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Book Club: Myth of a Christian Nation : Chapter 2 February 11, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Book Review, Faith, Politics, Religion, Separation of Church and State.
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OK, I am not done with this chapter, but I am struggling with it.  The focus of the chapter seems to be a perspective on who rules this world, who rules God’s kingdom, and our servant purpose in this world.

Up front, I struggle with knowing when to turn things over to God, preferring to accomplish things to overcome feelings of inadequacy.  We aren’t meant to be couch potatoes, but when are we to take action and when to trust His plan?  Before I continue, let me relay excerpts of what bothered me… (I typed the best I could while listening to the audio version)

“The kingdom of God advances by people lovingly placing themselves under others, in service to others, at cost to themselves.  This “coming under” doesn’t mean followers of Jesus conform to other people’s wishes but it does mean we always interact with others with their best interests in mind…. We are to do nothing from selfish ambition nor conceit but in humility regard others as better than ourselves.  We are to not look to our own interests but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4  We are to not seek our own advantage but that of the other. 1 Corinthians 10:24  …. in serving them in any way we can… ”

1.  I understand the servant role, but when are we to lead and when to serve?  I struggled at one job where I reluctantly stepped up to a management role to fill a void.  I was fired for reasons I am proud of, because I would not treat those under me as the type of leader the CEO was trying to groom me to be.  It was the very day after being fired that I attended a Men’s Breakfast at church, and was reminded on the term “Servant leader” which explained how I was trying to be, and brought me great comfort, opposite of the “whip” I was supposed to use.

2. The author seems to emphasize that Satan rules this world, so therefore, if we are servants, how are we to serve Satan’s “interests” without violating God’s purpose for us? Are we to regard his servants as better than us? To seek their advantage? Are all Christians to never prosper over non-Christians?  This makes my head hurt, because there has to be a time us to lead, or prosper, but still “be a good example”?

3. A short way farther into this chapter is mention of the Sword and got me thinking about the Armor of God.  Part of that armor is the “Sword of the spirit”.  Are we to “turn the other cheek” until the rest of the armor is so damaged that the Sword is the only defense left? A sword can be used in defense and in attack. We certainly should be careful not to attack when unnecessary, but where should we draw the line?

Again, this speaks to my resistance to turning things over to God.  In reflection, I desire to, but “in the moment of decision” it is a personal struggle to remember to do it.

Book Club: Myth of a Christian Nation February 4, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Book Review, Politics, Religion, Separation of Church and State.
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I am actually guilty of buying this book based a faulty assumption on the title.  The card containing the code for downloading the audio version did not have the advantage of allowing a quick scan of the book’s intent.  If I had, I probably would have skipped this one.  The title is not, as I hoped, a twist of meaning to defend the influence of Christianity during the founding of this country.  Nor does it appear that it will go into any history of the country.

I just started listening, but hope it goes somewhere substantial.  The introduction paints a picture of excuses not to, as a church, get involved in politics.  Some reviews summarize intent as warnings about when a “church gets too close to any political or national ideology”.  There are valid points in remembering not to place country BEFORE God, and I will always agree God comes first.

My problem with the direction this warning appears to take is avoidance.  I understand somewhat that a church cannot flatly say “Vote for Joe the Plumber”.  But a church leader is supposed to teach and guide the congregation.  Secular Progressives are blurring the lines and leading Christian followers to accepting ‘softer’ more tolerant definitions or marriage, of sex (Thank you Bill Clinton), and equating tolerance not only with acceptance but also approval of things that contradict the Word of God.  This is where the author of this book loses opportunity to teach biblical perspective on political issues.  Where should a Christian stand on the death penalty, welfare, national security and all the other hot topics in government?  Teach not to idolize a party and to not “hate” the opponent, but teach about responsibility, accountability, integrity, and compassion.

I have just started this (audio) book and hope it answers my concerns.  Feel free to “spoil the ending” and share insight on this topic whether you have read this book or not.  The origin and intent of “separation of Church and State” has been perverted.  I pray this author is not advocating the turning over of governing completely over to secular hands.  To stand idly by and let certain activist attempts to erase all evidence of Christian influence from public eye cannot be part of our calling as Christians.