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To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World Hardcover – Apr 28 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; unknown edition (April 28 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199730806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199730803
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 3 x 16.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #94,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review


"How should Christians act in the world? The dominant answer in America today seems to be: through politics. But the major model of Christian political action, visible most obviously but not exclusively in the Christian Right, has been a politics fuelled by resentment and a sense of victimization, actuated by a strong will to power, and a propensity to demonize its opponents. This politics is a capitulation to the worst elements of the contemporary culture it claims to be redeeming. Hunter offers an acute end penetrating analysis of this paradoxical and distressing phenomenon, and carefully charts an alternative course for contemporary Christians, a form of 'faithful presence' within culture and society. The book is brimful of insightful challenges to our conventional understanding of things, and of inspiring suggestions for a new departure."
-- Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age


"For anyone interested in American Christianity, whether believer or observer, this is an extraordinarily important and valuable book. Hunter's analysis of culture and the capacity of Christians to influence it (or not) is the most sophisticated and subtle I have ever seen, explaining why most treatments of the subject are gravely inadequate. His treatment of religion and power in the American context is similarly illuminating. Finally his theology of faithful presence offers a promising alternative to most of the approaches on offer today whether from liberals or conservatives. The encounter of social science and theology has often been vapid; Hunter shows how vibrant it can be."
-- Robert Bellah, co-author of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life


"No writer or thinker has taught me as much as James Hunter has about this all-important and complex subject of how culture is changed."
--Tim Keller, author of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters


"


"The most important book on religion in recent years." --Richmond Times-Dispatch


"Hunter's corrective argument for authentic Christian engagement with the world is refreshing, persuasive, and inspiring." --Publishers Weekly


"Hunter is a thoughtful man, measured in his comments and fair minded in his analysis."--Peter Wehner, Politics Daily


"James Davison Hunter's latest work, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World is a fascinating study of cultural transformation."--Jim Denison, Associated Baptist Press


"The year's most widely discussed Christian book." --David Skeel, The Wall Street Journal


"Hunter addresses important and relevant issues that all Christians in the U.S. need to consider. His ideas and analyses are frequently insightful and helpful, and his style is provocative and engaging."--Christian Century


"Brilliant."--John A. Coleman, America


"The structure of this book is quite simple....I found his three-fold typology to be useful at a desciptive level, but I was dissatisfied with the solution that he proposes"--Donald E. Miller, University of Southern California


"There's much in these pages to debate, but the church will be better for the conversation."--Winn Collier, Religious Herald


"Ambitious and impressive...Hunter's call for a more institutional and broadly public understanding of social change is a welcome and important insight. Readers of this journal will find his nuanced sociological arguments to be a rich resource in moving theological interpretations of culture from the narrow confines of political theology to the more open conceptual riches of public theology."--International Journal of Public Theology


"How should Christians act in the world? The dominant answer in America today seems to be: through politics. But the major model of Christian political action, visible most obviously but not exclusively in the Christian Right, has been a politics fuelled by resentment and a sense of victimization, actuated by a strong will to power, and a propensity to demonize its opponents. This politics is a capitulation to the worst elements of the contemporary culture it claims to be redeeming. Hunter offers an acute end penetrating analysis of this paradoxical and distressing phenomenon, and carefully charts an alternative course for contemporary Christians, a form of 'faithful presence' within culture and society. The book is brimful of insightful challenges to our conventional understanding of things, and of inspiring suggestions for a new departure." -- Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age


"For anyone interested in American Christianity, whether believer or observer, this is an extraordinarily important and valuable book. Hunter's analysis of culture and the capacity of Christians to influence it (or not) is the most sophisticated and subtle I have ever seen, explaining why most treatments of the subject are gravely inadequate. His treatment of religion and power in the American context is similarly illuminating. Finally his theology of faithful presence offers a promising alternative to most of the approaches on offer today whether from liberals or conservatives. The encounter of social science and theology has often been vapid; Hunter shows how vibrant it can be." -- Robert Bellah, co-author of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life


"Insightful, creative, refreshing, challenging, realistic, and calm but hard-hitting, To Change the World offers a sharp critical and constructive vision for American Christianity that simply must be engaged by all sides. Hunter gives us big-picture, alternative thinking at its bets. His deft interrogation of the Christian political left, right, and center in America nails it, just as his constructive, alternative vision rings true in its promise. A rare achievement and a must-read for people of faith in these times." -- Christian Smith, author of Soul Searching and Souls in Transition


"No writer or thinker has taught me as much as James Hunter has about this all-important and complex subject of how culture is changed." --Tim Keller, author of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters


"It is groundbreaking, it is comprehensive, and it is visionary. Above all, it is wise, both sociologically and theologically. No Christian entrusted with institutional leadership or cultural power should miss the chance to read it. It will be provoking better Christian conversations about culture for years to come, and may well help our secular neighbors understand what Christians really are, or should be, aiming for-even when we use slogans like 'to change the world.' Bravo."--Andy Crouch, Books and Culture





"The most important book on religion in recent years." --Richmond Times-Dispatch


"Hunter's corrective argument for authentic Christian engagement with the world is refreshing, persuasive, and inspiring." --Publishers Weekly


"Hunter is a thoughtful man, measured in his comments and fair minded in his analysis."--Peter Wehner, Politics Daily


"James Davison Hunter's latest work, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World is a fascinating study of cultural transformation."--Jim Denison, Associated Baptist Press


"The year's most widely discussed Christian book." --David Skeel, The Wall Street Journal


"Hunter addresses important and relevant issues that all Christians in the U.S. need to consider. His ideas and analyses are frequently insightful and helpful, and his style is provocative and engaging."--Christian Century


"Brilliant."--John A. Coleman, America


"The structure of this book is quite simple....I found his three-fold typology to be useful at a desciptive level, but I was dissatisfied with the solution that he proposes"--Donald E. Miller, University of Southern California


"There's much in these pages to debate, but the church will be better for the conversation."--Winn Collier, Religious Herald


"Ambitious and impressive...Hunter's call for a more institutional and broadly public understanding of social change is a welcome and important insight. Readers of this journal will find his nuanced sociological arguments to be a rich resource in moving theological interpretations of culture from the narrow confines of political theology to the more open conceptual riches of public theology."--International Journal of Public Theology


"How should Christians act in the world? The dominant answer in America today seems to be: through politics. But the major model of Christian political action, visible most obviously but not exclusively in the Christian Right, has been a politics fuelled by resentment and a sense of victimization, actuated by a strong will to power, and a propensity to demonize its opponents. This politics is a capitulation to the worst elements of the contemporary culture it claims to be redeeming. Hunter offers an acute end penetrating analysis of this paradoxical and distressing phenomenon, and carefully charts an alternative course for contemporary Christians, a form of 'faithful presence' within culture and society. The book is brimful of insightful challenges to our conventional understanding of things, and of inspiring suggestions for a new departure." -- Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age


"For anyone interested in American Christianity, whether believer or observer, this is an extraordinarily important and valuable book. Hunter's analysis of culture and the capacity of Christians to influence it (or not) is the most sophisticated and subtle I have ever seen, explaining why most treatments of the subject are gravely inadequate. His treatment of religion and power in the American context is similarly illuminating. Finally his theology of faithful presence offers a promising alternative to most of the approaches on offer today whether from liberals or conservatives. The encounter of social science and theology has often been vapid; Hunter shows how vibrant it can be." -- Robert Bellah, co-author of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life


"Insightful, creative, refreshing, challenging, realistic, and calm but hard-hitting, To Change the World offers a sharp critical and constructive vision for American Christianity that simply must be engaged by all sides. Hunter gives us big-picture, alternative thinking at its bets. His deft interrogation of the Christian political left, right, and center in America nails it, just as his constructive, alternative vision rings true in its promise. A rare achievement and a must-read for people of faith in these times." -- Christian Smith, author of Soul Searching and Souls in Transition


"No writer or thinker has taught me as much as James Hunter has about this all-important and complex subject of how culture is changed." --Tim Keller, author of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters


"It is groundbreaking, it is comprehensive, and it is visionary. Above all, it is wise, both sociologically and theologically. No Christian entrusted with institutional leadership or cultural power should miss the chance to read it. It will be provoking better Christian conversations about culture for years to come, and may well help our secular neighbors understand what Christians really are, or should be, aiming for-even when we use slogans like 'to change the world.' Bravo."--Andy Crouch, Books and Culture


About the Author

James Davison Hunter is LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He is the author of Culture Wars and The Death of Character.



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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 72 reviews
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4.0 out of 5 starsYou can't change the world - and what to do about it
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5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent analysis and framework for considering the role of Christians in social change
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4.0 out of 5 starsA fascinating discussion and assessment of current religious movments in America...
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