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Patrick Deneen’s Recommended Books on Christianity and Politics

Patrick Deneen's Recommended Reading

This year’s Holmer Lecture, by Dr. Patrick Deneen of Notre Dame, was a focused and intense indictment of modern American liberalism—in the broad, classical sense of the term. Whether or not you were able to make it to the Holmer Lecture (and our apologies if you tried but were blocked by the traffic from the U of M’s homecoming parade), you’ll likely find Deneen’s talk bracing.

We’ll post audio and video recordings from the lecture soon. In the meantime, check out this list of twelve books that Patrick recommends to those of you who are interested in the subject and are looking for some good reading.

The link to each book will bring you to Amazon Smile—remember that if you order through Smile with “MacLaurin Institute” as your preferred charity, 0.5% of your purchase will come back to us! Many of these books should also be available through your local public library, as well.

Here are Patrick Deneen’s 12 recommended books on Christianity and politics:

  1. Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  2. William T. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church
  3. Chad C. Pecknold, Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History
  4. Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought
  5. Christopher Lasch, The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics
  6. Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy
  7. Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
  8. Tyler Cowen, Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation
  9. Wendell Berry, What Are People For?
  10. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  11. Wilson Carey McWilliams, Redeeming Democracy in America
  12. Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano

(And if you’re on the hunt for book recommendations, don’t forget to check out Ken Myers’s recommended books on faith and reason as well!)

Audio and video from Ken Myers’s visit

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We were thrilled to have Ken Myers with us on July 22 for our annual Church & University Seminar. He spoke on the topic “The Life of the Mind and the Life of the Church.” And we’re happy now to make audio and video from the event available to you. Enjoy!

Ken also provided us with a list of recommended books on faith and reason, so if this is a topic that you’re interested in, be sure you check out that list as well.

 

 

Fall 2014 Reading Groups: Thomas Piketty, James K.A. Smith, Dorothy Sayers, & more

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We’re hosting some exciting reading groups this fall, and we’d love to have you join us.

 

Our reading groups are open to everyone—students, faculty, and community members (the exceptions are #8, #9, and #10). If you’re interesting in participating, you can register here.

1. Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty

  • Facilitator: Jay Coggins (Prof. of Applied Econ, UMN) and Andrew Lucius (PhD candidate in Political Science, UMN)
  • Mondays, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
  • Dates: 9/15, 9/29, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, and 11/24
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been one of the bestselling and most talked-about books published this year, rare for a nearly 600-page book on economics. Piketty uses empirical economic data from three centuries to argue the controversial thesis that rising wealth inequality is actually a structural feature of modern capitalism, not its corruption or aberration. This group will read Piketty’s book both to understand its analysis of modern capitalism and to consider how Christians should think about and relate to modern capitalism and wealth inequality.

  • Genre, subject: Non-fiction, economics
  • Required reading: 100 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 3 (high)
  • Keywords: capitalism, wealth, economics, history, income, inequality

 

2. The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy Sayers

  • Facilitator: Kathryn Wehr, MA, MCS (Adjunct faculty in Theology at North Central)
  • Dates/Time: Thursdays, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Sept. 25 – Oct. 30
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

In the midst of WWII, Dorothy L. Sayers wrote a series of radio plays for the BBC entitled, The Man Born to Be King which both shocked and delighted British listeners because of the way Jesus spoke colloquial English – instead of the King James Version – and was shown to be truly human as well as truly divine. Sayers was convinced that the Gospel told well is the most exciting story ever told. This group will read these twelve radio plays aloud together, considering how Christ is being portrayed alongside the cultural and religious setting of wartime Britain.

  • Genre, subject: Drama, the life of Jesus
  • Required reading: 20-30 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 1 (low)
  • Keywords: drama, radio, Jesus, Gospels, Dorothy L. Sayers, WWII, Inklings

 

3. First Things Reader’s Group

  • David Hoffner, MA and Paul Calvin, MA
  • Dates/Time: Second Wednesday of each month, 8:30 p.m., starting Sept. 10
  • Location: Blue Door, Longfellow (3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis, 55406)

This group meets each month to discuss articles in the newest issue of First Things. If you’re not a First Things subscriber, feel free to stop by the MacLaurinCSF Study Center to read the latest issue in the comfort of our living room. (We’ll even make you a free coffee!)

At the group’s first meeting, they’ll be discussing the August/September issue. Several of the articles from that issue are available for free on the First Things website.

  • Genre, subject: Essay, faith and culture/public life
  • Require reading: Up to ~70 pages/ meeting
  • Difficulty: 2 (moderate)
  • Keywords: First Things, public life, culture, politics

 

4. Toward a Christian Environmental Stewardship

  • Facilitator: Derek Rosenberger (PhD candidate in Entomology, UMN)
  • Dates/Time: TBD

This groups meets in conjunction with the Au Sable Grad Fellows Program, and is open to U of M faculty and students (and non-U of M participants by approval). Please contact us if  you are a graduate student (MA, PhD, or Postdoc) in an area of natural sciences and are interested in learning more about the Au Sable Grad Fellowship.

  • Genre, subject: Essay, environmental stewardship
  • Require reading: ~20 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 2 (moderate)
  • Keywords: environment, stewardship, natural resources, creation care, Au Sable, science

 

5. How (Not) to Be Secular by James K. A. Smith

  • Facilitators: Andrew Garnett and Andy Bramsen (Assistant Prof. of Political Science, Bethel)
  • Dates: Wednesdays 9/10, 9/24, 10/8, 10/22, 11/12, 11/19
  • Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

With this book, philosopher James K. A. Smith provides a field-guide to Charles Taylor’s epoch-making but dense A Secular Age. Smith both explains the arc of Taylor’s narrative of modernity and illustrates it through examples from contemporary literature. This is Taylor applied for the pastors, lay leaders, and anyone else who wants to better understand the place of religion in modern society.

  • Genre, subject: Non-fiction, sociology of religion
  • Required reading: 30 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 2 (moderate)
  • Keywords: secularization, Charles Taylor, religious belief, modernity

 

6. Science and Faith: A New Introduction by John Haught

  • Facilitator: Steve Aldridge, MA, MS
  • Dates: Thursdays, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Sept. 25 – Oct. 30
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

Science and Faith: A New Introduction is a refreshing departure from the often contentious faith and science debates. Haught examines three different models of the faith and science relationship: conflict, contrast, and convergence. We’ll consider how these models work out in different areas of the faith-science dialogue, and examine our own assumptions about the faith and science relationship

  • Genre, subject: Non-fiction, science and religion
  • Required reading: 35 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 2 (moderate)
  • Keywords: science, religion, John Haught, reason, belief

 

7. Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams

  • Facilitator: Dave McEachron, MA
  • Dates: Tuesdays,  9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28
  • Time: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

Richard Adams’s Watership Down has been a much-beloved adventure novel since it was first published in 1972. The narrative follows a group of rabbits who possess their own highly developed language and culture. When their home is threatened, they’re forced to venture out into the world to find a new home and begin a new community. This reading group will consider the book both as a classic adventure tale and—using theologian Stanley Hauerwas’s essay on the book as a guide—as a meditation on politics, morality, and community.

  • Genre, subject: Fiction, fantasy adventure
  • Required reading: 100 pages/meeting
  • Difficulty: 1 (low)
  • Keywords: Richard Adams, community, politics, society, fantasy, adventure, rabbits

 

8. Undergraduate Reading Group: God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis

  • Facilitators: Jordan McGurran and Glory Hall
  • Dates/Time: TBD
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

 

9. Graduate Student Reading Group: The Weight of Glory and Other Essays by C. S. Lewis

  • Facilitators, Dates/Time, and Location all TBD

 

10. Faith and Business Student Reading Group: Why Business Matters to God by Jeff Van Duzer

  • Facilitator: TBD
  • Dates: Fridays, 9/26 – 11/21
  • Time: 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: MacLaurinCSF Study Center

 

Again, if you’re interested in participating in any of these groups, here’s the link to the registration page.

Ken Myers’s Recommended Books on Faith and Reason

Whether or not you were able to attend our Church & University Seminar this summer, you probably know that Ken Myers is one of our most insightful, well-read Christian thinkers.

 

We’ll have audio and visual from the seminar available soon [update: it's available now]. And as a bonus follow-up to the seminar, Ken provided a list of the best books he’s read on the relationship between faith and reason. Without further adieu, here are his recommendations.

 

Ken Myers’s Recommended Books on Faith and Reason
  • Ryan T. Anderson, “Benedict, Islam, Faith, and Reason” (First Things blog)
  • Benedict XVI, A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education and Culture
  • Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?
  • Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate
  • Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do about It (available in the MacLaurinCSF library)
  • Paul Helm, editor, Faith and Reason
  • John Paul II, Fides et Ratio / On the Relationship between Faith and Reason
  • Mark A. Noll, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind (available in the MacLaurinCSF library)
  • Mark A. Noll and James Turner, The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue (available in the MacLaurinCSF library)
  • James V. Schall, S.J., The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking
  • James V. Schall, S.J., The Regensburg Lecture
  • D. C. Schindler, The Catholicty of Reason
  • Antonin Gilbert Sertillanges, O.P., The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (available in the MacLaurinCSF library)
  • James W. Sire, Discipleship of the Mind: Learning to Love God in the Ways We Think (available in the MacLaurinCSF library)