


Five New Must-Listen Podcast Episodes!!!
C. Christopher Smith, Patrice Gopo, David Fitch,
Ashley Hales, MORE


These podcasts can be downloaded from the iTunes store
or from the links below.


<<<<< The Previous Vital Conversations Post

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1587433842″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”214″]Commitments, Convictions, and Character.
A Feature Review of 

Public Faith in Action:
How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity

Miroslav Volf and
Ryan McAnnally-Linz

Hardback: Brazos Press, 2016
Buy Now: [ [easyazon_link identifier=”1587433842″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]   [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B01ERXKK4G” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Abram Kielsmeier-Jones
“JESUS IS COMING-HOPEFULLY BEFORE THE ELECTION,” declared Grace Church’s exterior sign.

The rancor surrounding this year’s presidential election is enough to make even the most long-suffering Christian cry, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!” At the same time, we are here now and need to know how to live faithfully. Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity offers thoughtful possibilities.

The book by Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz “explores what kind of virtues and commitments should inform the public engagement of the followers of Christ” (x). That a Christian should engage in public life is taken for granted by the authors:

Christian faith has an inalienable public dimension. Christians aren’t Christ’s followers just in their private and communal lives; they are Christ’s followers in their public and political lives as well. (3)

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A Brief Review of
(And Reflection on)

The Ethics of Voting
Jason Brennan
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2011.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Well, here we are in 2012, another new year and another presidential election year.  The television and internet news media are already buzzing constantly about the run-up to the November elections. But with all this buzz, how often do we think about how or why we vote, or even – GASP! – if we should be voting at all.  Enter Jason Brennan’s recent book The Ethics of Voting.

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David Fitch Reviews Andy Crouch’s Culture-making

As some might know, I have a complaint concerning the way evangelicals engage culture. The way we engage culture is either to reject it all or embrace it all. Our culture habits, I contend, have been formed under a 50 year Niebuhrian hangover where we view culture in singular unilateral terms. To compound the problem, we regularly make Jesus Christ into a principle to be translated (or not) into it (instead of concretely embodying his way into the world). This is the influence of Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture.

Culture is more complex, multiple and diverse than that. It is ubiquitous as well. It cannot be escaped. And Jesus the Christ is not a principle but an historic incarnation of the second person of the Godhead. God began his work in the world (Missio Dei) by actually entering into the world for the reconciliation of the whole world to Himself. To be His people, is to engage the world in all its complexity for the incarnation of the gospel via the formation of a people. This people, is a cultural expression of the Holy Spirit as an extension of God’s Missio begun in the sending of the Son.

Read the full review:

Culture-Making:Recovering Our Creative Calling
Andy Crouch
Hardcover: IVP, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $16 ] [ Amazon ]

Dan Smith has engaged in a Chapter-by-Chapter
Conversation with ELECTING NOT TO VOTE

Ted Lewis, ed.
Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $17 ] [ Amazon ]

FIRST THINGS reviews Daniel Siedell’s

In a recent book assessing the state of evangelical scholarship, Mark Noll refers to “a boomlet in evangelical art history [that] rests squarely on the work of the Dutch Reformed scholar Hans Rookmaaker.” Had Noll seen Daniel Siedell’s book God in the Gallery, he might have thought differently. Siedell is a long way from Rookmaaker, and his book—whether or not it can be called evangelical—is no boomlet. God in the Gallery is an impressive detonation in and of itself.

The Christianity-and-art conversation is gridlocked. The stalled traffic includes those who are profoundly suspicious of the art world, and those who are infuriated enough by this unforgivably “conservative” suspicion that they, in turn, write contemporary artists a theological blank check. A book capable of broaching this impasse has long needed to be written—but who would have suspected it would be this good? What makes God in the Gallery noteworthy is that it addresses another gridlock as well, that of contemporary art. The traffic in this case involves those liberated by the end of modernity to explore spiritual directions, and those committed to keeping art a staunchly secular enterprise. “The art world,” insists Siedell, “is growing increasingly uncomfortable with its collective unbelief.”

Siedell’s qualifications enable him to address both these dilemmas. He is a firmly ecclesial Lutheran with deep—one might say overriding—sympathies for the Orthodox Church. In addition, Siedell holds a Ph.D. in contemporary art (he studied with noted critic Donald Kuspit), and he is a seasoned curator with a decade of gallery experience.

Read the full review:


Daniel Siedell
Paperback: Baker Academic, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]


John Roth’s Essay “Polls Apart” from
Electing Not to Vote is featured in Catapult magazine

“… Not surprisingly, the chasm dividing our country—along with the simmering tensions evident in offhand comments, eye-catching billboards, or partisan bumper stickers—became increasingly visible in our congregations as well. For the past two years I had been traveling widely in the Mennonite church, visiting dozens of congregations, staying in homes, talking with young people and engaging in conversations with all kinds of people on topics related to “the gospel of peace.” The impressions I gleaned during that period—which happened to coincide with the long presidential campaign—are admittedly anecdotal; but in most of the congregations, I found people keenly aware of national politics and deeply interested in making a link between their Christian convictions and the outcome of the elections. At the same time, however, the nature of the conversation in most Mennonite churches seemed to reflect the tone and substance of the political discourse that was dividing the nation as a whole.

Now the fact of diversity within the Anabaptist family of churches regarding political engagement is not a new thing. The sixteenth-century Anabaptists were far from unified in regard to their understanding of the sword or how Christians should relate to government; and those in the believers church tradition* have held a wide variety of positions on voting, political activism and office-holding. There is no well-established believers church “orthodoxy” on these questions. Indeed, it should be clear from the outset that the argument I wish to make regarding conscientious abstention from voting should not be understood as a standard of Christian integrity or faithfulness to Anabaptist principles. To be sure, our general commitment to pacifism and the voluntary church have always raised questions about the limits of our allegiance to the state; nonetheless, our traditions have also been characterized by a spectrum of political attitudes, ranging from vigorous engagement to a strict separatism.

What seemed new in the fall of 2004, however, was not the mere fact of diverse political attitudes but rather the growing “fundamentalism” evident among both the Christian Left and the Christian Right within our congregations, along with the sense that political involvement has now become a Christian imperative. I think we would all agree that the issues facing our country—issues of poverty and health care, housing, care for children and the unborn, security, relations with other countries—are all moral issues about which Christians might have something distinctive to say. But as I traveled in various Mennonite congregations, it became increasingly clear that the nature of the conversation about values and moral choices has been almost completely co-opted by the polarized rhetoric of the media: radio talk show hosts, direct mail campaigns, polemical ads and bloggers. In short, our congregations do not seem to be ready or able to engage the substantive questions of this presidential election in a framework other than that of the Red/Blue divide in our national culture.  …”

Read the full essay:

Electing Not to Vote:
Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting.
Ted Lewis, Editor.
Paperback. Cascade Books. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $15 ]

Books and Culture reviews
Original Sin: A Cultural History
by Alan Jacobs. 

“It’s a funny thing when an idea becomes at once singularly despised and surprisingly fascinating, simultaneously passé and sexy. Take the doctrine of original sin—that complex of theological and biological commitments developed and coordinated to make sense of our sense (and Scripture’s) that we are dead ends, all of us. One wonders, though, whether it is our sense these days. Fifty years ago, evangelistic tracts did their Lutheran thing to great effect: Law, then Gospel. Evangelists established points of contact by reminding listeners that they were all sinners—who could deny it?—then moved from problem to solution and invitation. And it worked, more or less.

But things are different now. The contemporary American landscape features a striking coincidence of blatant brokenness and robust self-esteem. We know we’re broke, but we don’t think we need any fixin’. In fact, we resent the suggestion. We chafe at the occasional attempt to rehabilitate notions of innate sinfulness as world-denying, repressive, and death-dealing.

Whence, then, the recent rash of books on sin? We might expect that from academic monographs. After all, sin used to matter. Its historical fascination is patent, not least because we delight in figuring out what was wrong with our parents. But a series of wryly written and deftly marketed books on the seven deadly sins, selling for $9.95 a pop? I suspect that sin’s reemergence into the limelight is directly, if inversely, related to its perceived claim on our lives. Now that we can breezily laugh it off, sin has become interesting (if only quaintly so).  … “

Read the full review: 

Original Sin: A Cultural History.
Alan Jacobs.

Hardcover. HarperOne. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]

The Sustainablog reviews Keith Farnish’s
e-book A Matter of Scale.



“I can only imagine that Keith Farnish’s comprehensive A Matter of Scale was a similar labor of love.  One can sense the author’s own expressive burst in the feverish love with which he forms his ideas.

A Matter of Scale is an e-Book only; not yet a typical “print” book.  This could be for a number of reasons.  It could be the author’s environmental concerns of tree-felling for books.  Then, it could be the crux of his whole philosophy of taking personal responsibility for the actions affecting our global ecosystem.  But one thing is certain–A Matter of Scale is unpublished certainly NOT due to its lack of quality insight and urgent information.  For its own modest scale and scope, it packs a wallop.

A Matter of Scale is a powerful read.  Farnish is a long-time environmental writer, and his experience shows.  Farnish implores us to expand our narrow perspectives about what’s going on with our planet by examining issues that often slip by the naked eye: issues of scale.   …”

Read the full review:


Keith Farnish.  A Matter of Scale.
(A Free E-book.)