Last night this old guy on the train across from me asked me what I was reading. It was a whopping 800+ page door-stopping wheel-chocking ship-anchoring tower of a book and it was hard to hide from view. I replied with the name of the book – “Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Nature of Movements.” The book is edited by Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby and it draws heavily from Robert Wuthnow and other scholars. Our conversation finished right then and there and I went back to reading this fascinating book that I totally SCORED for only 2 pounds at the Christian bookstore in Chichester, which btw was a bookstore in the center of the controversial bankruptcy scandal that I wont go into right here.
The scholarly authors of this book, written last decade but still just as relevant today, if not more so, tackle the subject of fundamentalism as found in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhisim and the geographical area of South Asia. But what i found most interesting was its treatment of fundamentalism in its Western Protestant form and the similarities between the ideological movement of fundamentalism with that of the emerging church movement.
I said the treatment of the subject, I didn’t say the character of the movement, although there are similarities just as there are polar opposites.