Southern Religion

Holy Moly: ‘Jesus on ThyFace’

It’s a book, and a sendup of social networking. As explained at ShipOfFools:

A new Gospel hath been vouchsafed unto us… in the form of Jesus on ThyFace, a book published just in time for Christmas. It features the full cast of the four Gospels, plus Geoff the Leper and the Whore of Babylon, all of them posting happily on their ThyFace pages. The UK authors, Denise Haskew and Steve Parker, started with the line “Lazarus hath changed his status to risen” and worked from there.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Book Review | | Comments Off on Holy Moly: ‘Jesus on ThyFace’

GetReligion nails the Haggard book event

Steve Rabey writing about coverage of Gayle Haggard’s promotion of her new book about life with Ted:

The Haggard story has now evolved into the type of media events Neal Gabler called “lifies,” which are celebrity-driven, media-friendly stories about failure and redemption that serve up big, gooey life lessons for viewers.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Book Review | , | Comments Off on GetReligion nails the Haggard book event

Tony Cartledge skins the ‘conservatized’ Bible

We have little regard for Andy Schlafly’s “Conservative Bible Project,” and Tony Cartledge, an associate professor of Old Testament at Campbell University, has less.

He gives the project a fair and thorough review, concluding:

It should be apparent to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that Schlafly’s project will produce nothing more than a radically biased rewriting of the Bible slanted toward an extremely conservative political point of view and designed to reinforce that particular worldview. The One who inspired the scripture needs no re-interpretation of divine revelation.

Read the entire piece here.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Religion | , , , | 1 Comment

‘The trouble with Twibles’ and writing one


Bible up, Star Trek fans. It’s twitterature time. Or twitlit, if for your 140-character tweets you prefer the shorter term.

Jana Riess (@janariess) is writing a twitter bible, she explains on her blog, by “tweeting out a chapter of the Bible every morning:”

This is for a humor book I’m writing, tentatively called The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less (Now with Snarky Commentary!).

She’s on Exodus as this is written. For example:

#Twible Ex 11: Phar, don’t say you weren’t warned. 1st born sons in Egt’ll be toast unless you FINALLY give up. Which (spoiler!) you won’t.

#Twible Ex 10: Locusts, then 3 days of darkness. G tells Mos He’s made Phar obstinate so there’ll be a better story for the grandkids later.

#Twible Ex 9: Pestilence, boils & hail. G not playing around w wee gnats anymore. But why does G harden Phar’s heart? Why not end it now?

Her background:

Jana Riess was the Religion Book Review Editor for Publishers Weekly from 1999 to 2008. She is now an acquisitions editor with Westminster John Knox Press, as well as a freelance writer and editor. She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University. … She is the author or co-author of six books, and a regular contributor to She lives in Cincinnati, which is the most underrated city in America.

At her current pace, she expects the project to take perhaps three years, “unless the Good Lord strikes me down first.”

We hope He doesn’t.

[H/T: Faith & Reason]

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, WWW | , , , | Comments Off on ‘The trouble with Twibles’ and writing one

Has Palin written a parable?

Going Rogue may not be quite as much a work of fiction as Left Behind but Dan Gilgoff seems to think they’re aimed at the same general audience.

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Book Review | , , , | Comments Off on Has Palin written a parable?

From Sister Carrie to Belle de Jour


Dr. Magnanti

Persuading to our daughters that heroine Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga: New Moon isn’t someone “any young girl should aspire to be” may be far easier than dealing with Belle de Jour.

Billie Piper as Belle de Jour

Billie Piper as Belle de Jour. She meets Magnanti in 2010 in an ITV2 documentary, “Billie and the Call Girl Bare All.”

Bella’s boyfriend is a pathetic, nonexistent vampire. Bella doesn’t exist either, for that matter, no matter how hard twihards may wish.

Whereas Dr. Brooke Magnanti is “a respected specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in a hospital research group in Bristol,” England. She proclaims herself to have worked as a prostitute, to have blogged it anonymously (until she “outed” herself) at Belle de Jour and to be the author of the bestselling books about her now not-so-secret life.

Sister Carrie was a scandal of a Theodore Dreiser novel because the heroine wasn’t punished for her indiscretions. Whereas Magnanti is a towering success. Her employer stands by her (What? You wanted her fired and maybe back on the street?).

She is of course unapologetic, but promises we’ll understand more after the ITV2 documentary. Of it she said:

This show will be the last word on what it was like to be Belle: how my sexuality was formed, how I came to the work, what it’s like to be portrayed on TV.

Viewers will get an exclusive look at the real woman who lived as Belle, actually becoming her one final time.

That’s going to help us with out daughters? We’ll think of something. Nothing simple, though. Life isn’t.

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Cultural, WWW | | Comments Off on From Sister Carrie to Belle de Jour

Authenticity in The Da Vinci Code?

Someone mined an authentic moment from the swamp of the Da Vinci Code. Hint: It isn’t theological, although it is about Sophie. Princess has a touch of the sociopath.

[H/T to Buster]

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Authenticity in The Da Vinci Code?

Finding faith where it lives

Sometimes, you find faith where you look for it.

Mitch Albom found it again in his interaction with two ministers that he chronicles in a column on the Washington Post web site. Albom writes a column for the Detroit Free Press and is author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” His piece in the Washington Post is about Rabbi Albert Lewis and Pastor Henry Covington.

From Rabbi Lewis, Albom learned, “Be satisfied. Be grateful. For what you have. For what God has given you.” Happiness is “not so complicated.”

From Pastor Covington, Albom learned that small acts of kindness have big consequences.

Together, they taught him:

That we are all children of God, that faith isn’t about me being more pious than you, my denomination being the right one, my religion needing to destroy yours to prove itself. Faith can actually be something we celebrate in each other, something that makes us more alike that different.

The column is here and well worth your time.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Religion | Comments Off on Finding faith where it lives

‘Da Vinci Code’ author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences

Just three, explained, from Tom Chivers list:

20. Angels and Demons, chapter 1: Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

They say the first rule of fiction is “show, don’t tell”. This fails that rule.

19. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 83: “The Knights Templar were warriors,” Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.

“Remind” is a transitive verb – you need to remind someone of something. You can’t just remind. And if the crutches echo, we know the space is reverberant.

18. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: He could taste the familiar tang of museum air – an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon – the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors.

Ah, that familiar tang of deionised essence.

Read the rest here at The London Telegraph.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Cultural | Comments Off on ‘Da Vinci Code’ author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences

The (British) Church and homosexuality

An Acceptable Sacrifice? is both a book about homosexuality and the church and the question answered by Anglican Church of South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu in its forward. He writes:

The answer is simple: No. It is not acceptable for us to discriminate against our brothers and sisters on the basis of sexual orientation, just as it was not acceptable for discrimination to exist on the basis of skin colour under Apartheid. We cannot pick and choose where justice is concerned.

The book is a collection of nine essays written by Cambridge University scholars. Not one of the nine seems likely to please pastors typically associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

For example, London Times reviewer John Habgood (formerly the Church of England’s Archbishop of York) writes of homosexuality and the Bible:

The apparently decisive text, Leviticus 18:22, “You must not lie with a man as with a woman: that is an abomination”, is a prime example of how such failure, together with the assumption that actions always carry the same meaning, can lead unwary readers in the wrong direction. What in our day might seem to be an unequivocal reference to homosexuality, did not originally refer to a kind of sexuality at all. When Leviticus was written, the real offence in the idea of “a man lying with a man” was that it entailed a violation of male superiority. It was seen as shameful for a man to be treated as a substitute woman. In short, it was more about gender relationships than sexual orientation.

You may read the rest of the review here.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Churches | , , | Comments Off on The (British) Church and homosexuality