Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
August 9th, 2012

Thomas Nelson stops publication of David Barton’s “book”

The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.) (here)

Wonder if Barton is a martyr for this? Will the Becky-beck-beskistan-Beckster stop with the Barton circus?

Or, more than likely, Baron will sell his fantasy to others who simply believe what is written in a book unless it is a real book. Confused?

But, bully for Tommy N. Good job.

March 6th, 2012

More from the Zondervan and Thomas Nelson merger – The MacArthur NIV Study Bible

You know how I feel about Christian publishing houses as ruled by Murdoch, especially when you consider that 50% of the Christian publishing market is essentially controlled by Murdoch. Anyway… It seems that John MacArther will not added his notes to an NIV Study Bible:

The project has been in the discussion and planning phase for more than a year now, said Chip Brown, Zondervan’s senior vice-president and publisher of bibles. Under the deal, Zondervan will license the NIV translation to Thomas Nelson, which will publish the bible, expected to be released in fall 2013.

How Zondervan struck a deal with rival Thomas Nelson to combine Christian bestsellers | MLive.com.

I like the NIV – THE NLT IS FAR BETTER – but not so much a fan of some of MacArthur’s stances.

We’ll see how it goes…

(ht to LNB via Twitter)

March 2nd, 2012

Ahh, yes… the spawn of the Thomas Nelson/Murdoch Empire Merger

Shawn as brought to my attention a book to be released by Thomas Nelson, authored by none other than just about the greatest fiction writer today, David Barton. It purports to expose the “Jefferson Lies.”

These are some of the “myths” which will be explored:

  • Jefferson and Sally: Did he really have children by his slave, Sally Hemings?
  • Jefferson and Jesus: Did he really abandon the faith of his family?
  • Jefferson and the Bible: Did he really want to rewrite the Scripture?
  • Jefferson and the church: Did he really advocate separation?
  • Jefferson and slaves: What is the truth about his slaveholding and his statements that all are created equal?
  • Jefferson and education: Did Jefferson really found the first secular, irreligious university?

David Barton was Glen Beck’s go-to guy for revisionist history, much of which he has selflessly recreated himself instead of outright stealing it from others. His errors are known far and wide and some of the worst sort, but for some reason, he is a big hit among conservatives who still insist that this country was founded as an honest-to-good Christian country.

How convenient that Murdoch has another publishing arm, appealing to conservative Christians, to push his political agendas.

August 25th, 2011

Review: The Sacred Meal: The Ancient Practices Series

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As another entry in the “Ancient Practices Series”, The Sacred Meal explores the value and meaning of the Communion. Granted, many see little value in the ages old practice, but Nora Gallagher brings to light some of the hidden uniqueness of the Eucharist and invites her readers to partake in a valued Christian Tradition, but more than that, to make that same well-worn tradition come alive once more and truly be a communion event.

The style is conversational, and in several instances, I found myself talking back to her. She is a high church Episcopalian, but an emerging artist with words. Yes, this notion of something more than symbol comes across, and it will be disconcerting to a few, but those who allow that to separate themselves from this book misses the point of the author. We all come differently to the bread and the wine, and if we let that separation endure, we miss the point of the Lord’s Supper. Included in this conversation is daily life stories from Gallagher, giving us the impression that she is walking and talking, bringing the communion event into her daily life and giving her daily life a seat at the table.

She has some weak points, such as history and theology, but this has been my complaint with this series before. There is also the seeming tendency to equalize the so-called Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the various practices shared among them. This is her starting point for the chapter on history, and then leaves the Muslim dinner to enjoin us to the 5th century. There is the obligatory mention of Justin Martyr, but instead of using this as a support to defend against a casual observance, she dismisses it as pastoral and quaint. She then moves, which should have been explored further, to the vehemently anti-Catholic strain of thought originating in the Reformation regarding the “Popish” Eucharist which prevents, by mental oppression, Protestants from enjoying the Eucharist in a literal way. Mix this with the lack of solid theological speculation, and you have a book that will appeal to many, but will not provide the answers needed to restore to the proper place the Eucharist. But, as I write this review, I am reminded that the goal of her book is to make the Eucharist assessable to everyone, but maybe I just need a more mystical bent. In her goal, however, I’ll try not to begrudge her too much, seeing that what is clearly expressed in her writing is not a deep knowledge of history of theology of the event, but more than that – more than what those things are sometimes worth – she expresses a deep and abiding love the Eucharist and for the communionity it produces each time it is taken.

While I might not advocate such a book for deep theological reflection, Gallagher’s work is needed when we see such a divisive church presently. Perhaps, we need to lay aside history and theology sometimes and engage in the daily practice of the Church’s offices. This is Gallagher’s gift and her call, that the praxis of community be restored., where even some of us heretics are welcomed by the body and the blood, the bread and the wine.

June 7th, 2010

Review: Dad’s Bible: The Father’s Plan (Hardcover)

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With notes by Robert Wolgemuth, Thomas Nelson has devotional-style bible geared to fathers, and just in time for their special day. The embossed hardcover book is not meant to be a traditional study bible, noticeable by the use of the New Century Version, but to be used by fathers in ‘daddy situations.’

It is wholly conservative evangelical in its approach to biblical headship, the authority of the husband, and other issues (found int he Q & A section in the appendix) such as Creation. The notes are arranged into several topic including ‘Walking in Authority’, ‘Godly Character’, ‘Passing it On’, ‘Dads in the Bible’, ‘Building your Children’, and ‘Insights.’ Unlike the Mom’s Bible, which is the companion to the Dad’s bible, the notes system focuses on the authority of the husband.

The Question and Answer Section in the appendix covers a variety of modern day questioning, such as,

  • Did Jesus Have to Go to School? (1375)
  • Is it wrong to be rich (1361)
  • Can Scientists Prove that Creation isn’t true? (1355)

Thoroughly evangelical in its answers, the Dad’s Bible attempts to answer the questions for its conservative audiences generally basing their answers on previous works, all referenced for further reading, as well to biblical texts. Each book is prefaced with an introduction in, much like the NCV, modern day language. Sometimes, you will find the introduction as an allegory. Rarely will you find theological insights, but this bible is not meant to be this – it is a devotional. So too the Topics found throughout the bible. The bible is based on the NCV, which may be too loose for many. It might do Thomas Nelson well to off the Dad’s and Mom’s bible in something more traditional.

The bible is aesthetic in its appearance, from its embossed cover to its ‘aged’ look on the pages. It would make a nice gift to fathers in the evangelical tradition, new or old.

You can read another review, here.

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