James Davison Hunter's "To Change the World." An Intro to the Digest.


In August or September 2012, as I was working on the sequel to Popologetics (working title for 2d book: The Care and Feeding of the Christian Imagination: Creating Authentic Christian Popular Culture), I realized that I really needed to interact with James Davison Hunter's 2010 release, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. I'd been told that it was a must-read by a respected friend (I mean you, Wade), and it turns out, my friend was absolutely right. The book has broadly to do with these questions: "What is the responsibilty of Christians toward their surrounding culture, and under what conditions can they actually have a positive influence on culture?"

As I began reading it, I was impressed by the arguments, the amount of information he marshalled for his arguments, and the whole flow of the book. And the more I read, the more I realized that I needed to take notes. I also realized that there were a great many Christians who would be interested in what Hunter said. So I tried (and am trying) an experiment: I began tweeting a digest to see if others would find the information helpful. Turns out they did. In fact, a couple asked me to post it on my website rather than let it melt away in the info-streams of the Twitterverse. So here it is.

Please be aware that this is almost wholly a digest of Hunter's work. There will be some direct quotes, but no copyright infringement is intended. And I will certainly take it down if I get some legal notice saying that this infringes on Hunter's or the publisher's rights. Further, since this is a digest, it isn't meant to stand alone. If you don't have this book and you're interested in the issues raised by the book, for heaven's sake, go out and buy it. This digest is meant to whet your appetite for what can only be fully expressed there.

The first two chapters I did not tweet, but I did do a short digest of them, so that the whole book could be presented as a whole. I'll add to it until its done. Without further ado... James Davison Hunter's To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World.