Robert Beckford, academic and broadcaster

02 November 2006


'I've recently been reading God and Power: Counter-apocalyptic journeys by Catherine Keller, who looks at how the notion of Revelation is explored in the Western imagination, and links images in Revelation to contemporary politics. People tend to read Revelation in patches, or ignore it altogether. Keller wants to explore how we might understand British and American military crusades in this context, and how fundamentalists in the US are playing out their understanding of Revelation, along with Bush's reading of NT theology.

In a sense, it is a critique of empires and American imperialism; but it is not an angry book: it is passionate, but well thought-out and accessible. She pulls together 9/11 and the war in Iraq, and weaves in an analysis of Islam and the current state of Christianity. She looks at images of the Beast and the Whore, and the part of Christian imagination that makes us search for these in our political enemies.

As part of my daily devotion, I am reading a chapter (they are short) of Adventures in Missing the Point by Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren, a collection of dialogues on God, the world, and the soul. Has the Church sold out to contemporary culture, it asks.

The two in dialogue are not always on opposite sides, but converge and diverge. They are both sceptical of the Established Church, but in critical solidarity with it. They encourage us to explore and discover. It's a good book for people who want to think outside the box.'

Catherine Keller, God and Power, Fortress Press, £12.99 (£11.70), 0-80063-727-5; Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren, Adventures in Missing the Point, Zondervan, £11.99 (£10.80), 0-310-25384-5

Allison Ward

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