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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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In the early 1980s, the People for the American Way ran a television commercial in which actors were made to say how they preferred their eggs--e.g., scrambled, poached or fried. Everyone should be free, the ad implied, to choose as he wishes: That's the American way. The punch line, Richard John Neuhaus wrote in "The Naked Public Square" (1984), was aimed at moral majoritarians "who allegedly would impose one way on everybody." But of course, as Mr. Neuhaus noted, the matters over which the moral majority felt strongly--e.g., abortion and the death penalty--were not exactly comparable to breakfast fare. The ad amounted to a "fatuous trivialization" of moral concerns.
In "Shopping for God," James B. Twitchell resurrects the spirit of the egg analogy to make an even broader claim. Choosing a religion, he argues, is much like choosing any other product--from breakfast food to beer. He sets out to determine why the "spiritual marketplace" in the U.S. seems so hot right now, and, more pointedly, why evangelical megachu rches have become, well, so mega. His theme can be summed up in one of the book's smug chapter titles: "Christian Consumers Are Consumers First."
Read it all.
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