Books to Help Us See Many More Happy July Fourth Holidays

Happy Fourth of July! The following books are listed as a tribute to our nation - one book looks at our past, another looks into a possible future scenario and the last is more of a guide on how to keep our nation on track: Historical Atlas of Texas Methodism, Escape From America and We Can Change America.

A Practical, Comprehensive Guide to Methodism in Texas through the Last Two Centuries

The Historical Atlas of Texas Methodism is a superb exposition of how the Methodist faith came to Texas and how that faith shaped—and was shaped by—historic movements in the Lone State State and nation. Denominations with Methodist roots and addressed inside include:
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Zion Church
  • Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Congregational Methodist Church
  • Evangelical Association
  • Evangelical Methodist Church
  • Evangelical United Brethren
  • Free Methodist Church
  • Methodist Church
  • Methodist Episcopal Church
  • SouthMethodist Protestant Church
  • Southern Congregational Methodist Church
  • Southern Methodist Church
  • United Methodist Church
  • United Brethren in Christ
  • Wesleyan Methodist Church
The Historical Atlas of Texas Methodism is an excellent reference, containing more than 40 maps and two dozen charts that bring clarity to the relationships between the denominations created by the Methodist Movement. An index with more than 2,000 entries attests to its thoroughness. Its scope extends from missionary visits to immigrants in Spanish Texas to the beginning of the 21st century. The Atlas devotes special attention to Methodism among Spanish, German, and Swedish linguistic minorities and the African-American Methodist denominations.

About the authors:
William Carson Hardt retired from a career in the public schools and writing educational materials to concentrate on his interest in Texas Methodist history. He lives in Brenham, Texas.

John Wesley Hardt was a member of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church until he was elected bishop in 1980. He served the Oklahoma area and in 1988 moved to Dallas. He is Bishop in Residence Emeritus at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.

Could the USA ever become as repressive as the Soviet Union once was? Could the now-independent states in the old Soviet Union become what the USA once was--"one nation under God?"

Wallace Henley, a White House staff assistant during the Nixon administration, sees such a reversal of former roles as a real possibility within the next quarter-century. Henley's new novel, Escape from America, illustrates how this could occur.

The central character is Alex Bozamov, an idealistic and ambitious young senior editor of Pravda, who is sickened by the Soviet media's sacrifice of truth on the altar of Marxist expediency. Bozamov exposes a political coverup of the Chernobyl disaster and is forced to flee with his wife to the USA, leaving behind his sons, whom he reared to be good Marxists.
Locating in the nation's capital, Bozamov becomes a star writer of the "Washington Tribune." Assigned to write a series on dissent in America, he displeases his editor, Taylor Willingham, with a story on a rally of "rescuers."
"The problem of your story," says Willingham, "is that you seem to focus on the issue of abortion as allegedly murder." "That was the theme of the meeting I was sent to cover," Bozamov replies.

"These people believe abortion is murder, and that's why they stage these rescues." "But you miss the larger issue," Willingham counters. "These people are denying the right of other people to make choices about their bodies. That's where the threat to democracy lies. You almost make these people sound natural." Bozamov rewrites the story so that readers "would know clearly these were fanatics who were a threat to democracy in America."

Forgiven, Bozamov is next reprimanded for writing about police brutality during a pro-life protest. Bozamov angers his editor by noting that the paper had published a story about police brutality at a gay rally. Bozamov redeems himself by a glowing story on Societies for Awakening Global Energies (SAGE), an alliance of "politically correct" activists bent on establishing a new "global consciousness" that "celebrates the oneness of all things." Then Bozamov becomes uneasy when the law forbids parents and churches to indoctrinate and evangelize children under 18. He writes the story "straight," which infuriates his editor.

Personal concerns envelop Bozamov when his suicidal wife is led to Christ by a former Russian communist. Bozamov himself becomes a Christian and is fired by the paper. Unable to get published in America, Bozamov sends a story on AIDS to a Russian "free paper" and is arrested for failing to get permission from the Justice and State departments. While out on bond, Bozamov flees with his wife back to the former Soviet Union, where he will have freedom to write his convictions.
Can one average Christian really make a difference in the United States? Author Darylann Whitemarsh emphatically says yes!

This thoroughly researched book reminds readers of the vision of America's founders: "one nation under God." Unfortunately the American media now works to reshape society, she contends. The "media habits of Christians are basically no different from non-Christians," she says.

However, many citizens have fought back to change public schools, the criminal justice system, politics, and the media. How does one decide which political party or candidates to support? Will the media report on a Christian position fairly? What can a person do about inaccurate or biased textbooks and teaching in public schools? Should Christians send lobbyists to Congress? What does "separation of church and state" really mean? What can a church legally do? When--and how--should a person write an effective letter to the editor on an issue of concern?

The author, a highly recognized public-school teacher and Christian political activist in Wisconsin, provides detailed answers to these and many other questions, emphasizing biblical principles. She also includes a glossary of political terms.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 reads: "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."
We Can Change America shows us how.

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