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It’s the end of the church as we know it. In a digitally connected world, people are seeking spiritual answers through pop culture. Instead of retreating, Christians must “rethink the sacred” and enter global conversations about God–in film, literature, TV, and music–or face extinction, argues Barry Taylor in Entertainment Theology.
Taking snapshots from theology, cultural studies, sociology, and pop culture, Taylor explores a myriad of factors affecting religious life since the 1970s, including technology, fashion, celebrity, and global communications. He exhorts a move away from traditional Christian religion, proposing instead a manifestation of Christianity as a religion not of the past but of the present and the future.
For scholars, seminary students, culture watchers, and emerging-church readers, Entertainment Theology offers thought-provoking hope for Christianity’s future.
A Prominent Theologian Explores What It Means to Be Human
Preeminent scholar and theologian Ingolf Dalferth offers mature reflections on what it means to be human, a topic at the forefront of contemporary Christian thought. Dalferth argues that humans should be defined not as deficient beings–who must compensate for the weaknesses of their biological nature by means of technology, morals, media, religion, and culture–but as creatures of possibility. He understands human beings by reference to their capacity to live a truly humane life. Dalferth explores the sheer gratuitousness of God’s agency in justifying and sanctifying the human person, defining humans not by what we do or achieve but by God’s creative and saving action. In the gospel, we are set free to interact with the world and creation.
What purpose do purely intellectual pursuits have in the lives of Christians? Why should Christians study subjects that have little bearing on their future careers and ministry? In a style reminiscent of the work of Arthur Holmes and Harry Blamires, veteran professor of philosophy Clifford Williams addresses these issues and more in this succinct and accessible examination of the life of the mind.
Christians cultivating the life of the mind actively pursue situations and discussions that require experimentation, reflection, and perseverance. They are interested in the acquisition of knowledge that is both unrelated and directly related to their faith. Williams answers common Christian objections to such activities, describes the virtues of the person who engages in the life of the mind, and asserts that the life of the mind is justifiably a Christian calling.
The Life of the Mind is directed toward college students contemplating the importance of college and intellectual activity in general, but it will be enjoyed by all committed to developing a Christian mind.
Dominating the daily news cycle today are the grim realities of grinding poverty, sex trafficking, gender discrimination, child soldiering, HIV/AIDS, failed states, corruption, and environmental breakdown. In the midst of such pain and brokenness, the followers of Christ cannot stand idly by, for God calls them into the mission of reconciling all things, first by easing suffering and then by building flourishing communities through the process of transformational human development. This practical handbook explains what development is, what development workers actually do, and how young people can prepare for mission careers in this field, both in North America and abroad. In addition to setting the big picture for how Christians approach the big questions of international development, the book draws on stories, advice, and wisdom collected from personal interviews with about fifty development professionals.
This book offers a unique approach to Calvin by introducing the individuals and groups who, through their opposition to Calvin’s theology and politics, helped shape the Reformer, his theology, and his historical and religious legacy. Respected church historian Gary Jenkins shows how Calvin had to defend or rethink his theology in light of his tormentors’ challenges, giving readers a more nuanced view of Calvin’s life and thought. The book highlights the central theological ideas of the Swiss Reformation and introduces figures and movements often excluded from standard texts.
Christianity’s demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, a noted Christian literary scholar recounts how her focus has shifted from American to African literature.
Susan VanZanten began her career working on nineteenth-century American literature. A combination of personal circumstances, curricular demands, world events, and unfolding scholarship have led her to teach, research, and write about African literature and to advocate for a global approach to education and scholarship. This is the second book in the Turning South series, which offers reflections by eminent Christian scholars who have turned their attention and commitments beyond North America.
Why Studying Religion Matters in a Pluralistic Context
This brief primer explains why Christian students should study religion, how they should go about it, and why it is important in our contemporary, pluralistic context. Senior religion scholar Terry Muck introduces the discipline and explains how it can be approached by Christian students. He explores the contemporary significance of studying religion in a complex, multicultural world and concludes by addressing the skills students must bring to the study of religion in the twenty-first century. Written in accessible prose suitable for undergraduates, this introduction can be used to supplement any standard religion textbook.