Monday, January 28, 2008

Book Review>Peculiar People by Rodney Clapp

Just finished this wonderful book, recommended to me by my good buddy Mr. Caldwell.Clapp's thesis is the church needs to reclaim Christianity as a way of life, as it's own distinct culture. He asserts that the church doesn't need to
blend or mold to "culture" but rather, seek to form/be it's own culture.

Adam read this in seminary, and another close friend who is attending Asbury also has recommended the book. Clapp does a good job of being practical yet I also had to sound out several words, and look up even more on

Clapp points out that there really is no distinct "culture" in modern
America, and that any social analysis will instead yield a picture of
pluralism where there are many varieties of culture. So it's not so much
"the church vs. the culture" but rather the church BEING culture, as
the subtitle suggests. Excellent book. Very thoroughly footnoted and also written in good humor.

One "issue" I took with the book was Clapp's critique of what he called "foundationalism",being the
"pervasive Western philosophical doctrine that all rational belief must be builton the foundations of a-cultural and universally compelling beliefs or
realities, themselves in no need of support" (as made popular by Rene
He cites C.S. Lewis' "moral law" as a failing exercise in moral foundationalism. But then later the next page Clapp refers to "the human conditon". Isn't that a foundationalist assumption? That there is a universal, a-contextual condition thatevery human is in? I just really feel like people really haven't changed much since we've been around once you get down to the bottom of
things, and the way Lewis talks of the moral law makes a lot of sense
to me and I believe is a very compelling "argument" towards the existence of God.

I dunno, maybe a small point to pick on. But I would really recommend this book to any one interested in studying culture or how the church behaves as the body of Christ.

Great book, and it was written in 1996! Mr. Clapp was very prophetic, in that I've read books like Brian McLaren's "Secret Message of Jesus" that share topics and conclusions that Clapp wrote about over a decade before. Let's get peculiar baby! (oddly enough, I have been through Peculiar MO many times.)

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