As summer is in full swing, now is the time to perfect your summer reading list. Many of our Intersect contributors would like to recommend their suggestions. We shared one list of recommendations last week, and we’ll continue to share their recommendations over the coming weeks.
This week, we highlight books on culture, American exceptionalism, pollution and “liturgies of the ordinary” from Dayton Hartman, Cas Monaco, Brianna Copeland, Alysha Clark and Thomas West — so you can have a #FaithandCulture summer.
American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea
by John D. Wilsey (Downers Grove: IVP, 2015)
Dayton Hartman: Every election cycle the concept of “American exceptionalism” is bandied about (in some form or another) by both of the major political parties. While each party has their own particular spin on what this concept is meant to convey, neither party has a firm grasp on the history of this notion nor its implications for what could be called “civil religion.” America is a great and exceptional nation that has been incredibly blessed by God. Nevertheless, as people committed to truth we must ensure that approach and understand terms (such as exceptionalism) in a manner that is consistent with our theological commitments that also takes into account the historical development of such language.
Wilsey’s book is an excellent interaction with the historical development of the idea of American exceptionalism and its implications for the church. Prior to the next election cycle, we would do well to understand the history, philosophy and theology of what is meant by such a key phrase in our nation’s political parlance.
Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview
by Michael W. Goheen and Craig G. Bartholomew (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008)
Cas Monaco: Living at the Crossroads is a great book that outlines the Christian Worldview, the philosophical and theological factors that are at play in today’s culture.
In addition, Goheen and Bartholomew explain why it’s important that believers understand their Christian worldview.
Pollution and the Death of Man
by Francis A. Schaeffer and Udo W. Middleman (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1970)
Brianna Copeland: This is a fantastic primer for why Christians need to care for the earth, value material things and do all this for the worship of Christ our King.
Scheaffer and Middleman put things plainly. They start at a most basic approach, asking questions of our faith and its connection to our environment, our present home.
Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
by Tish Harrison Warren (Downers Grove: IVP, 2016)
Alysha Clark: I just wrote a review of Liturgy of the Ordinary, but this book is good so I will plug it anywhere I can. On the Intersect blog we talk a lot about the convergence of faith and work, but in this book Warren drills down deeper into every moment of life as a reflection upon God and an act of worship. She explores how even the most mundane parts of our day form us as believers and teach us about God.
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
by N. T. Wright (New York: Harper Collins, 2008)
Thomas West: This book speaks to one of the deepest heart issues for many Christians today. In my personal experience and pastoral encounters, I meet many people who love God and are thankful to be saved, but don’t know what to do about it in the here and now. Towards that end, this book answers two important questions: What are we waiting for, and what are we going to do about it?
What books are you reading this summer?