In these passionate and wide-ranging essays Obery Hendricks offers a challenging engagement with spirituality, economics, politics, contemporary Christianity, and the abuses committed in its name. Among his themes: the gap between the spirituality of the church and the spirituality of Jesus; the ways in which contemporary versions of gospel music "sensationalize" today's churches into social and political irrelevance; how the economic principles and policies espoused by the religious right betray the most basic principles of the same biblical tradition they claim to hold dear; the domestication of Martin Luther King's message to foster a political complacency that dishonors King's sacrifices. He ends with a stinging rebuke of the religious right's idolatrous "patriotism" in a radical manifesto for those who would practice "the politics of Jesus" in the public sphere.
Reading any book-length work centered around one mans reflections on the Bibles abhorrence of poverty might be a tedious undertaking, no matter who authored such a tome. But the disorganization of this book by Hendricks, professor at New Yorks Theological Seminary and visiting scholar at Columbia University, makes this uneven collection of musings a particularly tough sell. He writes that his aim is to center the book around misapplications of biblical meaning when it comes to sociopolitical sensibilities, and while he writes authoritatively on economic disparities and historiography, he quickly veers off course, condemning the clowning trickeration of contemporary gospel music. Other verbal ticks include an abrupt shift from third person to first person toward the end of the book and a dense overview of modern wealth in the U.S. He later pairs the gospels with awkward passages from The Grapes of Wrath in explicating the theme of economic dispossession. There are reflections in the book and some of them may be radical. The question is who these meandering musings will reach. (Nov.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.
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