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Mark McEntire

The temptation narrative of the Gospels, particularly in Luke 4:1-13, raises questions about the nature of temptation and what it means to be tempted. In 1988 an enormous controversy arose surrounding the release of “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Martin Scorsese’s screen adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s 1951 novel by the same title. Protesters marched in […] Read More

Kate Campbell’s latest CD, For the Living of These Days, sets a rigorous standard for itself by opening with Woody Guthrie’s “Jesus Christ.” It is a challenge for a self-identified gospel album to maintain direct contact with the harsh realities of life, and avoid drifting off into pie-in-the-sky denial of popular American religion. Guthrie’s “Jesus […] Read More

Christians, for whom the Bible is a sacred text, will surely struggle to find a certain voice on the issue of immigration within the pages of their various canons. Fear and mistrust of foreigners is an ancient habit. The legal tradition within the Hebrew Scriptures fails to find its voice on this issue because it […] Read More

Harold Bloom, professor of humanities at Yale University, has become one of the foremost thinkers of our time. So, when he publishes a new book, it is difficult not to take notice, and Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine is at least his 30th. “Literary critic” seems too narrow a designation for Bloom, but it […] Read More

The other volumes in the Westminster John Knox “Gospel According to…” series (the Simpsons, Tolkien, Disney, Oprah) have all had more focused subjects than David Dark’s “The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea.” As the subtitle suggests, this book does not present a cogent argument from beginning to end. Instead, […] Read More

‘Safe at Home’

In “Safe at Home: A Memoir of God, Baseball, and Family,” Marc A. Jolley presents a highly personal account of his life as it has revolved around these three poles. The book is a new addition to the “Sports and Religion” Series begun by Mercer University Press in 2004. It is written to Jolley’s sons […] Read More

On the insert of Kate Campbell’s new album, Blues and Lamentations, the lyrics and other written information are arranged in a pattern that reminds me of a labyrinth, or at least half of one. Labyrinths became tools for spiritual exploration in the Christian tradition during the Middle Ages. Whether laid out in stone, woven in […] Read More

As the emotions from the 2004 election recede, it is time to contemplate its meaning. There is a multitude of exit poll data to examine, but here is a set of numbers that caught my eye. –Persons who say they attend church more than weekly: Bush 64 percent, Kerry 35 percent. –Persons whose annual income […] Read More

Blue Like Jazz

On an unseasonably warm Wednesday evening in mid-January, I set out for the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville to see a program featuring Donald Miller, author of a popular book called “Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” As I approached the theater, driving up 21st Avenue, I saw a line of people stretching halfway […] Read More

Because I am in the process of producing a manuscript about the use of the Old Testament in popular music, Michael J. Gilmour’s Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan & Scripture caught my eye when I saw it in a publisher’s display at a recent professional conference. Gilmour’s focus is different from my own […] Read More