My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Review: Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels

Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels by Tony Keddie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: ****
Performance: ***

About Like You’d Expect

There is an obvious “conservative vs progressive” divide within American Society that is playing out in the American Christian Church … and while I though that I generally identified as part of the conservative side, I find it difficult to understand how I ended up outside of both camps these days as they sling “proof text” at each other to illustrate why they are right and their opponents are wrong. Perhaps the greatest surprise is my perception of just how far the “right” has moved so far away from what I generally see as Christ’s message. I had hopes that this book would provides some answers to that puzzle … and it does a reasonably good job, although there are definitely some Biblical interpretations that seem to be stretched a bit too far, I didn’t see anything that is not actually supported in some form within academia; although it does lean toward a more secular viewpoint and that is probably the only weakness I found (making the author something of an outsider who sometimes gets some viewpoints and nuances wrong).

The book probably has the greatest appeal to nonpartisans who are open to the information presented and willing to evaluate for themselves whether on not the arguments presented make sense. Unfortunately, the author’s personal voice or judgement sometimes undermines some of the material presented, so it is not likely to convince many readers … either that are already on his side and diametrically opposed. Personally I found myself in agreement or neutral that opposed for most of what he had to say.

The chapters and sections in this work are:

Introduction (41:00)
Part One: Who Is Republican Jesus (54:48)
Part Two: Where Does Republican Jesus Come From? (48:29)
Chapter 3: A Corporate Assault not he New Deal (51:42)
Chapter 4: Tea and Prosperity in the Age of Trump (1:00:42)
Part Three: What Does Republican Jesus Stand For? (1:05:18)
Chapter 6: Charity (1:00:01)
Chapter 7: Church and State (51:10)
Chapter 8: Protection from Invaders (48:44)
Chapter 9: The End of the World (1:02:42)
Afterword (08:50)

Some of the other points that really got my attention are:

’The Bible tells me so,' isn't a compelling argument for anything. The Bible can't speak for itself. It must be interpreted, and it is in this process of interpretation that modern prejudices are too often granted divine authority.
It is crucial that ancient [scriptures] … be interpreted as products of specific historical circumstances. If they aren’t, they can too easily be used to sanctify hatred toward whoever happens to be the interpreter’s most reviled opponents – toward liberals or conservatives, toward Christians, Jews, or Muslims, or even toward [Harry] Potterheads.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#RepublicanJesus #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.