They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer, by Patrick D. Miller (Fortress). Though billed as a study of biblical prayer, this is the most helpful and comprehensive study of the Psalms we have that moves from critical data to acute theological sensibility.
Our president embodies [America's] uncentered spiritual landscape in three ways. First, like a growing share of Americans (44 percent), President Obama changed his religion as an adult, joining Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ in his 20s after a conversion experience brought him out of agnosticism into faith. Second, he was converted by a pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose highly politicized theology was self-consciously at odds with much of historic Christian practice and belief. Finally, since breaking with that pastor, Obama has become a believer without a denomination or a church, which makes him part of one of the country’s fastest-growing religious groups — what the Barna Group calls the “unchurched Christian” bloc, consisting of Americans who accept some tenets of Christian faith without participating in any specific religious community.
As states have been moving away from mass incarceration patterns, restorative justice models have become more popular. Thirty-five states now have legislation that encourages using restorative justice. Even without statewide legislation, many police departments have made use of local nonprofits that work with law breakers to try to keep them out of prison. Restorative justice brings offenders and victims together in an attempt to find ways that offenders can make restitution for their misdeeds. The hope is that both offenders and victims will have more empathy for each other. Recidivism rates tend to be lower in such cases, compared to rates in the traditional court system (PBS, July 20).