I am on a short vacation (too short) in Canada. I love reading books on vacation. Here’s a list of the books I am reading this week and a quick comment. To my pleasant surprise, some of these books will greatly improve my courses at Northern Seminary.
William Cavanaugh Being Consumed:Economics and Christian Desire
Since writing The Great Giveaway, my own critique of capitalism has sometimes been poorly received, i.e. people think I’m a socialist. No so. This book explains why. This concise book encapsulates many of the critiques towards late capitalism that have emerged in the last twenty five years and lead us towards why the ekklesia must be the central socializing force of those who name Jesus as Lord. To me, one of the biggest gaps in evangelical Christian thinking in North America is a naivety towards capitalism and the ways it shapes us in ways catastrophic for our relationship with God. I therefore declare this book a must read in order to understand the postmodern theorists of desire, and the postmodern critique of capitalism and a Christian response to it that is not socialist. I’ll be using it in my Church and Society classes on the week we deal with capitalism and democracy.
Amos Yong. Theology and Down Syndrome:Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity
It floors me to think of the way we evangelicals have no way to think about disability in the church, especially in regards to children (this goes for adoption as well). We biologize the idolatry of our children is ways subtle yet so American. This book helps us reimagine life as a community of Christ where even those unable to participate in the Enlightenment esteemed skills of cognitive speech, have a whole world of seeing God to offer and bless the community with. This book is so good I’ll be using it in my Medical Ethics and the Pastor class.
J. Kameron Carter. Race: A Theological Account
I am regularly frustrated with evangelical mega churched PromiseKeeper like uncritical engagements with the problem of racism based largely in strategies born out of the proliferation of Western democratic creation of rights and equal opportunity. In these existing political arrangements, we organize ourselves around social relationships which separate us and encode us into competitors over against one another. These strategies have accomplished little other than the achievements won by the early civil rights movement (which I argue were more due to the church and M L King than Western democratic ideals). Today, what we have is a racism without racists: a much more subtle and insidious form of racisim.
A second aspect to this phenomenon is that Christianity has accommodated itself to these same strategies of justice and racial reconciliation. We see it all the time in the ways evangelicals/mainline protestants engage racial reconciliation. We do not see how these modes of justice are the encoded languages of white supremacy. We do not see how Western Christianity (rationalist Christianity) became detachd from its rootage as the extension of the people of Israel, God’s people for the world (His Mission), thereby opening up space for Christianity to become the property of the European West. In so doing, Western European Christianity (rationalist Christianity) became the religion of whiteness. Race became part of the Christian imagination. This is part of J Kameron Carter’s argument in his book Theology and Race. This book is so rich. It is too expensive to require it in a class. But I will be drawing upon it in my Church and Society Class the week we deal with the church and racisim.
Other books I’m trying to fit in this week.
Cornel West Race Matters A older quick Cornel West read. I’m trying to tune up on West to better understand Carter’s critique and appropriation of him in Theology and Race.
Slavoj Zizek The Sublime Object of Ideology Zizek is important for my work on evangelicalism fortcoming. I’m always trying to read this book again and again for each time it builds upon thicker ways to examine the cultural ideologies we all live under.
C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory My friend Gordon told me to read this in order to improve my own writing. Thanks Gordon. So true.