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The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America [Paperback]

By Mark Lewis Taylor (Author)
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Item description for The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America by Mark Lewis Taylor...

In The Executed God, theologian Mark Taylor dares to address the meaning of Jesus' execution for an American culture that now maintains more than 3,600 U.S. residents on the death rows of its burgeoning prisons. Taylor shows that the death penalty is only one aspect of "lockdown America," and The Executed God suggests how Christians can resist and transform this whole system, which incarcerates two million people (70 percent of them people of color) and commits frequent violations of fairness in process and results.

Publishers Description
Winner, Best General Interest Book for 2001, Association of Theological Booksellers Between 1980 and 2000, the number of prisoners in the U.S. has tripled to over 2 million people, 70 percent of them people of color. Indeed, by 2000, 3,600 people were on America's death rows. This growth industry currently employs 523,000 people. Among abuses that Mark Taylor notes in this "theater of terror" are capital punishment, inordinate sentencing, violations of fairness in both process and results, racism in the justice system and prisons, prison rape and other terrorizing techniques, and paramilitary policing practices. With twenty-five years of involvement with prison reform, Taylor passionately describes and explains the excesses and injustices in our corrections system and capital punishment to foster compassionate and effective Christian action. His book convincingly relates the life-engendering power of God - demonstrated in Jesus' cross and resurrection - to the potential transformation of the systems of death and imprisonment.

From Publishers Weekly
As more Christians begin taking stands on the justice system (see review of Charles Colson's Justice That Restores, this issue), some are critiquing it as an "injustice" system. In The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, Princeton Theological Seminary professor Mark Lewis Taylor attacks U.S. prisons as racist and unjust. Taylor discusses violations such as prison rape, excessively long sentences and capital punishment, employing the example of Jesus as a means of transforming an evil system. "It is time to confess forthrightly that in Jesus of Nazareth, God suffered not just death but execution... supported by religious officials," he notes. Taylor's voice is strident and uncompromising, making this a moving if controversial read. ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America by Mark Lewis Taylor has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Choice - 01/01/2002 page 898
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/09/2001 page 72
  • Library Journal - 05/01/2001 page 94
  • Christian Century - 06/27/2001 page 24

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 3, 2003
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Edition  New  
ISBN  0800632834  
ISBN13  9780800632830  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mark Lewis Taylor

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mark Lewis Taylor is the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. Among his many publications is The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (Fortress Press). He is also editor of Paul Tillich: Theologian of the Boundaries and coeditor of Reconstructing Christian Theology, both from Fortress Press. He is coordinator of Academics for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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1Books > Subjects > Law > Criminal Law > Criminal Procedure
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Criminology
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Penology
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology
6Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > Criminal Law > Criminal Procedure
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant

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Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America?

including Americans practicing Catholicism, as this book falls right in line with the strong pro-life statements by our American Catholic Bishops Conference, including Culture of Life & the Penalty of Death, as well as the resounding closing passages of Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramento de La Caridad: Sacramentum Caritatis.

The most powerful passages for me and the most universal explore the life and death, and Resurrection, the real mission and message, and meaning, of Our Lord Jesus Christ which begins in Part Two after page 70. If you only have short time for some lectio divina, contemplate these pages, and their academic underpinnings in the references. You will find as did I that nothing is more important than meditating fully the meaning of these pages, which cannot be summariezd here but bear to us the full and true, and pure, Gospel.

Remember as we do here that all of the founders of our Church: Jesus Christ himself, Saint Peter, the Rock upon which we stand and pray, Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and even Saint John the Baptist, the first of the Christian prophets (overlooking Simeon and the Virgin Mother herself), each were imprinsoned, tortured and grotesquely executed in agony, by the Empire.

As we pray over the main concern of this excellent and comprehensive theological work, and all the myriad issues whic flow from it, we must agian ask: What did Jesus in fact do? What did Jesus say?

The presentation of the life of Our Lord presented by this scholarly methodology stands in complementary contrast with the recent Jesús De Nazaret, and serves as a powerful call to praxis for all of us who would leave what we have to follow Jesus.

Please purchase this book, more urgent even now than six or seven years ago as the numbers grow even more pressing, and our call to action stronger. As the Holy Father writes, our participation in the Eucharist compels us to alter these unholy structures of oppression.

Excellent gift for any thinking Christian, including Catholic. A book to read and to reread, and to put into practice. Faith without deeds is hollow, wrote Saint James the Great.

Also see the excellent treatise by Catholic writer Antoinette Bosco who examines this essential issue in the light of Catholic moral theology, ethics of life and Christian compassion and commandments, and as a mother who lost beloved chidlren to violent murder, in her wonderful and holy work Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty. SHe has written so much so well, including Growing in Faith When a Catholic Marriage Fails and the excellent biography published by Ignatius Press Mother Benedict: Foundress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis. More worthwhile reading for the searching Cristian.
God Against Empire  Sep 23, 2004
If you want a simple summary of the book, there it is. God is against all forms of manipulative, power-hungry empire, especially what Taylor terms "lockdown America." According to the book, police brutatliy, prison life, and the death penalty are all "theatrics of terror" designed to increase America's imperial power. We are meant to be terrorized by our own government. Taylor proposes a way of counterterror, consisting of an adversarial politics, dramatic action, and peoples' movements. Basically, it is civil disobedience with drama.
Alright, lets get to the good things. There are three qualities that bring this book to the 3 star range. Frist, the problem he has identified is real. Although the language is harsh (perhaps too harsh) the reality just may be worse. Second, Taylor's understanding of a political Jesus is right on. Third, Christians do need to do something.
Now, the problem with this book is it proposes the wrong solution. His take on civil disobedience has been done. It is part of the democratic culture, although a part that most people wish would go away. Second, the "executed God" ends up being the god of the lowest common denomenator of all religious people. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will not be reduced to lowest common denomenator. What is needed to fight injustice is a church, which Taylor abandons. The church must not only provide dramatic action, it must provide an alternative drama to the one that democratic capitalism assums. Perhaps the most radical action we can do is to gather around the Lord's Table together, all being equal. That is a radical form of justice. When we grasp the true meaning of God's justice and live it in the church, America and the world will have no choice but to sit up and take notice. The church needs to be a justice filled alternative culture.
The Cross and Prison Reform  Jan 12, 2004
According to Mark Lewis Taylor, the "executed God," the God who suffered not just death but execution, is, "a force of life that is greater than all imperial powers and thus can foment the resistance and hope that all suffering peoples need." Comparing contemporary America to imperial Rome, Lewis, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, argues passionately against a penal system he regards as monstrously punitive, inherently unjust, and deeply racist. Using both statistical evidence and experiences drawn from a quarter century's involvement in prison reform, Taylor describes the American prison system as a "theater of terror" that relies on the institutionalization of prison rape, excessive sentences, and executions to maintain a prison population that has tripled since 1980 to two million.

Proposing a radical Christian response to this scandal as a "theatrics of counterterror," Taylor places the Way of the Cross at its heart. To redress the agony of our prisons, he outlines a solution based in adversarial politics, dramatic action, and the building of people's movements. A God entangled in crucifixion is, in Taylor's scheme, "an antidote to pieties and theologies that would seek their God above the earth and its suffering peoples." The executed God takes believers on a journey into the pain and suffering of a broken world and proffers the power to persist and transform. The Way of the Cross finds God in the marginalized, abandoned, and despised, the people who know life through struggle.

The Executed God is an important book grappling with an important topic. Taylor himself, however, diminishes his book's effectiveness. His tone is shrill and his language polemical, perhaps too polemical for those he seeks to persuade. His arguments, especially in Part Two, often rely on emotive generalities and could be more tightly structured and detailed. References to "gulag America," the "theatrics of terror," "big house nation," "lockdown America," and the like seem pugnacious rather than passionate after reading them a few times. And his use of the plight of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted Philadelphia police killer and cause celebre, as the centerpiece of an argument against injustice in America is bound to be controversial and alienate otherwise sympathetic readers.

An important and unique voice to be heard  Dec 24, 2002
Mark Taylor explores the responsibility of Christians to follow Jesus Christ's entire "way of the cross" by engaging in dramatic actions and movements to counter the oppressive, biased imperial systems in our world. This book challenged me to think differently about my faith, and to be willing to truly engage it publicly. The book is readable and thought-provoking; I would suggest it to any who seek a more just world.

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