prosperity gospel tagged posts

Religious Huckster Take-Down: Carl Sandburg’s “To a Contemporary Bunkshooter”

There will always be Billy Sundays among us. Smooth, snake-tongued preachers talking up either the gospel of prosperity that creates prosperity mostly for themselves, or else painting pictures of heavenly hereafters with which their impoverished followers will be rewarded—provided they dig deep for what is in their meagerly endowed pockets to sustain the preacher’s enterprise.

The historical Billy Sunday was the latter, a ragingly successful turn-of-the-20th century evangelist who wowed crowds with theatrical religious oratory that he embellished with long slides across or dives off the stage, stunts that called upon his former career as a major league baseball player with a penchant for stealing bases.

Sunday soothed his listeners and their hollowed out lives with promises of heavenly days everlasting even as he himself became wealthy...

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T.S. Eliot, Classicist Rap King

It is not for nothing that the website, with its mission of elaborating the lyrics of modern rap music, dedicates space on its site to presenting the entire text of Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, whose persona of buttoned-down English classicism would appear to be about as far removed from rap music as Othello is from modern television sitcoms. But appearances deceive, and to read this Eliot masterpiece some 75 years after its publication is to enter a zone of rhythmic drive and momentum that almost begs for interpretation by a rap artist.

Accompanying the sustained rhythm of the four poems that make up the Quartets is dead-serious imagery of the modern psyche under assault by time, the ravages of history, and the diminution of traditional religious faith. The result is a work of unparalleled power and enduring relevance for our age.

This relevance was also attested to just a week ago at Duke D...

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