The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family

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9781453843758: The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family
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Christian fundamentalism in America emerged a century ago, the faith of generations of immigrants who had experienced war and revolution, removal and upheaval. The Scots-Irish who had settled the South inherited both an evangelical legacy of abolitionism and social reform on the one hand, and complicity in human slavery and racial oppression on the other. This book brings the story of fundamentalism to life through the generations of the Rice family--immigrants, soldiers, farmers, slaveowners, refugees, and preachers. This is a work of history, memoir, and personal testimony about the changing shape of a faith that seeks to transform the world. Foreword by Parker J. Palmer

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From the Author:

I am a Seattle writer with a unique perspective on fundamentalism and evangelicalism, as the son, grandson, great-grandson, brother, nephew, and cousin of Baptist preachers. My granddad, John R. Rice, was a prominent fundamentalist leader, founder of the Sword of the Lord newspaper, and mentor to younger preachers such as Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell. I was a youthful rebel first arrested for "illegal use of a bullhorn" in 1969 as an antiwar protester, and then I tried (and failed) to overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie during the 70s. Only later in life did I begin a spiritual journey to reconnect with and redefine my family's spiritual heritage.
I produced the 2004 film Voices in Wartime, a documentary that uses poetry to explore the trauma of war. I was co-editor of the Voices in Wartime Anthology, and director of the short film on PTSD, Beyond Wartime. Then, in 2005 I founded the Voices Education Project, which amplifies the voices of veterans and civilian witnesses to war, in order to heal the wounds of war and create a more peaceful world.
In the early 90s I helped pioneer Microsoft's embrace of the Internet by managing the company's first web team, and was a founding editor of the Microsoft Developer Network. In the 80s I founded the premiere Macintosh programming magazine, MacTech Journal, and was the author of books on multimedia authoring, scripting languages, hypertext, and expert systems -- the technologies that were the foundation of the modern Internet.
My wife, novelist Alix Wilber, works at the Seattle Aquarium as a grant writer, and we live with our cat Mehitabel and poodles Binti and Moby (the Great White Poo.) I am the dad of Amber Himes Cornell and the granddad of beautiful baby Chiara who has a fantastic giggle. Oh, yes, (in the spirit of full disclosure) I also created the Demented Breakfast Cereal Treat Contest, for which I have no excuse. Finally, I performed in December of 2010 as a member of the choir in Black Nativity at the Intiman Theater in Seattle.

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Parker J. Palmer (author of Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, and The Courage to Teach) -- "This is a remarkable book about the lives of two remarkable men. One is John R. Rice, editor of The Sword of the Lord newspaper, whose life's work was a taproot of American fundamentalism. The other is Rice's grandson, Andy Himes, whose journey took him from fundamentalism through Maoism to Microsoft, bringing him finally to a place where he could write candidly and compassionately about a man and a movement we must understand if we want to understand America. A brilliant mix of social analysis and high drama (in which people like Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones, Jr., play supporting roles), the book will make you wince sometimes and at other times open your eyes, gifting you with the hard-won insight that allowed its author to recount this personal and historical tale."

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