Summer Reading Project


Every year we do a summer reading project. This is a chance for us to continue to grow as a community even though we will be separated by many miles. We’ll distribute a reading schedule and set up some optional Google Hangouts online.

Our book this summer is To Change The World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter, a Christian who is a sociologist at UVA. This is a thoughtful book about Christianity, politics, and culture.

From the publisher’s summary: “The call to make the world a better place is inherent in the Christian belief and practice. But why have efforts to change the world by Christians so often failed or gone tragically awry? And how might Christians in the 21st century live in ways that have integrity with their traditions and are more truly transformative?”

Two helpful reviews are at Books and Culture and 9Marks.

Special bonus – for the first time ever, our summer reading project is a book that is available online via the Stanford Library.

How To Participate

If you’re interested, fill out the form and read along with us! Incoming students as well as alumni are welcome to read along with us. Filling out the form means that we’ll add you to the discussions that we have about the book, but if you prefer to read on your own in total stealth mode, go for it.

Here’s the reading schedule.

Commencement is Sunday, June 18 – summer begins. 

 Friday, June 23 Essay I Christianity and World-Changing
Chapter One Christian Faith and the Task of World-Changing (5 pages)
Chapter Two Culture: The Common View (15 pages)
 Friday, June 30 Chapter Three The Failure of the Common View (16 pages)
Chapter Four An Alternative View of Culture and Cultural Change in Eleven Propositions (16 pages)
 Friday, July 7 Chapter Five Evidence in History (35 pages)
 Friday, July 14 Chapter Six The Cultural Economy of American Christianity (14 pages)
Chapter Seven For and Against the Mandate of Creation (4 pages)
 Friday, July 21 Essay II Rethinking Power
Chapter One The Problem of Power (2 pages)
Chapter Two Power and Politics in American Culture (10 pages)
 Friday, August 28 Chapter Three The Christian Right (29 pages)
 Friday, August 4 Chapter Four The Christian Left (22 pages)
 Friday, August 11 Chapter Five The Neo-Anabaptists (21 pages)
 Friday, August 18 Chapter Six Illusion, Irony, and Tragedy (10 pages)
Chapter Seven Rethinking Power: Theological Reflections (18 pages)
 Friday, August 25 Essay III Toward a New City Commons: Reflections on a Theology of Faithful Presence
Chapter One The Challenge of Faithfulness (15 pages)
 Friday, September 1 Chapter Two Old Cultural Wineskins (14 pages)
Chapter Three The Groundwork for an Alternative Way (13 pages)
 Friday, September 8 Chapter Four Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence (17 pages)
 Friday, September 15 Chapter Five The Burden of Leadership: A Theology of Faithful Presence in Practice (17 pages)
Chapter Six Toward a New City Commons (13 pages)

Classes resume Monday, September 25 and our first worship services will begin that week.