Political experts are everywhere; 99% of the political remarks I read and hear are communicated as though the communicator is a subject matter expert. In reality, of course, most are simply people who have strong feelings about their particular perspectives.
Political writing is particularly popular. As a non-expert, I have read three books this year that have proven especially helpful in expanding my political understanding. More specifically, these texts have enriched my view of the present moment better by broadening and deepening my knowledge of the past, including, and, at times, especially our country’s religious past.
- (5+) Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage by Stephen Prothero (HarperOne, 2016)
- (4.5) America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis (Brazos Press, 2016)
- (4.0) How Jesus Joined the GOP and Why It’s Important We Reclaim Him for Everybody by Terry Heaton (Unpublished manuscript)
About the Bible
As a person who seeks to follow the Way of Jesus, I have benefited greatly from the time I spent with two new books that take the Bible seriously rather than literally. Both volumes draw upon the latest scholarship in the field. Ehrman’s work, however, goes a step further exploring the idea of memory and relating scholarship in many fields to both canonical and non-canonical Gospels.
- (5.0) Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior by Bart Ehrman (HarperOne, 2016)
- (4.5) Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy: A Journey into a New Christianity Through the Doorway of Matthew’s Gospel by John Shelby Spong (HarperOne, 2016)
As a blogger, one of my main goals is to encourage genuine conversation. The books mentioned above are all excellent conversation starters for informal engagement as well as more structured interactions. I commend them to you and invite you to share with me texts you think I should read to grow in the areas of politics and the Christian religion.