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The Gospel according to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea Paperback – February 19, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: The Gospel according to...
  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; First Paperback Edition edition (February 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664227694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664227692
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers of Dark's book Everyday Apocalypse know that this high school English teacher is a passionate, articulate, absurdly well-read interpreter of popular culture. But even the forewarned may be astonished by this latest effort. Dark's skill at probing the spiritual resonances of American culture - in forms high and low, from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville to Bob Dylan and David Lynch - is matched by his uncanny ability to select telling moments from America's common story. Whether it's Elvis taking a shotgun to his television sets, Dylan confessing a sense of common humanity with Lee Harvey Oswald or George Washington treating British prisoners of war with unprecedented civility, Dark excavates a series of witnesses who speak prophetically to what he sees as our media-saturated overconfidence in our own righteousness. Moreover, he offers a convincing and unsettling account of the gospel itself - the "Jewish Christian" story of forgiveness and human dignity that, Dark argues, has animated America's ideals even as it has continually critiqued America's practices. Dark's Southern heritage is evident in his literary allusions (the subtitle echoes Flannery O'Connor) and in his affection for egalitarian conversation. Nearly every page has something to make readers pause, laugh, think or pray; perhaps most amazing is Dark's skill at burying layers of meaning for the reader to discover. It's hard to imagine a better tonic for our age than this unblinkingly honest exercise in faithful patriotism. (Mar.)
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About the Author

David Dark is a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and is the author of Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons and The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. He has also written for Books and Culture and Christianity Today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By James Stewart on March 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
The level of debate about faith, politics and cultural life in the United States (and beyond) is woefully lacking. Too often, being a person of faith means either hiding in a ghetto, or compartmentalising critical engagement and faithful living. David Dark, who laid out his credentials in Everyday Apocalypse, offers this tour de force looking at the intersection of faithful life and rich cultural engagement.

Living faithfully means engaging with all that is around us, lifting up that which is worthwhile and working to transform that which is dehumanising. Dark looks for that which is distinctive about the american experience and casts a critical yet loving look at that broad cross-section. Scattered with analogy, reflection and a deep appreciation of music, film and literature, this is the sort of engagement that should be making headlines and has the power to change lives.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kukla on October 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have found this book an excellent read. Dark begins a conversation about conversation. In a day when we pay others to think for us Dark asks the questions we ought to ask every day of all the varying authorities that shape the cultural, social and political landscape of our county. I've given this book to numerous people in lots of settings and told them its a must read.

As a pastor in a church that recognizes our struggle to understand the need for corporate confession on a nation-state and church institutional level I have been using this as a Sunday school curriculum that proved very fruitful and sparked an engaging and faithful conversation.

While the vast scope of Dark's material from Moby Dick and the Scarlet Letter to Radiohead, folk music and Bob Dylan will at times seem overwhelming - there is always a good bit of wisdom and more questions offered for stimulating a healthy communal awareness.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of the book at a Conference in the Spring, but was too engulfed in watching the current election unfold to have much time for reading. But reading it after the election was even more riveting: David wrote in 2005 of the tragedy that became our election in 2012--a vicious battle that has split our country in two.
David challenges the parties' visions of the "haves" vs the "have-nots" and what we should do about the inequities that America has produced. He is unmercifully critical of the inability of God-fearing people to settle down and have a reasonable discourse without name-calling and self-proclamation that they are the only ones protecting the country from evil. Throwing no undeserved punches at either the Democrats or Republicans, David calls for a re-look at how America views itself through history and into the crystal ball of its future. With the looming impasse of the "fiscal cliff", every politician should take a deep breath and read David's book--perhaps they will be able to sit down and see America through new eyes; the eyes of their enemy and foe whether that be a different political party or a foreign country.
David asks us to expand our reach as Americans spreading the Gospel to the world instead of using it to condemn the world and each other.
Highly recommended reading for the holiday!
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More About the Author

David Dark is the critically acclaimed author of Everyday Apocalypse and The Gospel According to America and is an educator who is currently pursuing his PhD in Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University. He has had articles published in Paste, Oxford American, Books and Culture, Christian Century, among others. A frequent speaker, Dark has also appeared on C-SPAN's Book-TV and in an award-winning documentary, Marketing the Message. He lives with his singer-songwriter wife, Sarah Masen, and their three children in Nashville.

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