Book Review: Arcadia

Arcadia: A Novel by Lauren Groff (New York: Voice, 2012. 304 pp) Born in Cooperstown, New York, Lauren Groff graduated from Amherst College and later earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, and has had residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and Ragdale. Groff’s first book, The Monsters of Templeton, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons. Utopia  “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and… Read More →

Book Review: Agenda for Biblical People

Agenda for Biblical People: A New Focus for Developing a Life-Style of Discipleship by Jim Wallis (New York: Harper & Row, 1976. 126 pp) Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He serves as the chair of the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum. President and CEO of Sojourners, Wallis contributes columns in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. He teaches a course at Georgetown University and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Joy Carroll. The Sins of Prosperity  In the wake of victory in World War II, the United States encountered unprecedented prosperity. Of course, the… Read More →

Book Review: A Theology for the Social Gospel

A Theology for the Social Gospel by Walter Rauschenbusch (Mansifeld Centre: Martino Publishing, 2011; originally published in 1918. 290 pp) Walter Rauschenbusch was the leading proponent of the Social Gospel Movement whose mission was to reform society to meet the social needs of the poor through the ministrations of the institutional church. PBS recently called him “one of the most influential American religious leaders of the last 100 years.” The Nature of Sin and Salvation  When attempting to manufacture a systematic theology, the nature of sin and salvation becomes integral components of the position. Slight changes in these core beliefs cause vast differences externally. Having previously labored toward the notion of “the social gospel,” Walter Rauschenbusch writes A Theology for… Read More →

Book Review: A Paradise Built in Hell

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (New York: Viking Press, 2009. 368 pp) Based in San Francisco, Rebecca Solnit has authored thirteen books on art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. A product of the California education system, Solnit attended San Francisco State University as an undergraduate and the University of California, Berkeley where she received a Masters in Journalism. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s and often contributes articles to Tomdispatch.com. During her career, Solnit has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and a 2004 Wired Rave Award. Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short… Read More →

Book Review: God the Economist

God the Economist: The Doctrine of God and Political Economy by M. Douglas Meeks (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989. 272 pp.) Currently the Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair in Wesleyan Studies and Theology at Vanderbilt University, M. Douglas Meeks is a renowned researcher on the relation of Christian doctrine to economic, social, and political theory. Dr. Meeks earned both his B.D. and Ph.D. from Duke University and studied as a Fulbright Fellow at Tübingen University. In his previous appointment, he served as the dean and professor of systematic theology at Wesley Theological Seminary. Dr. Meeks has authored 16 books and numerous scholarly articles. He is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church serving as the Director of Wesleyan Studies and the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mad Men Season 4

Mad Men: Season 4 created by Matthew Weiner (Lionsgate Television, Weiner Bros., and American Movie Classics) Starring Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Ross, Vincent Karthieser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slatterly. “The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.” — George Eliot Self Help. Shelves upon shelves are dedicated to this topic in libraries and bookstores across America. Daytime talk shows hosted by professionals with large personalities and larger degrees find popularity by focusing on this subject. It is the magical panacea capable of granting health, wealth, and relational success. You make the difference in the world and you are weak if you request help. Is another offshoot of Chicken Soup for the Soul capable of curing the turpitude… Read More →