Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The first review of my book

This review, from Publisher's Weekly, is a nice summary of the book (and the publicist at Baker was really happy it's not negative).

"A sociologist at the University of Connecticut, Wright examines recent survey data on Christian evangelicals to see if they substantiate the often misguided and hyperbolic public perceptions of this faith group. Separating the wheat from the chaff, he explains how some poorly worded, ill-sampled statistics give the wrong impression of evangelicals and why people should avoid giving them credence. Though he often blames the media for gleefully reporting bad news about devout Christians, he doesn’t spare evangelical polemicists such as Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel for their false exaggerations of evangelical shortcomings. His biggest target may be the pollster George Barna, whose surveys on Christianity have generated intense controversy. Wright’s colloquial writing style gives this volume the feel of a folksy college lecture series. The abundant use of graphics adds to the impression the book’s genesis was cribbed from introductory sociology of religion classes. The conclusions drawn here--no surprise--are that the most committed Christians practice what they preach, performing better than the rest of the population on a host of social measures including divorce, domestic violence, sexual misconduct, crime, substance abuse, and everyday honesty. The book would have been more interesting if it were about pirates, though (July)"

(Okay, I added the last sentence)


Andy Rowell said...

Congrats, Brad. It sounds great.


Brad Wright said...

Thanks, Andy.

Glen Davis said...

Excellent news!

And the last sentence is a thing of beauty.

Brad Wright said...

That was a comment made by a high school friend. :-)

Anonymous said...

Re: the pirates. I disagree. Everyone's writing about pirates these days.

Sid said...

I look forward to reading it as well as the follow-up book on the sociological implications of Pirates as role models.

Edward T. Babinski said...


Congrats on the book!

But how do you define "committed" Christian? Snake handling Christians are pretty committed. So are many weird Pentecostal sects. So are Catholic priests and nuns, Buddhists priests and nuns, etc. Some Evangelical televangelists, exorcists, miracle mongers, and health and wealth Gospelers seems a bit "over-committed."

Did you take into account other ways of looking at the data? What other groups besides "committed" Christians score highly in various traits?

Don't certain Eastern European countries score highly in many healthy traits, but score lower in terms of religious "commitment?"

Do you think it's valuable to society that so many committed Evangelicals remain stuck on "creationism?"

Not to mention the fact that many scholars committed to the search for knowledge and at the top of their fields at the most prestigious institutions in the world don't seem to think there' anything to "creationism" and "inerrancy," two Evangelical shibboleths among others.

Maybe Evangelicalism will change on those subjects, some change is already taking place concerning how an Evangelical may interpret Genesis 1 (see the BIOLOGOS website), and how an Evangelical regards such things as homosexuality, even inerrancy.

But if Evangelicalism does change will it still be Evangelicalism? Certain shibboleths tend to define certain groups. Evangelicals hate to admit for instance that the Catholics may have been "right" in accepting "evilution."