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Bad Religion by Ross Douthat
Friday, July 20, 2012

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics is about how American Christianity came to be what it is. Douthat's argument is that things have been better but have gone bad. And while this isn't new, his synthesis of past events and cultural criticism of current shortcomings make his case fairly compelling; his style like a charismatic young man in ink.


The historical survey is entertaining because Douthat heavily emphasizes characters who, apart from being heroes and villains, are also leaders that shape and reshape the landscape of American Christianity. It begins in the 20th century – far enough to a distant memory, but near enough to have a direct casual relationship in our 21st (More detailed descriptions have been written to death in other reviews). This makes it an excellent place for laymen to explore religious history since its proximity enables the reader to bring a critical mind to the table, and increases the benefits of understanding.

Douthat's opinions are generally reasoned and laid out in most segments but feel forced towards the end. As a non-American, I won't assess further the validity of his cultural criticism. I will say however, that non-American Christians have much to benefit from this book. America is the hotbed of Christendom and its influence of ideas and spirituality is unavoidable. Personally, it made me more adept at categorizing my own religious climate (especially since I recently read Lian Xi's Redeemed by Fire and had a context to contrast America's this world messianism with China's apocalypticism). I also become more aware of what's at stake practically over the liberalization of theological ideas and particularly enjoyed his explanation of the prosperity gospel's appeal.

Although it's mainly a story of the church losing ground, Bad Religion is ultimately undergirded with an actionable hope for a brighter tomorrow here. Douthat doesn't have the solution but by writing this book has become part of it. Hopefully, I'm becoming part of that by reading it – I've grown curious about how I might be contributing to accommodationist causes and I'm asking God 'What really matters?'. So even if history books put you off, there are good reasons to give Ross Douthat's Bad Religion a second chance.



My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This map is my most up-to-date and comprehensive listing of Christian stores in Singapore. Click here to see the map in tabular form instead.

Christian stores in Singapore (Click for full screen)

Tourists from neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and even The Philippines enjoy frequenting Christian bookstores in Singapore because we often stock a wide range of books.

Here are some expert tips to maximize your next visit to Singapore:

  • Book your hotel in the central or east regions of Singapore where Christian bookstores are clustered.

  • If you are looking for a specific title, email the stores in advance or call them when you arrive in Singapore to confirm their availability. Most stores will be willing to reserve a book for a short time.

  • If you are a full-time worker, bring a name card with you. Some stores give discounts to full-time workers and will ask to see your name card as proof.

  • If you are from South East Asia, be prepared to spend or be extra selective about your purchases. Books in Singapore tend to be more pricey than your home country. Visit SKS Bookstore for a wide selection of books.

  • Few Christian bookstores often on Sunday. A few that do are identified in the Map below. I recommend visiting Trumpet Praise. Great service.
Christian stores open on Sunday (Click for full screen)


Closing remarks: For practical reasons, the data on this list of Christian stores is eternally out-of-date. It depends on you to remain relevant. Drop me an email or comment and I'll be more than happy to update it with your latest bit of info. Cheers!



I Will Glory in My Redeemer
Tuesday, May 10, 2011



Rehabilitation
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

O WATCHER OF MY SOUL,

Awaken my conscience, 
that my thoughts, acts, and habits of sin
will be abhorrent to me as darkness is from light.

Teach me to watch and pray, 
 less about my victory over sin, and
 more about causing my Beloved grievous harm;  
Until my love is perfected in Yours.


O KEEPER OF MY SOUL,

Forgive your servant for putting on airs, 
 Your Heart out of feeling, 
 Your Word out of mind, 
 Your Spirit out of hearing,  
for my recurrent weakness testifies of your eternal strength.


Though immorality, sin, and wickedness encroach
 from my waking hour,
grace abounds from the cross of Christ.
  I will praise you for morning mercies, 
  I will mediate on your word,
that I might be a sanctuary for the Lord of my House.   



Abandoned to God
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I have just finished listening to Abandoned to God: The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest. It was wonderful to follow the man as he developed convictions and served the Lord with gusto.

What struck me most was his frequent return to the teaching of "Biblical Psychology", a class that the Lord consistently blessed. Oswald lived and did much more, My Utmost for His Highest is a compilation of sermons and certain proof of that, but "Biblical Psychology" was surely his life's message and great work.

How I long to make a similarly distinctive and blessed contribution. But it is in His time. He is the Lord, not I. Pray with me that He will steel my resolve, strengthen my heart, and bless my words and pen.



Nightly lessons
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Talking with Hannah at ten p.m. teaches me this daily! "And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us" - John 3:23