Item description for The Gospel according to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea (Gospel According To) by David Dark...
Overview Using icons from music, literature, film, and politics, Dark attempts to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this day and age. The end result of this conversation, Dark hopes, will be a better understanding that "there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong," the reality of the kingdom of God. (Christian Religion)
Using icons from music, literature, film, and politics, David Dark hopes to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this day and age. The end result of this conversation, Dark hopes, will be a better understanding that "there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong," the reality of the kingdom of God.
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Gospel according to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea (Gospel According To) by David Dark has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 03/21/2005 page 12
Ingram Advance - 03/01/2005 page 34
Publishers Weekly - 01/24/2005 page 239
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.54" Width: 5.55" Height: 0.45" Weight: 0.54 lbs.
Release Date Jun 16, 2005
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
Series Gospel According To
ISBN 0664227694 ISBN13 9780664227692
Availability 0 units.
More About David Dark
David Dark has published articles and reviews in Prism magazine and Books & Culture. He teaches English at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville.
David Dark currently resides in Nashville, in the state of Tennessee. David Dark was born in 1969.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel according to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea?
Gospel According to America Mar 15, 2006
This book is a difficult read, with too many obscure references to Southern United States literature and music that many folks are not familiar with.
Mr. Dark took a really interesting topic, the cultural divide as it relates to the arts, and ends up with a convoluted book. This book was to be the basis for a church class, but was soon discarded. I give the book one star. This is more than generous.
Just another opion from the Waffle House Oct 27, 2005
David Dark is a teacher at Christ Presbyterian Academy and author of "The Gospel According to America"--a critique of Christian-American culture and vision of how this subculture should positively influence both Christianity and the United States.
The best aspect of this book is Dark's social critique. He correctly shows the reader that he is unknowingly caught in a vitriolic American subculture: people are increasingly gathering into likeminded groups and develop an "Us versus Them" mentality. Whether the "Thems" are people of different political bents, races, denominations, or what-have-you, we are guilty of erecting and maintaining barriers in both nation and chruch.
To counter this trend, Dark recalls us to our Biblical mandate to tear down barriers, live our Christian calling (one of love and understanding) in all areas--don't compartmentalize the faith. Through this, we gain a fuller understanding of the truth (nobody has a corner on it(ix, 60).
While Dark's social critique is accurate and while we "end up at the same place" in the end, I find that Dark and I actually have very little in common as far as foundational theology goes. Dark suggests that the truth (sometimes called the Gospel by Dark) is subjective and that everybody has some of it; I believe the truth is objective and revealed to us through Scripture. Dark treats Jesus as the ultimate role-model for radical barrier breaking and understanding; I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died to take away our sins, He is the objective Truth (as well as the Way and the Life).
Furthermore, Dark appears to believe that righteousness before God is so connected to righteousness in the world, that they cannot be seperated. I believe that because of my righteousness before God through faith in Christ, I cannot help but joyously go into the world, seek to understand others, break down barriers, and give as many people the objective truth of Christ as I can (as opposed to gleaning truth from them).
A final note in this long review: Dark's writing style is a unique one. He supports his arguments almost exclusively with anecdotal evidence ("authorial authority") from pop culture--movies, novels, song lyrics, artists, etc. While it does make the book unique, it doesn't seem to me to be the best way to present a "radical new vision for the church." His prose is similarly filled with Biblical and pop culture allusions, purposefully vague phrases and stinging statements. It took this reader quite a while to "get a rhythm going."
In sum Dark is refreshingly accurate when he examines modern American culture, but his theology is far too off-base to be helpful to this reader. Recommended for those who are too entrenched in their "Us versus Them" position, but not recommended for many other Waffle House folks.
Much needed Mar 25, 2005
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.