Reading for the Faithful

New calendars adorn office desks and kitchen walls. Daily organizers with pages still fresh, crisp, and clean fill breast pockets, backpacks, and briefcases. Anticipating this newness, we have ritualized the reminiscence of what has passed, the transition of one year to another. Before 1996 is relegated to the history books, a handful of books are worth noting.


Cease Fire: Searching for Sanity in America's Culture Wars. By Tom Sine. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Evangelical writer and teacher Tom Sine confronts ideologies Left and Right...and the dangers of people of faith too closely identifying with any particular political doctrine. Still, Sine does not make the mistake of social withdrawal. Instead he constructs options for political activity that can be Christocentric as well as processes for Christians of differing perspectives to model prophetic dialogue for society at large.

Sine cautions us that culture wars precede shooting wars. Fearing that the growth of dueling monologues—pro-choice vs. pro-life; flag burning vs. freedom of expression—presages a coming disaster, he argues that Christians must be a force for tolerance and de-escalation (while still clarity), not brutal participants in the conflict.

The primary contribution of Cease Fire may well be its documentation of the interactivity between the Christian Right and secular right-wing groups. (It shows how the Christian Left is beholden to secular forces as well, but these are, frankly, less consequential.) With the Christian Right, the reader can begin to see what adherents perceive to be at stake, and the depth of conviction. But Sine doesn't simply leave the reader better informed; he also points to avenues for dialogue and reconciliation.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 1997
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