On History & Economics, a Book Review: “Popes & Bankers”by Jack Cashill


cashillI have a new article up on Patrol Magazine (yeah, I know; it’s the first in a long while).  Patrol recently changed up the philosophy and design of the site, making it much more of a blog-type format, as well as trying to focus more on consistently substantive and “Christianly” reflections on the world today.  In the spirit of that, today was posted I review I wrote for Thomas Nelson Publishers on Jack Cashill‘s newest book, Popes & Bankers.  Some of you may remember that while I was in the middle of reading the book, I wrote for Patrol about Cashill, and how I thought he was a propagandist, revisionist historian, and (frankly) crazy.  I also mused about how it was that Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing house came to publish this particular book.  This caused a response from someone involved in the nonfiction acquisitions process at Thomas Nelson that was involved in getting Popes & Bankers published.  I get what he was saying at the time, but even now, after having finished the book, I stand by what I said.  You can read the exchange below after the link and the break.  Enjoy the review and leave your comments!

Review: “Popes & Bankers,” By Jack Cashill | Patrol Magazine

Here was the exchange:
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REVIEW: “Outlive Your Life” by Max Lucado


Max Lucado-Outlive Your Life

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference
by Max Lucado
Thomas Nelson, 2010
My Rating: 3/5
Purchase at Amazon

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“Social Justice” is all the rage right now. The swaths of American twentysomethings serious about their faith who have found Evangelicalism to have a heart inflamed for the wrong things, a head stuck in the wrong places, and absolutely no legs at all have tried to wrestle with and take seriously the call for God’s people to be not simply his “ambassadors” or “proclaimers”, but rather his very Hands, Feet, and Presence. Movements like Shane Claibourne’s The Simple Way here in Philadelphia and New Monasticism have shaken many from the fog of an (ultimately inadequate) purely intellectual faith into a faith that is firmly rooted in life. As Calvin put it, “For we cannot with propriety say, there is any knowledge of God, where there is no religion or piety.” In other words, the truest knowledge of God and His Gospel is found in its practice just as much (if not more) than in its content.
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“Jack Cashill Writes a Good Book, But He’s Insane.” -Patrol Mag


I have an original blog post I’m working on for tomorrow, but for now, I’ll promote my most recent article on Patrol Magazine.  It’s about a book I’m currently reviewing for Thomas Nelson publishers (full disclosure: they sent me the book for free).  It’s about the struggle I’m having after finding out that this otherwise enjoyable book is written by an author who is pretty crazy.  How?  Well, just read on.  Patrol even made it a cover story today, so I’ve provided the cover story picture as your link to the article.  Enjoy.  And leave comments!

cashill
You can read all my articles for Patrol right here.

Max Lucado’s “Fearless” and my heart (a review preview)


I’m a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers.  A few weeks ago I received a pre-publication copy of Max Lucado‘s upcoming book “Fearless“.  I hate so much about Christian “culture”, especially its commercialism, cheesy cliches, seemingly naive treatment of the fallenness of the world, and an inability to know and apply a deep understanding of the Gospel.  For years, admittedly, Lucado has stood in my mind as a representative of much of this.  I have, with little engagement with his material (other than his children’s books), tagged him as such a man; and in a certain way, he is the cheesy, cliche-ridden, mass appealing writer I have assumed (as is evidenced by this official site for the book), and the official trailer found below:

Let’s just say it’s been a big change going from Francis Turretin, John Calvin, and Herman Bavinck to Max Lucado in a matter of months.  Anyone that knows me knows that it has been a long journey through many frustrations with mainline evangelical culture to teach me how to love the Bride of Christ.  And I’m still learning.  I have belittled her, talked her down, mocked her, and ridiculed her in the most shameful of ways.

And this book has been a healing process for me.  Not giving away too much of my upcoming review when the book’s released, I just want to say that this book is amazing.  Save for the first few chapters, I have been shown that even amidst bad jokes, inadequate metaphors, “simple” writing, and an over-commercialized release (including shirts, calendars, mugs, study guides, DVDs, children’s books, teaching curricula), there can be poetry, depth, a real exploration of the human condition, and beautiful articulations and applications of the deepest, most precious truths of the Gospel.  Lucado has shocked me.  And taught me.  And helped me.  And stirred me for this God, His Gospel, and all that it supplies us.  Though I may be going against the fine print in my publisher’s agreement in doing so, I want to share with you all my favorite few paragraphs from the book so far:

A calmer death would have sufficed.  A single drop of blood could have redeemed humankind.  Shed his blood, silence his breath, still his pulse, but be quick about it.  Plunge a sword into his heart.  Take a dagger to his neck.  Did the atonement for sin demand six hours of violence?

No, but his triumph over sadism did.  Jesus once and for all displayed his authority over savagery.  Evil may have her moments, but they will be brief.  Satan unleashed his meanest demons on God’s Son.  He tortured every nerve ending and inflicted every misery.  Yet the master of death could not destroy the Lord of life.  Heaven’s best took hell’s worst and turned it into hope.

I pray God spares you such evil.  May he grant [you] long life and peaceful passage . . .. But if he doesn’t, if you “have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege if suffering for him” (Phil. 1:29 NLT), remember, God wastes no pain.

Amazing.  Look for my review September 8.  In the meantime, you can order the book here, and read some of the ebook here.