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Appletopia

Media Technology and the Religious Imagination of Steve Jobs

Brett T. Robinson

Steve Jobs knew what he was doing. He watched as technology tightened its grip on the American psyche. Long before others understood the potential of the personal computer, he saw its power. But it was his visionary use of media to explain technology to a hungry culture that revealed his singular genius. As a result, even by today’s standards few inventions approach the worldwide religious devotion that tech users have lavished upon the products “Designed by Apple in California” and its late founder. In Appletopia, media and culture critic Brett T. Robinson reconstructs Steve Jobs’ imagination for digital innovation in transcendent terms. Robinson portrays how the confluence of Jobs’ religious, philosophical, and technological thought was embodied in Apple’s most memorable advertising campaigns. From Zen Buddhism and Catholicism to dystopian and futurist thought, religion defined and branded Jobs’ design methodology. Appletopia navigates decades of marketing strategy and divines the clever and creative ways that Apple conveyed its purpose to the world: Apple products were to be known for their fantastically simple design and astonishing ease of use. In so doing, Robinson resurrects Jobs’ uncanny ability to integrate philosophical and religious thought with technological genius, laying the groundwork for Apple’s ubiquity today. As it turns out, culture was eager to find meaning in the burgeoning technological revolution, naming Jobs as its prophet and Apple the deliverer of his message.

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Architecture and Theology

The Art of Place

Murray A. Rae

The dynamic relationship between art and theology continues to fascinate and to challenge, especially when theology addresses art in all of its variety. In Architecture and Theology: The Art of Place, author Murray Rae turns to the spatial arts, especially architecture, to investigate how the art forms engaged in the construction of our built environment relate to Christian faith.
 
Rae does not offer a theology of the spatial arts, but instead engages in a sustained theological conversation with the spatial arts. Because the spatial arts are public, visual, and communal, they wield an immense but easily overlooked influence. Architecture and Theology overcomes this inattention by offering new ways of thinking about the theological importance of space and place in our experience of God, the relation between freedom and law in Christian life, the transformation involved in God’s promised new creation, biblical anticipation of the heavenly city, divine presence and absence, the architecture of repentance and remorse, and the relation between space and time. In doing so, Rae finds an ample place for theology amidst the architectural arts.

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Aristotle and Black Drama

A Theater of Civil Disobedience

Patrice D. Rankine

Civil disobedience has a tattered history in the American story. Described by Martin Luther King Jr. as both moral reflection and political act, the performance of civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws is also, Patrice Rankine argues, a deeply artistic practice. Modern parallels to King’s civil disobedience can be found in black theater, where the black body challenges the normative assumptions of classical texts and modes of creation. This is a theater of civil disobedience.

Utilizing Aristotle’s Poetics, Rankine ably invokes the six aspects of Aristotelian drama—character, story, thought, spectacle, song, and diction. He demonstrates the re-appropriation and rejection of these themes by black playwrights August Wilson, Adrienne Kennedy, and Eugene O’Neill. Aristotle and Black Drama frames the theater of civil disobedience to challenge the hostility that still exists between theater and black identity.

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Arminius and His Declaration of Sentiments

An Annotated Translation with Introduction and Theological Commentary

W. Stephen Gunter

With this first direct translation of Arminius' Declaration of Sentiments into English from the original Dutch, Stephen Gunter weaves expert translation with valuable notes and theological commentary. Gunter's introduction situates this overlooked but critically important work within its rich historical context and includes a clear, illuminating discussion of the debate over predestination. What emerges is an enlightening portrait of Arminius that challenges modern misconceptions about one of the most significant sixteenth-century theologians.

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Asian American Christian Ethics

Voices, Methods, Issues

Grace Y. Kao

This groundbreaking volume presents the collective work of twelve Christian ethicists of Asian descent in the U.S. who map the new and burgeoning field of study located at the juncture of Christian ethics and Asian American studies. Led by Grace Kao and Ilsup Ahn, these scholars identify the purposes and chart the contours of what constitutes a distinctly Asian American Christian ethical approach to moral concerns.

Asian American Christian Ethics rethinks perennial issues in Christian ethics (war and peace, family/marriage/parenting, gender and sexuality, economics and wealth, virtue ethics), pressing social matters (race relations, immigration, healthcare, the environment), and issues of special interest to Asian Americans (education, labor, plastic surgery). Each chapter utilizes classical Christian sources read from the particular vantage point of Asian American Christian theology, ethics, and culture. Beginning with a description of the range of Christian responses to the issue, each author describes and enacts a constructive proposal for an Asian American Christian ethical response. An ideal volume for researchers, teachers, and students alike, Asian American Christian Ethics articulates the foundations, questions, and goals of this vibrant and flourishing field of study.

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Augustine for the Philosophers

The Rhetor of Hippo, the Confessions, and the Continentals

Calvin L. Troup

St. Augustine of Hippo, largely considered the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, has long dominated theological conversations. Augustine’s legacy as a theologian endures. However, Augustine’s contributions to rhetoric and the philosophy of communication remain relatively uncharted. Augustine for the Philosophers recovers these contributions, revisiting Augustine's prominence in the work of continental philosophers who shaped rhetoric and the philosophy of communication in the twentieth century. Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, Jacques Ellul, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Jean-François Lyotard, and Paul Ricoeur are paired with Augustine in significant conversations close to the center of their work. Augustine for the Philosophers dares to hold Augustine’s rhetoric and philosophy in dynamic tension with his Christianity, provoking serious reconsideration of Augustine, his presence in twentieth-century continental thought, and his influence upon modern rhetoric and communication studies.

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Aunting

Cultural Practices That Sustain Family and Community Life

Laura L. Ellingson and Patricia J. Sotirin

Whether related by biology, marriage, circumstance, or choice, aunts embody a uniquely flexible familial role. The aunt-niece/nephew relationship—though often overlooked—is critical and complex, one that appears at the core of a resilient, healthy family life.

In this engaging book, Laura Ellingson and Patricia Sotirin construct a consideration of “aunts” that moves from noun to verb. “Aunts” is more than a group of people or a role; instead, “to aunt” is a practice, something people “do.” Some women “aunt” as second mothers, friends, or mentors, while others play more peripheral roles. In either case, aunts nonetheless significantly impact their nieces and nephews’ life choices.

Drawing on personal narratives that represent a rich cross section of society, Ellingson and Sotirin construct a cohesive story of the diversity of aunting experiences in the contemporary United States. Skillfully written, Aunting recovers the enormous potential of this dynamic kinship relationship and offers a model for understanding and supporting the variety of families in society today.

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Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community

Baptists tend to be the “problem children” of the ecumenical movement. The Baptist obsession to realize a true church birthed a tradition of separation. While Baptists’ misgivings about ecumenism may stem from this fissiparous genealogy, it is equally true that the modern ecumenical movement itself increasingly lacks consensus about the pathway to a visible Christian unity. In Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future, Steven R. Harmon explores the relationship of the Baptist calling to be a pilgrim community and the ecumenical movement. Harmon argues that neither vision can be fulfilled apart from a mutually receptive ecumenical engagement. As Harmon shows, Baptist communities and the churches from which they are separated need one another. Chief among the gifts Baptists have to offer the rest of the church is their pilgrim aversion to overly realized eschatologies of the church and their radical commitment to discerning the rule of Christ by means of the Scriptures. Baptists, in turn, must be willing to receive from other churches neglected aspects of the radical catholicity from which the Bible is inseparable. Embedded in the Baptist vision and its historical embodiment are surprising openings for ecumenical convergence. Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future urges Baptists and their dialogue partners to recognize and embrace these ecumenically oriented facets of Baptist identity as indispensable provisions for their shared pilgrimage toward the fullness of the rule of Christ in their midst, which remains partial so long as Christ’s body remains divided.

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Baptist Preaching

A Global Anthology

Edited by Joel C. Gregory

Baptist Preaching comprises thirty-five sermons from around the globe given in the same year by Baptist preachers. These sermons demonstrate, as Joel C. Gregory argues, that the act of preaching lies at the heart of Baptist identity—possibly rivaling the practice of believers’ baptism. The sermons collected here represent varied voices, multicultural contexts, and global concerns that occupy Baptists worldwide. The sermons thus give living witness to how Baptists wrestle with cultural issues confronting their respective churches. From Latin and South America to Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, Baptist Preaching celebrates the diversity of global Baptist proclamation while simultaneously highlighting the near-sacramental role of preaching in Baptist churches.

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Because of Beauvoir

Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius

Alison E. Jasper

Because of Beauvoir does what many say is impossible: it demonstrates how women can flourish, without conflict, while being simultaneously Christian and feminist. Alison Jasper offers a vision of Julia Kristeva's "female genius" as the capacity of women to thrive and cultivate intellect within and across different cultural and theological environments. Using the writings of English women from the 17th through the 21st centuries as living profiles, Jasper draws upon the creative power in the lives of real women to recognize and retrieve a female subjectivity—one that determines how women see and are seen after Simon de Beauvoir.

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