Mostly Solid History Of Official Religious Life In The United States. Sehat manages to trace the history of official religious life in the US fairly well from its pre-Founding roots through its current fights over religious liberty. There are a couple of glaring weaknesses – the largest being his claim that Natural Rights theory originated in the Christian Church (it was actually created outside of the Church as a challenge to the Church’s position that rights come from God). But as with that particular case, most of these tend to only exist in areas where a rare person might actually know the particular topic particularly well – as this former Libertarian Party of Georgia official and candidate happens to do re: Natural Rights theory. 🙂 Otherwise, a solid if slightly dry – though nowhere *near* as dry as other treatises of its type – history that would be beneficial for many Americans (or those seeking to understand America) to read. Recommended.
This review of This Earthly Frame by David Sehat was originally written on February 18, 2022.
Too Much Faith, Not Enough Doubt. I’ve read McLaren for a few years and knew him to be of the more “progressive Christian” bent, so I knew what I was getting myself in for in picking up this book. But as always, he does have at least a few good points in here, making the book absolutely worthy of reading and contemplating. However, he also proof texts a fair amount, and any at all of this particular sin is enough for me to dock *any* book that utilizes the practice a star in my own personal war with the practice. (Though I *do* note that he isn’t as bad as other writers in this.) The other star removal comes from the title of this review, which is really my core criticism here. As is so often in his previous books as well as so many other authors, McLaren has good points about the need for doubt and how to live in harmony… but then insists on praising cult figures on both sides of the aisle such as Greta Thurnberg and David Grossman. In encouraging evaneglicals to doubt their beliefs, he seems rather sure of his own beliefs in the religions of science and government – seemingly more comfortable worshipping these religions than the Christ he claims. Overall, much of the discussion here truly is strong. It simply needed to be applied in far more areas than McLaren was… comfortable… in doing. Recommended.
This review of Faith After Doubt by Brian McLaren was originally written on January 17, 2021.
Liberal (Maybe Even Post-Christian?) Baptist Faith And Message. The Southern Baptist Convention‘s Baptist Faith and Message is the doctrinal screed for the group, listing various points of beliefs with proof-texted “reference verses” claiming to provide “evidence” that this belief is grounded in their view of the Bible. As someone who was a Southern Baptist for the first couple decades of my life, it is a document I’m pretty familiar with. Here, Gushee effectively recreates it for the more anti-white-male crowd, arguing (correctly) against prosperity theology while openly embracing humanist and liberation theology. Ultimately, he makes enough solid points to be worthy of discussion, but due to the constant proof-texting (a flaw in many similar works, and one that in my own personal war against is an automatic one star deduction in my reviews) and near-constant near straw man level attacks against more conservative theologies is to be read with a healthy amount of skepticism. That noted, as I generally try to do with such texts, I’m trying to be a bit balanced here. A much more conservative reader will probably find much more to attack in this text, and a much more liberal reader will probably find much more to love. Overall a solid work of its type, and recommended for any interested in such discussions.
This review of After Evangelicalism by David P. Gushee was originally written on August 13, 2020.
Amazing story. This tale of a father and son finding each other even despite major differences is particularly poignant as I drive to my parents’ house for Father’s Day. Great book regardless, made even more special by the timing.
This review of Space at the Table by Brad Harper and Drew Harper was originally published on June 15, 2018.