Saturday, January 08, 2005

Interesting Looking Book

TheOoze has a review of American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. The author, Stephen Prothero, is the chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University. He gives a great look at how Jesus has been viewed throughout the history of the US. Some interesting things mentioned in the review include:
1. In 1910, US churches were only 1/3 male;
2. Thomas Jefferson labeled the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as "the most unlettered and ignorant of men";
3. A very interesting look at the rise of the Vineyard Churches and Calvary Chapel.

All in all, I'm already intrigued by this book and it will definitely hit my "gift list."

One very interesting comment from the book dealt with music. It's especially interesting in the context of the modern evangelical debate over music. The article states, "Through this time, religion became more individualistic and less corporate. Theologically strong hymns like "Before Jehovah's Awful Throne" (1719) were replaced by more tender hymns like "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" (1855)." (I added the links to the songs)

Who would have thought of "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" as a modern and theologically weak song?!? I laughed out loud when I read that.