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The Public Witness of the Evangelical Center
David Gushee argues convincingly that there is in U.S. politics an “evangelical center” of voters who do not identify with the politics and religion of either the right or the left. Although evangelical Christians are portrayed by the media as conservatives, Gushee claims that the evangelical movement includes nearly even numbers of voters on the right, in the center, and on the left of the political spectrum. He provides portraits of the major figures in each of the three camps, outlines the core convictions of the adherents, and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each group’s positions. He suggests that the evangelical center is poised for growth; this book could be its manifesto.
Mapping the American Moral Landscape
Why has gambling become so accepted in the U.S. when other historical vices, like smoking and drinking, continue to evoke morality-based opposition? That simple but intriguing question guides this path-breaking volume, the first interdisciplinary academic study of gambling. Led by the renowned Alan Wolfe and with essays by experts at the country’s premiere centers in public policy, clinical addiction, law, gaming, psychology, sociology, moral philosophy, theology, and the arts, Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape is a tour de force of the booming cultural and moral phenomenon that has become woven into the fabric of American life. Both an attempt to understand and an effort to predict its future consequences, the book will prove evocative and critical reading for American civic and church leaders, activists, historians and government officials.
A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
This second volume in the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible series provides expert, comprehensive guidance in answering significant questions about the Hebrew text. While reflecting the latest advances in scholarship on Hebrew grammar and linguistics, the work utilizes a style that is lucid enough to serve as a useful agent for teaching and self-study.
Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity
The Scottish poet, author, and Christian minister George MacDonald is widely known as an inspiration for the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Lewis Carroll, among others. Nineteenth century photographs of MacDonald present a forbidding visage, embodying Victorian-era solemnity. Yet behind the facade, as Daniel Gabelman writes, lived a whimsical and fantastical muse. Indeed, MacDonald imbued theological weight through childlike lightheartedness. Gabelman ably reveals in MacDonald’s writings a bridge between playfulness and seriousness in the modern imagination. George MacDonald delivers a balanced reading of its subject that ultimately lends a new theological and literary weight to whimsy.
America in Red and Blue
Americans increasingly think in terms of red and blue. God and Country examines the religious roots of these cultural divisions in American political life. But instead of pitting a people of faith against a secular humanist elite, God and Country helps Americans understand the religious differences that divide, appreciate the public agreements that allow us to live with religious differences, evaluate how existing democratic processes alleviate divisions, and identify ways Americans can agree to disagree.
The Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy
Even though America was founded upon a belief that its mission was providentially ordained, its foreign policy decisions have failed to recognize the growing significance of religious faith as a global concern. With an eye on the turbulent century ahead, God and Global Order implores policy makers to recognize the power of faith to inform and enhance U.S. foreign policy. The contributors warn that ignoring the far-reaching role of faiths (those both religious and secular) and their influence upon international agendas could carry disastrous consequences—both for the U.S. and for the larger global order.
Media, Religion, and Celebrity Culture
From Britney and Brangelina to Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson, Western society is obsessed with its American idols and gods of the red carpet. We worship their triumphs, judge their sins, and maintain vigil at their deaths. Can our fixation on and devotion to celebrity culture itself be considered a religion? If not, why do we use religious terminology to describe these stars and our actions towards them?
Gods Behaving Badly examines the blurred boundary between popular culture and religion—one that has given way to an often confounding fusion of the sacred and the profane. Flipping through pages of tabloid media and looking underneath the veil of Hollywood’s glamour, Pete Ward exposes how, in its consumer life, Western society elevates celebrity to the theological and, in so doing, creates a new para-religion. Inevitably, whether despised or extolled, individual celebrities evoke public moral judgment, creating fertile ground for theological innovation.
Plucked straight from the headlines, the narratives in Gods Behaving Badly give concrete evidence of how the religious themes of incarnation, revelation, sin, judgment, and redemption are all woven into narratives we construct about our most cherished—and most villainized—personalities.
Christianity and the Culture of Sports
In recent years the United States has seen an influx of Christian athletes and coaches into big-time sports, as well as a heightened importance placed on sports in church programs and at Christian schools and colleges. However, as Shirl Hoffman critiques, a Christian vision of sport remains merely superficial—replete with prayers before free throws and praises after touchdowns but offering little, if any, alternative vision from the secular sports culture.
Good Game retells numerous fascinating stories from the world of ancient and contemporary sports and draws on the history of the Christian tradition to answer “What would it really mean to think Christianly about sport?”
Classical Education in America
The pragmatic demands of American life have made higher education's sustained study of ancient Greece and Rome an irrelevant luxury, ;and this despite the fact that American democracy depends so heavily on classical language, literature, and political theory. In The Grammar of Our Civility, Lee T. Pearcy chronicles how this came to be. Pearcy argues that classics never developed a distinctly American way of responding to distinctly American social conditions. Instead, American classical education simply imitated European models that were designed to underwrite European culture. The Grammar of Our Civility also offers a concrete proposal for the role of classical education, one that takes into account practical expectations for higher education in twenty-first century America.
An Intellectual History
Gratitude is often understood as etiquette rather than ethics, an emotion rather than politics. It was not always so. From Seneca to Shakespeare, gratitude was a public virtue. The circle of benefaction and return of service worked to make society strong. But at the beginning of the modern era, European thinkers began to imagine a political economy freed from the burdens of gratitude. Though this rethinking was part of a larger process of secularization, it was also a distorted byproduct of an impulse ultimately rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the apostle Paul. Christians believed that God stood at the center of the circle of gratitude. God was the object of thanksgiving and God gave graciously. Thus, Christians taught that grace cancelled the oppressive debts of a purely political gratitude. Gratitude: An Intellectual History,/i> examines changing conceptions of gratitude from Homer to the present. In so doing, Peter J. Leithart highlights the profound cultural impact of early Christian “ingratitude,” the release of humankind from the bonds of social and political reciprocity by a benevolent God who gave—and who continues to give—graciously.