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Despite the results of the 2006 elections, the coalition between Conservative politics and American Christians remains a dominant force in setting the American socio-cultural and political agenda. Ellingsen argues that until this coalition is diminished we will remain a politically conservative nation to the detriment of the poor, the marginalized, the middle class, and nations around the world, as well as to the detriment of the spiritual life in America's churches! Unlike previous books lamenting this ...
Despite the results of the 2006 elections, the coalition between Conservative politics and American Christians remains a dominant force in setting the American socio-cultural and political agenda. Ellingsen argues that until this coalition is diminished we will remain a politically conservative nation to the detriment of the poor, the marginalized, the middle class, and nations around the world, as well as to the detriment of the spiritual life in America's churches! Unlike previous books lamenting this Neo-Conservative-Christian coalition, Ellingsen offers the first account of the root (Puritan) causes for this coalition and provides readers with concrete strategies that we can adopt to challenge the tragic pact between so many committed Christians and political leaders that value business and global domination above all else.
Don't let the page count on this volume fool you. Ellingsen, a professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, packs in a remarkable amount of history, mostly of Christianity in America. He not only addresses Christianity's roots, but its U.S. evolution, its ebb and flow, all in an effort to illustrate what he calls "the dominance of the Puritan Paradigm on our social psyche." Complete with explicit (and sometimes excessive) poll numbers on denominational voters, their trends, and their motivations , the argument is well-grounded. With so much attention paid to how we got here, however, Ellingsen neglects where we should go next; the book is more descriptive and diagnostic than prescriptive. This is by no means a light read, but neither is it only for professional politicos and theologians. Readers of Jim Wallis, Michael Lerner, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and others who've addressed the dichotomy between the New Testament Jesus, champion of the poor and forgotten, and the Jesus of the political right will want to add this title to their library, if only for a more in-depth perspective of how American Christianity and politics have changed. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Of all the recent books written as clarion calls for liberals of faith to redefine an alternative to the religious right's version of "values voting"-e.g., Jim Wallis's God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It-Ellingsen's (Interdenominational Theological Ctr., Atlanta) call to action includes something unique: a sociological explanation of whythe religious right's version of Christianity resonates with the average American. Ellingsen shows that the "Puritan Paradigm"-what he describes as a "revivalist-tempered, individualistic Puritanism"-is the prevailing American model for Christianity and righteous living and that policies and practices aligned with this paradigm tend to receive voter approval. All readers, no matter their beliefs, will find the Puritan Paradigm an enlightening key to today's politics. The solutions Ellingsen proposes-appeals to the concepts of natural law and human sinfulness that can be detected in the Constitution-could be embraced by Jews, Muslims, and secularists alike. Of general interest; recommended for all libraries collecting in the area of religion and politics.
—Nancy E. Adams
Chapter 1 Introduction: Are True Believers Really Conservative? Part 2 How We Got the Way We Are Chapter 3 The Puritan Paradigm Chapter 4 Revivalism and the Individualizing of American Religion Chapter 5 Fundamentalism, Its Decline, and the Rise of the Religious Right Chapter 6 The Conservative Jesus Part 7 Why It's Unlikely To Get Better Soon Chapter 8 American Theological Education Since World War II Chapter 9 Impact of German Philosophy and Theology on the Pews:The Importance of Today's Cutting-Edge Theologies Chapter 10 The Impact of Americanization Chapter 11 Stubborn Exceptions and What They Might Teach Us Part 12 It Will Take a Conservative Theology To Recover a Politically Liberal Jesus and a New Liberal Coalition Chapter 13 Resources in Classical Christianity Chapter 14 What Catholics and Protestants Will Need To Do to Keep Jesus and his Gospel form Becoming Conservative: Some New (Old) Alternatives Chapter 15 Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?