Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation 1776–1826, by Edwin S. Gaustad. This is the best short, accessible, single-volume treatment of the religious lives, intellectual pathways and church-state politics of the preeminent founders of the United States—Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin.
The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, by Rodney Stark. Joining sociology and history, Stark contributes much new insight to the amazing rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire—and he reaches some surprising conclusions.
Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
Reading a book by Terry Eagleton is like watching fireworks. The reader can become so delighted with the rhetorical pyrotechnics that the force of the argument is lost. But for all the literary razzle-dazzle, Eagleton is a serious and determined critic of the capitalist status quo.
Many American Catholic bishops have yet to heed Pope Francis’s example of simplicity. According to a CNN investigation, ten of 34 active archbishops in the United States live in domiciles worth more than a million dollars. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City lives in a 15,000-square-foot mansion on Madison Avenue that is worth at least $30 million. Dolan has expressed misgivings about his residence, but so far there are no plans for him to move or to sell the building. In Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley lives more simply in a rundown rectory in the city’s South End (CNN.com, August).