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The Possibility of America

How the Gospel Can Mend Our God-Blessed, God-Forsaken Land

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Westminster John Knox Press
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Published in the years following 9/11, David Dark’s book The Gospel according to America warned American Christianity about the false worship that conflates love of country with love of God. It delved deeply into the political divide that had gripped the country and the cultural captivity into which so many American churches had fallen.

In our current political season, the problems Dark identified have blossomed. The assessment he brought to these problems and the creative resources for resisting them are now more important than ever. Into this new political landscape and expanding on the analysis of The Gospel according to America, Dark offers The Possibility of America: How the Gospel Can Mend Our God-Blessed, God-Forsaken Land. Dark expands his vision of a fractured yet redeemable American Christianity, bringing his signature mix of theological, cultural, and political analysis to white supremacy, evangelical surrender, and other problems of the Trump era.

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David Dark is Assistant Professor of Religion and the Arts at Belmont University. In addition to writing The Gospel according to America, he is the author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, and Everyday Apocalypse. His work has appeared in Pitchfork, Paste, and America Magazine.

The Possibility of...
How the Gospel Can...
by Westminster John Knox Press

“If I prayed, I would pray for all the David Darks—all the smart, funny, thoughtful, quirky, tough-minded, well-read, culturally-engaged Christians in America—to arise and speak up. Because I know that the crabbed, mean, unthinking forms of political Christianity that I see portrayed in the media are not the whole story.”
—Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland

“A teacher in prisons, a believer in music, an entangler of religion and politics, a student of mundane poetry, a proponent of a new seriousness, a garroter of despair, a champion of the Beloved Community—In The Possibility of America, David Dark samples Thomas Pynchon, R.E.M., radical Baptist preacher Will Campbell, and many others, to speak truth and hope to our contemporary barnyard.”
—John T. Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers

“This revised edition of The Gospel according to America makes this prescient tome that much more salient. Dark regards America—real and imagined, secular and abidingly faithful, horrible and glorious—with a holistic gaze that holds these truths and contradictions together and examines the culture that comes from it in order to better understand just how we got here.”
—Jessica Hopper, author of Night Moves and The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic 

"The Possibility of America is sharp and merciful in that it doesn't shy away from the type of rigorous honesty and nuanced care that I have come to love and learn from every time David Dark shares his work. It is an honor to watch his conflicts and curiosities bear themselves out on the page."
—Hanif Aburraquib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain and They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

"This is a book built on the understanding that there is a civic imagination that imagines us into a better way of being human together. Taking Twitter, literature, poetry, music lyrics, film, television, cartoons and conversations as sacred texts, David Dark looks at the things that are held up by language: power, fear, and hatred. Dark’s work holds the hope that love is a muscle we can exercise in public—and he holds us to account for how we practice."
—Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet and theologian

"David Dark takes a harder look at Christianity as America lives it and boldly calls for repentance. Revisiting the social and religious trends of his provocative 2005 book, The Gospel According to America, and analyzing even more dangerous political rhetoric, Dark challenges the 'white nationalist death cults' that too often masquerade as Christians and the complacent fence-sitters who enable them. Dark’s clarion call is inspired by a vision of the Beloved Community, a dream that has grounded various marginalized and activist communities since the civil-rights movement." —Chapter 16

"Rich prose and complex, challenging speculation of a truly deep thinker who is in love with language. Think Kurt Vonnegut meets Howard Zinn meets G.K. Chesterton meets Howard Thurman. This is a chasmal dive of introspection into the very psyche of how we, as a nation, got here and what exactly we’ve become." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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