Shame & Redemption by Casey Chalk

Book Review

Shame & Redemption

The Crucifix on Mecca's Front Porch: A Christian's Companion for the Study of Islam by David Pinault

reviewed by Casey Chalk

There are two typical responses to the threat posed to the West by militant Islam. The first, popular among liberal, secular elites and liberal-leaning Christians, is to make, and encourage others to make, conciliatory or ecumenical overtures to the Muslim community. The hope in this approach is that Muslims who lean extreme can be persuaded that their economic, social, and psychological welfare will be improved by participating in a rights-based global community. It also has the tendency to overlook or downplay differences between Islam and Christianity for the sake of finding common ground. The other approach, found largely among conservatives, is one of confrontation. Its proponents criticize Islam and its many manifestations of intolerance and violence, and warn of its threat to the West. They also, however, often employ unfair and simplistic characterizations of Islam. Both approaches have some validity, and both have palpable weaknesses. In The Crucifix on Mecca's Front Porch: A Christian's Companion for the Study of Islam, David Pinault commendably finds a rare middle ground.

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Casey Chalk is a graduate of UVA and a student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia. He is also an editor for the ecumenical website Called to Communion (www.calledtocommunion.com)

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