The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea  -     By: David Dark
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The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea

Westminster John Knox Press / 2005 / Paperback

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Product Description

Under a broad pop-culture umbrella, using icons from music, literature, film, the media, and politics, David Dark hopes to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this "weird moment" in which we live. It is a moment when we are increasingly polarized along political and religious lines, a moment when we are too busy forming our response to listen to the one who is speaking. And yet we claim more than ever to be one nation, under God. What does this mean? The end result, he hopes, will be a better understanding that "there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong," the reality of the kingdom of God.

"This well-read interpreter of popular culture probes the spiritual resonances of American culture from Hawthorne and Melville to Bob Dylan and David Lynch. Nearly every page has something to make readers pause, laugh, think, or pray,"---Publishers Weekly

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 173
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 0664227694
ISBN-13: 9780664227692
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
Series: Gospel According to

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Publisher's Description

Using icons from music, literature, film, and politics, David Dark hopes to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this day and age. The end result of this conversation, Dark hopes, will be a better understanding that "there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong," the reality of the kingdom of God.

Author Bio

David Dark is a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and is the author of Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons and The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. He has also written for Books and Culture and Christianity Today.

Publisher's Weekly

Readers of Dark's book Everyday Apocalypse know that this high school English teacher is a passionate, articulate, absurdly well-read interpreter of popular culture. But even the forewarned may be astonished by this latest effort. Dark's skill at probing the spiritual resonances of American culture-in forms high and low, from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville to Bob Dylan and David Lynch-is matched by his uncanny ability to select telling moments from America's common story. Whether it's Elvis taking a shotgun to his television sets, Dylan confessing a sense of common humanity with Lee Harvey Oswald or George Washington treating British prisoners of war with unprecedented civility, Dark excavates a series of witnesses who speak prophetically to what he sees as our media-saturated overconfidence in our own righteousness. Moreover, he offers a convincing and unsettling account of the gospel itself-the "Jewish Christian" story of forgiveness and human dignity that, Dark argues, has animated America's ideals even as it has continually critiqued America's practices. Dark's Southern heritage is evident in his literary allusions (the subtitle echoes Flannery O'Connor) and in his affection for egalitarian conversation. Nearly every page has something to make readers pause, laugh, think or pray; perhaps most amazing is Dark's skill at burying layers of meaning for the reader to discover. It's hard to imagine a better tonic for our age than this unblinkingly honest exercise in faithful patriotism. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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  1. Jim Parsons
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    For the thinker: an invitation to critique
    May 15, 2011
    Jim Parsons
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    David Dark has written an amazingly good book. It is filled with insights, critique, and encouragement to see through the fog of hegemonic thinking that plays humans like a cheap shell game. The book is seriously and rigorously well-grounded in a wide breadth of background reading. He has done his homework. Dark uses a solid knowledge of scripture - his hermeneutic is clear and edgy; a depth of insight into philosophic and historical knowledge; and a solid background of popular and current culture to mold together a thought-provoking treatise of modernism and how it can shape us. His chapter on Bob Dylan is worth the price of the book alone. He is, I believe, following the biblical mandate of being in the world but not of it. His book - for serious readers willing to roll around ideas in their minds - represents an invitation to help Christians become the "Salt of the World" and not just the "Salt of the Church." I learned so much from this book that will help me in my post-secondary teaching. For someone who reads as much as I do - sometimes up to five books a week - this book was an outstanding treat! I recommend it highly.
  2. Barb
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    June 17, 2010
    Barb
    I did what I'm called to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 which says to "test everything." I tested this book against Scripture and found it to fail.
  3. Robert Mccollough
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 4, 2009
    Robert Mccollough
    If you are a Christian who loves the arts and is well-read in secular literature and enjoys an eclectic mix of secular music, you will identify with this book. The author uses the mediums of secular literature and secular music to intelligently address issues that are in dire need of being dealt with in the church that is residing in this land we call America. The author sees the reality of the kingdom of God and realizes that many in America have confused the kingdom of God with this particular version of the kingdom of the world. This book contains an intelligent, but plain spoken, call to discernment and repentance--and a return to following in Jesus' footsteps and living as citizens of the kingdom of God. A good read!
  4. FreedbyJC
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 20, 2006
    FreedbyJC
    From time to time, not as frequently as one would like but not as rarely as one might fear, a busy editor's day is disrupted by the arrival of a book with an inimitable and irresistible voice. We only intended to skim it when we took it out of its shipping envelope, with a quick glance at the table of contents, the first few pages, and the indextaking the literary vital signs that allow readers, like emergency room nurses, to perform rapid triage. But we find ourselves increasingly absorbed in its pages, neglecting the rest of the mail on our desk, the bouncing icon on our screen, and the blinking light on our phone. A book like this is like treasure hidden in a field. The one who finds it goes away rejoicing, and also misses the 4:35 train.David Dark's book The Gospel According to America packs that kind of punch. Dark has several things going for him. He is from the South, the region that has provided some of America's most vivid and idiosyncratic voicesthe region where being American is most deeply and continually both a point of pride and a problem. He is a high school English teacher, which means that he has had to become adept at stirring sleepy students into awareness of a grand conversation that both transcends and includes the popular culture they absorb every day. But perhaps most important, he is dangerously and delightfully intoxicated by the gospel of Jesus Christ.All of which makes him an ideal person to answer our question, How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good? What you believe is what you see is what you are is what you do. Stanley FishChristianity Today International/Books & Culture magazine.
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