I came away from Heaven Is for Real thinking that either Colton Burpo was carried in an out-of-body experience to a biblical wax museum or he's been channeling images from his father's sermons back to his credulous parents.
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.
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.
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.
Michael Sharp and Emmanuel Kambale, colleagues in the Congolese Protestant Council’s Peace and Reconciliation program, have found a way to encourage some 1,600 soldiers to put down their arms. The FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), which has been ravaging villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo for 20 years, has its roots in the Hutu militias that killed Tutsi civilians during the Rwanda genocide. Listening to the fighters’ stories, Sharp and Kambale discovered that they were homesick for life back in Rwanda. That acknowledgment has led some of them to give up the fight. But the meager $12,000 per month Peace and Reconciliation budget is drying up in March (NPR, January 2).