Tag, we’re all it!
Religion & Liberty Online

Tag, we’re all it!

The book tag meme has made the rounds of the blogosphere, and here I was sitting, eagerly awaiting someone to tag me. This will have to do. Thanks to Jimmy Akin for tagging “all the bloggers reading this who haven’t already been infected by the meme.”

  • Total number of books I own: In the hundreds. We just moved so many are still in boxes, and I haven’t counted recently. But I tend not to get rid of a book if I paid for it unless I’m sure I’ll never need to reference it again. Although this might make me change that policy.
  • The last book I bought: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics, the new critical translation and edition from the most excellent Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works.
  • The last book I read was: The last book I read and finished (I have many in various stages of progress) was Stanley Hauerwas’ Performing the Faith: Bonhoeffer and the Practice Nonviolence. It was pretty much an odious book, bereft of actual scholarship on Bonhoeffer, making the title very misleading. To get a sense of it, here’s an excerpt from an interview Hauerwas did about the book: Speaking of Bonhoeffer, if he had lived, “people would have been very surprised by his conservative theological position — and by conservative I mean only that he was thoroughly orthodox in his convictions and Barthian all the way down.” I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible to be orthodox and Barthian “all the way down,” but that’s essentially Hauerwas’ read of Bonhoeffer, quickly dismissing or ignoring any counterevidence and reading him as an utter pacifistic disciple of Barth. A review of the book is forthcoming in the next issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality.
  • Five books that mean a lot to me: We’ve mentioned Bonhoeffer enough, so I’ll refrain from mentioning any of his books.
    1. Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow. I first read this in college and it was a revolutionary experience.
    2. Grendel, by John Gardner. A hilariously entertaining and irreverent existentialist romp, from the perspective of Beowulf’s nemesis.
    3. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. These books were an early and formative foray into moral fantasy.
    4. The Book of Concord. My examination of these texts led me from membership in the Lutheran church to become a confessing member of the CRC and adherent to the Reformed confessions.
    5. Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods, by James E. Bradley and Richard A. Muller. An indispensable resource for learning the methods and practice of scholarship, both in general and from an historical theology perspective.

As stated above, everyone is tagged, so we’re all it!

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.