Book Reviews

February 07, 2016

Two reviewers recently wrote about my newest book, Sacramental Politics: Religious Worship as Political Action.


Leah Sophia, an artist who runs Suntreeriver Design, previously wrote a review of my book. More recently, she included my book in her list of 11 top books of 2015. Here are a few highlights from that assessment:
Such an important book, with so many aspects of our lives as Christians to consider! 
... Faithfully contextualizing texts that come from a very different culture and that variously are between 4,000 and 2,000 years old always is difficult and dangerous. However, if any congregations, pastors, judicatories or even lone solitary individuals would dare, they need to read and consider this book! Because Sacramental Politics focuses almost exclusively on the USA, they'll discover God never has been a Democrat of any era or any variety, a Republican from any place or space, a Libertarian, a Communist or a member of the Green party, or even a declared Independent. But you know, God still is passionately political!
Check out the whole post on the 11 books.

James Matichuk, a minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, also recently wrote a review of my book. He starts the review by noting, "It is an election year and so the circus begins again" Here are a few highlights from his review:
Sacramental Politics examines the way religion is co-opted in the political sphere and suggestively explores the political nature of Christian praxis. 
... This is a well-researched book. Kaylor presents many examples from past and current politicians, all documented with copious footnotes. He shows how politicians use religion to justify their ends (i.e. praying campaign slogans) and to project certainty (52). While the Right is the more overtly religious, the political left also makes use of religious rhetoric. 
It is the second part of the book that I think is the most interesting. Here Kaylor explores the political dimensions of religious ritual (focused particularly of Christian religious ritual). The power of ritual is not just about forming you into a good American, but the idea is that things like liturgy, Eucharist or Baptism and sacred song makes you into something else. 

...Kaylor is descriptive of the way religion and politics meld in the American political landscape. He argues that religion inherently carries with it political implications 
... The central argument of this book, pushes us toward a conscious awareness of the political implications of our own faith. Kaylor wants to move us beyond partisan religious rhetoric to see how our religious practice shapes us into an alternative polis. Kaylor wants us to see that our worship is poltical, and therefore political worship is a political act (193). This helps us imagine new possibilities. 
...Kaylor’s analysis is comprehensive but not exhaustive and certainly more can be added to his argument as this election season shakes out. 
This book has a very Mennonite-y feel (which I like). ... I give this four stars.
You can read his whole review, And I hope you'll pick up my book for yourself!

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