Review of Religion Gone Astray

Meet the Authors Pastor  Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman have been working together on interfaith matters since shortly after September 11, 2001.  A few years ago the trio together wrote their first book: Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & a Sheikh (2009).  In response to the many common questions they receive at their speaking engagements, they have now written a second book: Religion Gone Astray: What Read More …

Low Commitment Christianity

Yesterday, I reviewed Rodney Stark's latest book: The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (2011).  Throughout the book he offers considerable sociological insight, including the following paragraph on the shortcomings of low commitment religious groups: The conclusion that competition among faiths will favor "low cost" religious organizations mistakes price for value.  As is evident in most consumer markets, people do not usually rush to purchase Read More …

Review of The Triumph of Christianity

Meet the Author Since 2004, Rodney Stark has been a University Professor in Social Sciences and the Co-Director of the Institute of Studies of Religion at Baylor University.  Stark is an American sociologist of religion who previously taught for over thirty years at the University of Washington.  He has published 30 books and more than 140 scholarly articles, mostly on religion.  One of his recent books, What Americans Really Believe (2008), has been reviewed on this blog (click here to read Read More …

Review of Happiness

Meet the Author Sister Joan Chittister is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, where she served as prioress for 12 years.  She is a social psychologist with a doctorate from Penn State University, the founder of Benetvision (an organization that exists to encourage the development of contemporary spirituality from a feminist and global perspective through her work), regular columnist for National Catholic Reporter, and a sought after speaker.  Chittister presently serves as the Read More …

How Christians Undermine Christianity

James F. McGrath, associate professor of religion at Butler University, recently shared four ways Christians undermine Christianity: Demand that others, regardless of their religious tradition, wish you a Merry Christmas Promote the use of King James Version only Let Barnes and Noble define what is Scripture (what is contained between the covers of your Bible) Use circular reasoning So What? Plenty of people outside of Christianity do a great job of pointing out the shortcomings of Read More …

Review of You Lost Me

Meet the Author David Kinnaman is best known as the co-author of the bestselling book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters (2007).  Since joining the Barna Group in 1995, the 37 year old Kinnaman has designed and analyzed nearly 500 projects and supervised more than 350,000 interviews for client projects.  Currently, he serves as president and majority owner. Book Basics UnChristian (2007) is an incredibly insightful, timely, and well researched Read More …

Christians Share This

Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard, begins a chapter he contributed to The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars from Each Tradition (1993, Arvind Sharma, ed.) by describing what "the proverbial visitor from Mars" would note if given the opportunity to travel to earth to observe Christians.  After covering the dizzying diversity of the religious gatherings and the shared oddities (e.g. "the people would sometimes swallow small quantities of bread or a Read More …

The End of Mary

Philip N. Cohen, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently wrote two posts (A and B) on his blog about the declining popularity of the name Mary.  To put the trend in perspective he offers these remarks: For the first time in the history of the United States of America, the name Mary is not in the top 100 given to newborn girls. Mary was the #1 name every year in the Social Security name database from 1880 — it’s first year — to 1961 (except for Read More …