Published during: September 2012

The Cross is Not Enough
(and neither is accuracy)

There are basically three kinds of books in the world: good, bad, and mediocre. By contrast, there are an almost infinite number of experiences of books, for the experience is not merely shaped by the quality of the text, but also one’s expectations. To come to a book of which one expects poor quality and find it mediocre is pleasant; to find a book in which one expected poor argument or bad theology and discover instead real quality is a delight. By contrast, to come to a book that seemed really excellent and find it instead merely mediocre is terribly frustrating – more so, in many ways, than finding a book truly terrible, whatever one expected. With a terrible book, the reader at least can have the satisfaction of hatred. Mediocrity, however, leaves one with nothing but vague disappointment and a sense of a missed opportunity.

Unfortunately, I had high hopes for The Cross is Not Enough: Living as Witnesses to the Resurrection, and it proved entirely mediocre. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Three Shots Across the Bow of Culture

Time for something unusual: a three-way book review. I’ve just finished reading James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World, N. D. Wilson’s Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl, and Andy Crouch’s Culture Making.

At least in my circles, there has been considerable hubbub over each of these books in their own ways in the last few years. Hunter’s volume is the most academic and the most far-reaching in its coverage of late modern Christianity, Wilson’s far and away the most playfully provocative, and Crouch’s the book in the middle. All three seek to cast a vision of engagement with reality, and all three share much of the same discontent with current Christian approaches to the world around us.

The flavors are unmistakably different, of course. Read on, intrepid explorer →

If the question [of Christian public engagement] is not about choosing between power and powerlessness, then how will the church and the people of God use the power that they have? Christology is the heart of any method for thinking about the church and its engagement with the world and so the starting point is Jesus Christ, the first-born of the New Creation, the living embodiment of the new Kingdom.

—James Davison Hunter, To Change the World