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Perspectives on Civility: Resources

Written resources for adult education

Books that can be used "off the shelf" with questions or similar discussion starters built in. These would be ideal for use in adult education classes, small group study, etc.

Black, Amy E. "Honoring God in Red or Blue: Approaching Politics with Humility, Grace, and Reason." 2012, Moody. 210 pages.
An even-handed explanation of the key parts of the American governmental and political party systems by an evangelical political scientist familiar with the Reformed tradition. Helpful for the average citizen to think through the purposes of government and the expectations one should have for political leaders. Each chapter ends with two "reflection" questions and one "response" question.
Drew, Charles D. "Body Broken: Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew?" 2012, New Growth Press. 175 pages.
Written by a Presbyterian pastor of politically active and engaged congregations, this book focuses on establishing civil dialogue among believers who disagree about political goals and strategies. Each chapter ends with a handful of question particularly helpful for church-based discussions. Appendices include a helpful 11-point document on Christian citizenship developed by one of the congregations the pastor served.
Herron, Roy. "God and Politics: How Can A Christian Be in Politics?" 2005, Tyndale. 175 pages.
Herron has been both a pastor and a Tennessee state legislator. This pocket-sized book is an easy and enjoyable read packed with illustrative stories. It is a very good introduction to the practical issues and dilemmas faced by public officials. At the same time, it offers principles for a Christian view of politics and political engagement.
Monsma, Steve. "Healing for a Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy." 2008, Crossway. 220 pages.
Written in a clear Reformed perspective by a retired professor, elected office-holder, and government administrator, this helpful book starts with outlining four biblical principles and moves to applying it in seven different policy realms. An accompanying 10-minute per chapter DVD can be purchased as a supplement to aid explanation and discussion.
Sherratt, Tomothy R., and Ronald P. Mahurin. "Saints as Citizens: A Guide to Public Responsibilities for Christians." 1995, Baker. 120 pages.
This slim volume explains in clear terms a Kuyperian version of the Reformed approach to politics. It makes a strong and careful argument in favor of thoughtful Christian engagement. It advocates a Christian Democrat movement in the United States modeled on similar small movements in a few European nations. Somewhat dated, but a helpful guide for applying Christian principle to political practice.
Skillen, James W. "A Covenant to Keep: Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice." 2000, CRCNA/CPJ. 220 pages.
The title of this book well describes its content. This well-organized explication of five aspects of Biblical justice, each with 15 meditations, is suitable for both individual and group study. Written while he was director of the Center for Public Justice, Skillen, well-known in Reformed Christian circles, raises political issues and themes in the form of spiritual meditations.
True, David. "Being Reformed: The Church and Politics, Participant's Book." 2012. Congregational Ministries Publishing (PCUSA), 44 pages.
A thorough introduction to the Reformed tradition's view of politics and political action from a reasonably balanced perspective. Targeted to churches and parishioners seeking to be more informed in carrying out their civic duties. Leader's guide also available.

Additional readings less immediately accessible. Any or all of the following books could be used for adult education classes, or for additional reading by leaders interested in thinking more deeply about faith and politics.

Bandow, Doug. "Beyond Good Intentions: A Biblical View of Politics." 1988, Crossway. 270 pages.
Bandow, a libertarian, shows in this book how someone from that perspective integrates Christian faith and concerns with political action.
Budziszewski, J. "Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action." 2006, Baker Academic. 220 pages.
A very readable comparison of four prominent evangelical voices on politics-Carl F. H. Henry, Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer, and John Howard Yoder.
Gerson, Michael and Peter Wehner. "City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era." 2010, Moody. 140 pages.
A brief and readable review of the key purposes of government and how Christians can influence public policy toward these ends.
Kemeny, Paul C. "Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views." 2007, IVP. 250 pages.
A friendly back-and-forth among Catholic, separationist, principled pluralist, Anabaptist, and classic social justice advocates and critics.
Koysis, David T. "Political Visions and Illusions: A Survey & Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies." 2003, IVP. 280 pages.
A deep look at a variety of political ideologies and values-liberalism, conservatism, nationalism, democracy, and socialism-from a Reformed perspective.
Marshall, Paul. "God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics." 2002, Rowman and Littlefield.
A biblically and theologically informed analysis of the ends and purposes of government from a clear Reformed perspective.

 

Upcoming Event

October 4, 2012; 4 p.m.
Panel discussion with group members in the Commons Lecture Hall. Refreshments and lively discussion provided. Contact sbuist@calvin.edu for more information.
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Civility