See my review column discussing James Skillen’s The Good of Politics at

For those who subscribe to BookNotes, I hope you didn’t mind getting that long review in yourgood of p .jpg inbox yesterday.  (And if you don’t subscribe, you can do so at the website.)

That new book which I celebrated and commended, The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical and Contemporary Introduction, by James W. Skillen (published by Baker Academic in their “engaging culture” series) is so thoughtful and important that it demanded a longer review.  And I didn’t even get into all the details of this strong book.

I wanted you to be sure that you knew that every so often I publish a longer review or a bigger list over at the Hearts & Minds website, filed each month under “columns.”  These more or less monthly columns give me an opportunity to explore a title or topic in greater detail.
Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.  Ha.

Many think my ordinary BookNotes are themselves a bit, uh, wordy.  

I know, I know. It violates all the marketing guidance, the social media rules, all the conventional wisdom about being short and sweet.  Still, I believe many of our best customers want content, and it is what we do, describing and selling books, not just showing them, or listing the data about them. Any faceless on-line place can do that.

We know that many who visit our website or subscribe to our free BookNotes blog are true friends of Hearts & Minds who see themselves as connected to our work and are quite eager to read along. You are readers and book-buyers, after all, and you want our input, for which we are appreciative beyond words. Your story intersects with our story here, in many ways, and we are grateful for that.  So we want to tell you about a lot of books, and we want to explain the settings and contexts of them and why we think you might want them. We are humbled that you trust us to do this.

If you missed it, here is the longer review of The Good of Politics, the new book by James W. Skillen.  Jim means a lot to me, the organization he founded (The Center for Public Justice) is even now run by people we love and respect.  His new book is learned and interesting and articulates some important ways forward beyond the typical left and right debates about faith and politics.  I’m a bit proud of the review and hope you will check it out.

It’s not that long, really.

By the way, as you’ll see, I name a few other books along the way, and highlight a few of the authors which have been conversation partners with Skillen.  Some are not surprising — and a few may be.  For instance, it was very cool to get to write about some forthcoming books by the art historian and Christian philosopher of aesthetics, Calvin Seerveld.
Please check out the review.  Realize what Skillen is saying about the vision of civility and pluralism and a just legal order for which CPJ stands.  Consider the cover art which speaks volumes once you get his view of the good role of the state mediating other social spheres and institutions.  Join us in thinking deeply about these sorts of things, relating faith and public life in wise and helpful ways. Heaven knows, we need some better ideas in this arena.

The offer we make at the end — every book mentioned is 20% off plus we’re sending an older one along for free for anyone who orders, still stands.  Thanks for reading.


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