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Volume 137

Guests on Volume 137
Gilbert Meilaender, on how reflection on the dynamics of adoption brings into focus the theological challenge of relating nature and history (and nature and grace);
James L. Nolan, on the visits of Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb to the United States and their observations about the spirit of American culture;
Joel Salatin, on bridging the gap between stewarding Creation and Sunday morning worship;
Michael Di Fuccia, on Owen Barfield’s understanding of the imagination and how it compares with that of C. S. Lewis;
Robin Leaver, on the historical and religious context in which Martin Luther promoted the recovery of vernacular music in worship;
Michael Marissen, on how J. S. Bach’s music conveys theological meaning.

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Bach & God explores the religious character of Bach's vocal and instrumental music in seven interrelated essays. Noted musicologist Michael Marissen offers wide-ranging interpretive insights from careful biblical and theological scrutiny of the librettos. Yet he also shows how Bach's pitches, rhythms, and tone colors can make contributions to a work's plausible meanings that go beyond setting texts in an aesthetically satisfying manner. In some of Bach's vocal repertory, the music puts a "spin" on the words in a way that turns out to be explainable as orthodox Lutheran in its orientation. In a few of Bach's vocal works, his otherwise puzzlingly fierce musical settings serve to underscore now unrecognized or unacknowledged verbal polemics, most unsettlingly so in the case of his church cantatas that express contempt for Jews and Judaism. Finally, even Bach's secular instrumental music, particularly the late collections of "abstract" learned counterpoint, can powerfully project certain elements of traditional Lutheran theology. Bach's music is inexhaustible, and Bach & God suggests that through close contextual study there is always more to discover and learn.

https://www.amazon.com/Bach-God-Michael-Marissen/dp/0190606959/
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In this book Michael Di Fuccia examines the theological import of Owen Barfield's poetic philosophy. He argues that philosophies of immanence fail to account for creativity, as is evident in the false shuttling between modernity's active construal and postmodernity's passive construal of subjectivity. In both extremes subjectivity actually dissolves, divesting one of any creative integrity. Di Fuccia shows how in Barfield's scheme the creative subject appears instead to inhabit a middle or medial realm, which upholds one's creative integrity. It is in this way that Barfield's poetic philosophy gestures toward a theological vision of poiesis proper, wherein creativity is envisaged as neither purely passive nor purely active, but middle. Creativity, thus, is not immanent but mediated, a participation in being's primordial poiesis.

https://www.amazon.com/Owen-Barfield-Philosophy-Theology-Veritas/dp/1498238726/
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Many scholars think that congregational singing was not established in Lutheran worship until well after the start of the Reformation. In this book Robin A. Leaver calls that view into question, presenting new research to confirm the earlier view that congregational singing was both the intention and the practice right from the beginning of the Wittenberg reforms in worship.

Leaver's study focuses on the Wittenberg hymnal of 1526, which until now has received little scholarly attention. This hymnal, Leaver argues, shows how the Lutheran Reformation was to a large degree defined, expressed, promoted, and taken to heart through early Lutheran hymns. Examining what has been forgotten or neglected about the origins of congregational hymnody under Martin Luther's leadership, this study of worship, music, and liturgy is a significant contribution to Reformation scholarship.

https://www.amazon.com/Whole-Church-Sings-Congregational-Wittenberg/dp/0802873758/
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Robin Leaver, on the historical and religious context in which Martin Luther promoted the recovery of vernacular music in worship...

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Michael Marissen, on how J. S. Bach’s music conveys theological meaning...

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Michael Di Fuccia, on Owen Barfield’s understanding of the imagination and how it compares with that of C. S. Lewis...

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Joel Salatin, on bridging the gap between stewarding Creation and Sunday morning worship...

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James L. Nolan, on the visits of Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb to the United States and their observations about the spirit of American culture...

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Salatin shows us the long overlooked ethics and instructions in the Bible for how to eat, how to shop, how to think about how we farm and feed the world. Through scripture and Biblical stories, he shows us why it's more vital than ever to look to the good book rather than corporate America when feeding the country and your family.

Salatin makes a compelling case for Christian stewardship of the earth and how it relates to every action we take regarding our food. He also opens our eyes to a common misconception many Christians may have about environmentalism: it's not a bad thing, and definitely not just the province of secular liberals; it's really a very good thing, part of heeding God's Word.

With warmth and with humor, but with no less piercing criticism of the industrial food complex, Salatin brings readers on a fascinating journey of farming, food and faith. Readers will not say grace over their plates the same way ever again.

From Christian libertarian farmer Joel Salatin, a clarion call to readers to honor the animals and the land, and produce food based on spiritual principles.
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