The doctrine of the image of God is like prayer, communion, or any other practice that has become perfunctory. We kind of know what it is and what it means, but the necessity and revolutionary nature of the practice or belief has dulled with time and repetition. In The Imago Dei: Humanity Made in the Image of God author, Lucy Peppiatt seeks to break the casual understanding of this indispensable doctrine by defining the three main perspectives, getting into the weeds by analyzing church fathers' and theologians' thoughts on the nuances of the doctrine, and finishing with a superb summary.
Many books taking on the subject of Christian nationalism identify, and rightly so, the idolatry, racism, and tribalism of the movement, but few theologically, academically, historically, and charitably dismantle the movement as well as Paul D. Miller, does in The Religion of American Greatness. But, dismantling Christian nationalism was not his sole goal in writing the book--he hopes his book assists Christians with being better witnesses.
Christian nationalism is not a new phenomenon. Nor is it a fringe element of the Republican party. In The Flag and the Cross professors Philip Gorski and Samuel Perry detail the history of Christian nationalism dating back to the 1600s, define its core beliefs, how it has adapted over the centuries, and suggest ways Americans can stop this substantial threat to American democracy.
From Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump every sitting president for the last 50 years, Republican or Democrat, has militarized America's police force. In Rise of the Warrior Cop author Radley Balko asks, "How did we evolve from a country whose founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing government forces—a country that enshrined the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights and revered and protected the age-old notion that the home is a place of privacy and sanctuary—to a country where it has become acceptable for armed government agents dressed in battle garb to storm private homes in the middle of the night, not to apprehend violent fugitives or thwart terrorist attacks but to enforce laws against nonviolent, consensual activities?"
Is the church a building? Is it a group of people? As Christians, are we required to be part of the church? Has the American church, writ large, lost the essential Christian values of faith, hope, and love? In Skye Jethani's third installment from his superb What If Jesus Was Serious devotional series Jethani teases out the nuances of the church, what it should be, and what it should not be in 51 devotionals.
Depending on the places you get your news or the social circles you run in the term Christian nationalism has a positive or negative connotation. With the explosion in conversation around the term since the January 6 insurrection, it is challenging to divorce the definition, good or bad, from today's context. This is where Taking America Back for God immensely helps. Sociologists Samuel Perry, (University of Oklahoma), and Andrew Whitehead, (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) draw primarily on data from the 2017 Baylor Religion Survey to provide a nuanced and constructive look at the term that has influenced American politics for decades.
For many Christians how we approach sex boils down to one statement - it should happen within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. While that is a good starting point Christian culture writ large has done an abdominal job of talking and teaching about sex within a Christian framework. Best-selling Christian books such as Every Man's Battle (4 million copies sold) and Love & Respect (2.2 million copies sold) promote devastating ideas such as sex as a need just for the husband, obligation sex, and seeing women's bodies as dangerous. Authors Shelia Wray Gregoire, her daughter Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach, and Joanna Sawatsky have made it their life's work to correct that narrative.
Power of the sword versus power of the cross. Control of behavior versus transforming lives from the inside out. A tribal kingdom versus a universal kingdom. A tit-for-tat kingdom versus a returning evil with good kingdom. One set of characteristics describes a kingdom of the world while another details the distinct way of the kingdom of God. In The Myth of a Christian Nation author and pastor, Greg Boyd provides a strong scriptural foundation to repudiate that any nation on earth can be a Christian nation because any kingdom of the world is intrinsically opposed to the kingdom of God.
How did the Republican party and white evangelicals become synonymous? Has abortion always been the focus of the Republican party and white evangelicals? In a tight, accessible 140 pages, author Randall Balmer traces the roots of the Religious Right and its wedding to the Republican party from the 1830s through the 1970s before linking the movement to its current iteration in the 21st century.
Many American Christians have bifurcated their lives into the secular and the sacred. We have divorced divine meaning from our mundane tasks and everyday jobs. We have adopted the rhythms, beliefs, and postures of the world. As a result, there is little difference between how Christians and non-Christians live their lives. Americans of all ages are leaving the church while depression, hopelessness, and suicide continue to climb. Author and priest Tish Harrison Warren says it doesn't have to be this way.
You must be logged in to post a comment.