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God Is Not: Religious, Nice, One of Us, an American, a Capitalist
Edited by D. Brent Laytham

1587431017 Retail Price: $15.99
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Format: Paperback, 152pp.
ISBN: 1587431017
Publisher: Brazos Press
Pub. Date: July 2004

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God Is Not . . . exposes distortions about God that afflict the church's vision. It takes on culturally formed misconceptions about who God is by boldly stating who God is not.

  • Rodney Clapp critiques pop culture's anthem to a slobby, ineffective God who is supposed to be just "one of us."
  • D. Stephen Long questions our therapy-fed longing for a useful, nonthreatening deity and argues that God is not "nice." 
  • Do you ever wonder how exactly we are one nation "under God"? So does Michael Baxter, as he investigates the myth of Christian America.
  • Michael Budde suggests that God is not a capitalist. Critiquing the "Christianity incorporated" and "Jesus CEO" mind-set, he explains how the logic of the market is not compatible with the extravagantly openhanded economy of Christianity. 
  • Is God religious? William T. Cavanaugh discusses what it means to be "behavers" as well as believers.

If God is not an American or a capitalist or "religious," then who is God? D. Brent Laytham concludes with a stirring essay on who God is, calling the church to visibly demonstrate where its primary allegiance truly lies. Audacious without being rude, God Is Not . . . is a lively, necessary, and intelligently reverent read.


Move over, Joan Osborne. In this collection’s first essay, Rodney Clapp brilliantly refutes the singer’s notion that God is "one of us" and "just a stranger on the bus," passively along for the ride. Rather than a rant against popular depictions of God, this essay draws upon two key biblical events (the construction of the golden calf and Jesus’s humble entry into Jerusalem on a donkey) to suggest that sometimes, the fickle masses can crowd God out and create gods in their own image. Other essays in the book also iconoclastically smash popular notions of who God is: God is not a red-blooded American, not a capitalist who urges churches to behave like for-profit corporations and ministers to be "spiritreneurs," not a relativist and, ultimately, not a nice, benign, wholly ineffectual Santa Claus. The authors (all men-and wouldn’t it have been nice to include a woman’s essay on how God is not a man?) draw from the highbrow (theologians and church historians) and the lowbrow ("The Simpsons," Laurie Beth Jones, "The Jerry Springer Show") to demonstrate more clearly what God is by highlighting what God is not.
—Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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About the Author

D. Brent Laytham is assistant professor of theology at North Park Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke University Divinity School. An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Laytham takes special interest in bringing pastors and scholars together to address theological and ecclesiological issues.

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