Books

Books

For the sake of conscience

The U.S. Supreme Court's opinions about the relationship between religion and the state have been increasingly separationist, argues Phillip Hammond, a distinguished sociologist of religion and contributor to the so-called civil religion discussion. Although the nation "began as a de facto Protestant society," it has since the close of the Civil War moved toward greater and greater government neutrality not only toward differing religions but also toward the difference between religion and irreligion. This is as it should be, Hammond thinks. Behind the Constitution, he contends, is a "constitutional faith," and separationism, rightly understood, is its legal or judicial expression.

The Divine Conspiracy

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God.
By Dallas Willard, HaperSanFrancisco, 428 pp. 

The credit revolution

Everyone seems to agree that America's moral fabric is being undermined by the unwise proliferation of consumer credit. We readily believe those who claim that easy credit fuels rampant hedonism and leads many to bankruptcy. Wistfully, we compare ourselves to ancestors who supposedly controlled their spending and never went into debt. We believe that our present affluence is a bubble that will surely burst.

Living Jesus, by Luke Timothy Johnson

Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel.
By Luke Timothy Johnson. Harper SanFrancisco, 210 pp. 

In an earlier book, The Real Jesus (1996), Luke Timothy Johnson criticized the style and self-promotion of the Jesus Seminar and questioned the methods and motives, if not the faith, of some of its members.

This Our Exile, by James Martin, S.J.

This Our Exile: A Spiritual Journey with the Refugees of East Africa.
By James Martin, S.J. Orbis, 205 pp.