Saturday, September 12, 2009

this little kingdom went to market, this one stayed home

Recently heard in a sermon: God's people need to be working on turning America back to God.

I've talked a lot recently about the idea of the United States being a Christian nation. I guess that's because it's been on my mind. That idea is one of the supreme teachings of my childhood, both at church and in my homeschooling circles. It really amounted to brainwashing. Moving to the Chicago area was a breath of fresh air for me. Nobody up there knows about this idea. Actually, they probably do, but nobody ever really talks about it. It was really nice. I managed to forget about all the founding fathers and John Locke disguised as gospel stuff. Then I moved back to Texas.

Most Christians here in this part of the country are really preoccupied with it. I think they believe that the toughest thing facing Christianity today is that it is losing its place as the unofficial civic religion in the U.S. They know this because they go to Wal-Mart a lot, and it's not pretty. They hear people using some cuss words and occasionally find women with children but without wedding rings. Focus on the Family tells them about all the bad things movies and working moms are causing us to do. They've read "The Light and the Glory," so they know that sin was not introduced in America until Maurice Chevalier first came over from Paris.

Some of them are buying something called "The Patriot Bible." Yeah, I'm not kidding. As one Amazon reviewer says: "The Bible itself is not altered," but is augmented by "colored illustrations and facts about how our country was founded upon the Word of God." One person named Wilma A. Keel loves all the Americanecdotes side by side with Scripture. "Honestly it makes me WANT to read the Bible," she says.

This is where it really gets bad. Christian faith and nationalistic zeal united in holy matrimony.

Since I haven't looked at the entire thing and since my wife would object to my spending thirty bucks to pad the "heretics section" of my book collection (complete with Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, James Dobson and a few others), I've got to base my opinion on....

...a quick reading made possible by an impromptu trip to Barnes and Noble just now. Okay, they had this thing. It was one of those featured items that gets turned on the shelf so it's cover is completely visible. I could see the flag from the other end of the aisle, so I didn't even need to hunt for it.

This book features the NKJV text which gets frequently interrupted by patriotic quotes and editorial musings on the lives of famous people who 1) were well-known for doing something American and 2) at least once talked about God or the Bible. It also contains other illuminating commentary. What a great idea to include the "Fireman's Prayer" after the whole fiery furnace account. Too bad those guys had never read it.

The focus of the Patriot Bible is that many instrumental people in U.S. history claimed God's blessing. Also, the editor seems pretty sure that the great commission is to restore Christianity as the unofficial civil religion of the U.S.

In other words, scripture is hijacked for nationalistic purposes.

What about some of the other parts of our past? How about the way we got rich off of slavery? What about manifest destiny? Remember the revolutionary war where we killed lots of image-bearers over unfair taxes? (Maybe Christians should organize an army and attack Washington in 2009.) What about all the people who have had to die for our ideals? We've done some horrible things in the name of Christ. We're not the try this. I almost vomited when I discovered that TPB stops in the middle of Genesis 4 to quote the text of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

This is just disgusting and sad. God forgive us for making a mockery of your Kingdom.


Dan Martin said...

BRING IT HOME, JONATHAN!!! You know from my blog I'm right with you on this one. Yes, yes, yes!

If you don't completely get burned for heresy for even having the name in your house, I heartily recommend to you Greg Boyd's book "The Myth of a Christian Nation," which takes everything you've said here and amplifies on it with scripture, story, and just plain sound doctrine.

Peace, my friend. From what I've heard those are dangerous words in Texas! ;{)

jaigner said...

Yes, friend, they are dangerous in the Lone Star State. Thank God for my two years in Illinois that gave me the chance to eliminate those toxins from my mind.

I actually, because of your previous suggestion, have already purchased and read Boyd's book. I'm not going to be burned at the stake, but it's one of those that I would turn around on the bookshelf if certain people came for a visit.