Jennifer Egan's novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a clutch of other awards this year. It is at once a sharp social commentary, a showcase for the author's virtuosity, and a constellation of stories so good they invite fast, compulsive reading but also reward more careful attention. It is also a book with particular relevance for Christian theology and ethics.
Old habits die hard. Despite numerous attempts by mainline Protestant denominations to promote historically informed studies of Judaism, repudiate supersessionist theologies and engage in conversations wth Jews, the old habit of bearing false witness against Jewish neighbors lives on. In recent years this practice has thrived especially in mainline Protestant statements on the Middle East.
In this book, Richard T. Hughes offers a powerful argument against what he calls the myth of a Christian America. A distinguished professor of religion at Messiah College, Hughes makes a case that ranges across history, biblical studies and theological ethics.
On July 4, 1976, bicentennial fever swept through the U.S., and I caught an especially acute case. Soldiers from George Washington’s army occupied my bedspread. The seal of the Continental Congress dignified my bedroom rug. On the Fourth I put on a tricorner hat, rolled up my jeans to turn them into knee breeches, donned my mom’s ruffled blouse and grabbed my musket so that I could march with a hundred other suburbanites in a neighborhood parade.
“How would your introductory course in your field help prepare students for ministry?” This question consistently stumped candidates fresh from graduate school who were interviewing for a faculty position in our theological school. The candidates were bright. They could map their disciplines with precision, and they cared deeply about the role of religion in society.