Faith in the Public Square: Living Faithfully in the 21st Century. By Robert D. Cornwall. Energion Publications, 2012. $16.99.
Does religion or faith belong in the public square? Some people say religion is private and should be kept out of the public square. Others enter forcefully enter the public square, seeking to dominate public life. Are these the only two options? Is there room for people of faith to engage public life in a way that seeks the common good, speaks prophetically, but respects the rights and views of others? Is there, a middle road?
This is the conversation that Bob Cornwall seeks to encourage in Faith in the Public Square, which is a collection of columns and essays, most of which were published by the Lompoc Record over a three and a half year period.
Now extensively revised and organized as to theme, these essays form a coherent statement of progressive Christianity at work in the public square. At the same time they are seasoned with a look at how the public square influences the spiritual life of a Christian living in mid-America. This collection of more than fifty columns goes well beyond one place and time. You will find yourself, your community, your state, your nation, and your world in each.
Can a person of faith be involved in the public square with integrity? Is public policy made better by this action? Can faith remain whole and genuine following the encounter? Read these essays to discover the answers, and perhaps find a new optimism for the future as you do.
Here is what readers have to say of the book:
In this illuminating book, Bob Cornwall demonstrates the kind of thoughtfulness that should be the model for Christian engagement in American public life. Cornwall tackles a wide variety of topics, always intelligently but also accessibly, with evident conviction but also with humility and generosity. All Americans who care about matters of faith should read this book, and we Christians owe Cornwall a debt of gratitude for representing us so well.
Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School
Non-resident Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
Faith in the Public Square is a must-read for anyone and everyone concerned about the continuing role of religion in public life. Cautioning against both a religiously naked public square and public space dominated by a particular religion, the insightful essays in this important book invite readers to carefully reflect upon and then publicly act upon their faith--and to do so with authenticity, humility and effectiveness in an increasingly pluralistic society.
Director, Disciples Justice Action Network
Bob Cornwall has accurately gauged the pulse of the nation with his excellent analysis of the role of faith in the public sphere. This timely contribution will greatly advance both scholarly and popular treatments of one of the most important movements in contemporary culture. Both accessible and insightful, Faith in the Public Square is a must read for anyone seeking greater understanding of societal trends in 21st century America.
Lecturer, Wayne State University
Fellow, Institute of Social Policy and Understanding
Faith in the Public Square will be released by the publisher on Super Tuesday -- March 6, 2012 – It is available online from the publisher (energionpubs.com)or at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Copies can be ordered through most bookstores, including Barnes and Noble.