Monday, July 31, 2006

The Myth of a Christian Nation

My friend K responded to my post about the Minnesota mega-church and instead of just putting it in the comment box, I'll put it here:
I read The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church by Gregory Boyd in early June. I borrowed it from a friend who attends his church, Woodland Hills. He and I had some brief discussions on spirituality and he then said I might like the book.

It is a good book and I recommend it, but it is very much written for the evengelical audience and the begining can be off-putting because of its jargon. He's also pendantic. His major issue is that the Kingdom of the World is being put ahead of the Kingdom of God. For Christians, the primary focus should be God, not country, not even God through country, only God through Jesus. Boyd urges Chirstians to emulate Jesus in action. He agrees with many "conservative" postions, but his remedy is sometimes different. He promotes personal action as key and asks that Christians 'radicalize' their love. As far as homosexuality, be wants Christians to love them as people first instead of demonizing them. His abortion example is about a woman who takes a young girl into her home to persuade her agianst having an abortion. The woman actually goes way beyond the 'extra mile' by altering her own life to help the girl. I believe Boyd would say that abortion is a symptom of a greater problem, so just changing the law to prevent abortion is window dressing.

To Boyd, politics and governments are necessary, but are attractive distractions from 'God's work'. Government can be used to remove one's self from being personal, passing a law to prevent abortion instead of taking in a person, in her full humanity of good and bad, to persuade her from having one.

As far as all of our country's warring, he basically says there is not justification in the New Testament for it and that waging war is not 'walking like Jesus'.

In the end, he asks Christians to take Christianity personally, to live it out.
That's heavy shit. I'm afraid most Americans would find living this Christianity as inconvenient as, say, praying five times a day or reading only one book. I wouldn't do it, but I think a lot of us would be better off if more evangelicals did. Still, I admire Boyd's taking Jesus seriously -- not enough conservatives do.


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