Sunday, April 5, 2020

Learning from the Covid-19 Pandemic

It goes without saying that this is an unusual and highly critical time in the history of this country and of the world. According to Worldometers, by 8:30 pm (GMT) on April 5 the covid-19 pandemic had caused the deaths of more than 69,330 people worldwide and 9,550 people in the U.S.—and the worse is yet to come. Lives and livelihoods have been greatly disrupted for most people. What are some of the lessons that can be learned from all this?
Denial and Delay are Deadly
For those of us who live in the U.S., the seriousness of the covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. could certainly have been greatly lessened by swifter and more decisive action.
It seems to be without question that DJT denied the gravity of the threat for weeks and delayed taking steps that could have lessened the pandemic’s detrimental impact on the country.
On January 22, the day after the first case in the U.S. was confirmed, DJT declared in a CNBC interview, “We have it totally under control.” In a tweet more than a month later, on Feb. 24, he reaffirmed, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”
And less than a month ago DJT was still blaming “fake news” and the Democrats for exaggerating the seriousness of the pandemic. He tweeted, 
In mid-March the President finally switched to recognizing the seriousness of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it seems incontrovertible that the spread of covid-19 cases and the number of deaths in the U.S. have been at least partially due to his denial of the problem and delay in taking decisive action.
In this case, and others, denial and delay are often deadly. 
“Big Government” Is Necessary
Since the time of Ronald Reagan, many people in this country have agreed with his first inaugural address declaration in 1981: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
For a long time, and especially during these last four decades, the Republican Party has emphasized the advantages of having a small federal government.
But what about now?
The covid-19 pandemic has made it evident that the problems faced by USAmerican citizens are much too great to be dealt with only on state or local levels. Accordingly, Congress passed and on March 27 the President signed a massive relief bill.
That bill, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Is a $2.2 trillion aid package that will provide financial aid to families and businesses impacted by the current pandemic.
While there are certainly serious questions about the CARES Act—such as there being too much money made available, without adequate oversight, to large corporations—it will substantially benefit many ordinary people who are suffering financially.
Yes, in times of crisis, big government is necessary and beneficial.
Things Will Change Drastically
You know these dates: 10/24/1929 (“Black Thursday”), 12/7/1941 (“Pearl Harbor”), and, of course, 9/11/2001. Those are days that marked the beginning of long, significant changes in American society—although by now the latter date seems much less consequential than the first two.
But 1/21/20 (the date of the first covid-19 case confirmed in the U.S.) may result in drastic changes that will rival those pivotal dates in 1929 and 1941.
In the U.S., the death toll from covid-19 surely won’t be as high as in WWII (over 400,000), but before the end of March it surpassed that of 9/11 and in time it may well exceed the combined total of the wars in Korea and Vietnam (around 95,000).
It is hard to imagine at this point what life will be like in the U.S. by the end of next year. There will likely be some drastic changes—and some things may be even worse than most of us can imagine now.
But life will go on—at least for most. Adaptations can and will be made. And, overall, some drastic changes may well be for the better. At least that can be our hope and our prayer.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Search for Meaning in Terrible Times

Seventy-five years ago, on March 26, 1945, Viktor Frankl celebrated his 40th birthday in the worst conditions imaginable. He was confined to a concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. Before the year was over, however, not only had he been liberated but he had also written an international bestselling book.
Living in Terrible Times
Currently, many countries of the world are living in a time of fear and anxiety—and of death—because of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. This new pandemic certainly should not be downplayed, but the circumstances in which Viktor Frankl lived in 1944-45 were far worse.
Frankl was born in Vienna, the child of Jewish parents. Being a Jew was no particular problem there—until the invasion of Austria by the Nazis in 1938. Three years later Frankl married Mathilde Grosser, and the very next year they were arrested by the Nazis.
In 1944 Frankl and his wife were transported to Auschwitz. Later, Mathilde was moved to another camp, and the next year she died of typhus at the age of 24. Frankl was also moved to a concentration camp in Dachau.
The suffering and death-toll in those prisons are almost incredible—but Frankl managed to live through that terrible time and was able to tell the story of the suffering he observed and experienced in the concentration camps.
Finding Meaning in Terrible Times
Near the end of April 1945, Frankl and his fellow prisoners were liberated. He then returned to Vienna and, among other things, wrote a book that was published the next year. The English translation was first published in 1959. Three years later it was issued again under the title Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.  
By the time of his death in 1997, Frankl’s superlative book had sold more than ten million copies and had been translated into 24 languages. 
As early as 1926, Frankl had used the word logotherapy, the term that came to characterize what is called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy, preceded by the work of two other great Austrian psychiatrists: Sigmund Freud (1856~1939) and Alfred Adler (1870~1937).
Logotherapy emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in one's life. Thus, Frankl emphasized the will to meaning in contrast to the will to pleasure as found in Freudian psychoanalysis and the will to power as stressed by Adlerian psychology.
As Frankl elucidated,
It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning (2014 ed., p. 106).
Suffering, Frankl saw, has meaning when it helps people learn new truths and when it makes them stronger. He wrote about citing Nietzsche in a talk he gave to the 2,500 men in his camp: “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
What about These Terrible Times?
There are many differences and some similarities between the current COVID-19 pandemic and the concentration camps Victor Frankl experienced in 1944-45. The suffering was greater for most of the population there and the death rates much, much higher.
But rather than a relatively small population in a very small area, the current pandemic is worldwide and is affecting, or likely soon will affect, large numbers of people in countries around the world. In fact, COVID-19 threatens to devastate poor countries.
For most of you who read this, up until now the pandemic has been mainly an inconvenience. Some, however, may already be suffering financially. But as the weeks go by, some of you may have friends or family members who become ill—and some of us may become ill with the virus ourselves.
In these trying times, let’s heed Frankl’s counsel to keep being thankful for the blessings of the past and to keep searching for meaning, which makes it possible to be resolute in the present and hopeful for the future.
FOR MORE . . .
** Click here for excerpts I gathered from Frankl’s book.
** Here is the link to “Why Meaning Matters,” a 1963 interview with Frankl (13 min.)
** Click here for an illustrated, 6½- minute summary of Man’s Search for Meaning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Decline and Resurgence of Theological Liberalism

Chapter Two of my book The Limits of Liberalism, which I am updating and slightly revising this year, is titled “Contemporary Liberalism.” Please think with me about the decline and resurgence of theological liberalism, two of the matters discussed in that second chapter. 
From the cover of the 2010 book; the pictures (clockwise from the bottom right) are of Schleiermacher, Bushnell, and Rauschenbush (from Chapter One) and Marcus Borg (from Chapter Two)
The Decline
Liberal theology began to fall upon hard times in the 1920s. The widespread scope of the Great War (World War I) and the extensive suffering and carnage caused by that war called into serious question the central tenets of liberalism.
Those tenets included emphasis on the innate goodness of human beings, an optimistic view of social progress, and the intention to realize the kingdom of God in society through human effort.
European theologians such as Karl Barth and Emil Brunner began to develop a theology that avoided what they saw as the errors of the failed liberal theology of the time but that also affirmed some of the progressive elements in that theology.
That new emphasis was often called crisis theology in its beginning, but in the U.S. it came to be known mostly by the rather paradoxical name of neo-orthodox theology.
Reinhold Niebuhr was an American theologian who early began to question theological liberalism. His Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932) struck a blow at the optimistic view of humanity long held by liberalism.
My own theological education in the 1960s was largely shaped by neo-orthodox theology, which was regarded as the bulwark against both a failed fundamentalism and a failed liberalism.
Elsewhere, though, conservative theologians were criticizing neo-orthodoxy for being liberal, not acknowledging that it was a position developed in opposition to the liberal theology that had been prevalent in Germany.
The Resurgence
The resurgence of liberal theology began in the last half of the 1960s. In the following decades, that resurgence was seen in many active theologians, especially the three I have written about in Chapter Two of The Limits of Liberalism. (Two of them have died since the book was first published in 2010.)
Englishman John Hick was long an influential contemporary theological liberal, particularly in the fields of the philosophy of religion and religious pluralism. His writings have had considerable influence, and current Christian thinkers must seriously grapple with the issues he raised.
Among the important books by Hick (1922~2012) are God and the Universe of Faiths (1973), God Has Many Names (1980), and A Christian Theology of Religions (1995) as well as two that he edited: The Myth of God Incarnate (1977) and, with Paul F. Knitter, The Myth of Christian Uniqueness (1987).
It is probably safe to say that John Shelby Spong, a retired Episcopal bishop, has been the most widely read Christian liberal over the past thirty years. As Hick also did, much of his writing was done in opposition to fundamentalism. In fact, his bestselling book is Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (1991).
Other significant books by Spong (b. 1931) are Why Christianity Must Change or Die (1998) and A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born (2001).
While more moderate than the previous two, Marcus J. Borg is the third of the contemporary liberal leaders I have written about in Chapter Two. Borg (1942~2015) wrote in such an evenhanded and convincing manner that in some ways he is the most “dangerous” of the contemporary liberals.
From my perspective, Borg (1942~2015) is “ dangerous” because his moderate position is easy for non-liberals to accept even though his position contains some misleading aspects that threaten what has long been, and still generally is, widely considered to be orthodox theology.
Jesus, A New Vision (1987), to mention only one of Borg’s many books, contains much that should be affirmed. Still, I find much that is questionable in that book, as in many of his other books, and I refer to him several times in later chapters.
In chapters three and four, I look first at the appeals of liberalism and then consider the problems with liberalism, and I look forward to sharing blog posts about those chapters in the next two months.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Remembering Fanny Crosby, Queen of Gospel Song Writers

All of you old-timers like me who grew up in Baptist, Methodist, or other “evangelical” churches know the name Fanny Crosby, the blind woman who wrote more gospel songs/hymns than anyone else in history. She was born 200 years ago, just about five weeks after Susan B. Anthony whom I wrote about last month.
Fanny’s Blindness
Frances Jane Crosby was born about 75 miles north of New York City on March 24, 1820. Throughout her long life—and she died shortly before her 95th birthday in 1915—she went by the name Fanny.
When just a few weeks old, Fanny had an eye infection that an incompetent doctor mistreated. Consequently, Fanny became blind for life. A few months later, her father died and her mother, widowed at 21, had to go to work as a maid.
Grandmother Eunice Crosby then took care of Fanny—and she taught the precocious little girl that she could learn and excel in life despite being blind. When Fanny was only eight or nine years old, she wrote the words that appear under her picture on the right.
Just before her 14th birthday, she enrolled as a student in the New York Institution for the Blind (NYIB, now the New York Institute for Special Education).
Fanny was a student at NYIB for eight years and then taught there for fifteen years, leaving in 1858, the year she married Alexander Van Alstyne, who was also blind—and who had also been a student and then a teacher in the same school.
While a teacher at NYIB, Fanny had the opportunity to recite some of her poems before the U.S. Senate and later before a joint session of Congress—the first woman to do either. She also became a friend of President James Polk, who visited NYIB, and with Fanny, at least twice during his presidency, the last time being in 1848.
In 1849 the cholera epidemic in the U.S. worsened, and Fanny nursed children in the school. After she showed symptoms, she was asked to leave the NYIB until autumn. She survived, but President Polk, whose term ended in March, died of cholera in June of that year at the age of 53.
(Let’s pray that the epidemic of 2020 doesn’t turn out to be as bad as the epidemic of 1848-49.)
Fanny’s Service
Although she had written poetry for thirty years by the time of her marriage, it was only a few years later that she began to write hymns—and write she did! She is said to have written more than 9,000 gospel songs/hymns!
Many of her hymns were regularly used in the highly popular evangelistic campaigns of Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey. But hymn-writing was not what Fanny considered her main mission in life.
According to this website, Fanny “wanted most to be remembered as a home missions worker to the poor.” She served in various New York City rescue missions from the early 1860s to the first decade of the 1900s.
Chapter 18 of her book Fanny Crosby's Memories of Eighty Years is titled “Work Among Missions,” and she writes of how her work at the well-known Bowery Mission began in 1881.
(“Serving Kings: The Bowery Mission in Manhattan at 140 Years” is an article in the Winter 2020 Plough Quarterly, and it quotes words that Fanny often said when speaking in the Bowery Mission chapel services.)
Evangelicals, like Fanny, in the nineteenth century often combined loving service to people in physical need with sharing a Gospel message for their spiritual needs.
Fanny’s Hymns
Only a very few of Fanny’s many hymns can be mentioned here. You who know her hymns have your own favorites, I’m sure, but three of her most well-known hymns are also three of my favorites, and I sang them often from when I was a boy until we went to Japan in 1968.
Those three are “Rescue the Perishing” (1869), “Blessed Assurance” (1873), and “I Am Thine, O Lord” (1875). According to Hymnary.org those hymns are currently found in 693, 933, and 616 hymnals, respectively.
In writing this article, I have especially enjoyed reading/hearing—and being challenged by—the first two verses of the third hymn. You can read the lyrics of that gospel song at this link or hear them beautifully sung here.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Deplorable Doctrine of Discovery

Even though it dates back to 1452, until fairly recently I had never heard of the Doctrine of Discovery (DofD)—and perhaps most Americans are largely unaware of that deplorable doctrine. Please think with me now about what the DofD is and why it is so deplorable.  
The Basis of the DofD

In June 1452, Nicholas V, the Catholic Pope (reigned 1447~55), issued a papal bull (public decree) under the title Dum Diversas. It primarily authorized King Afonso V of Portugal to conquer and subjugate Muslins and “pagans.”
Specifically, the Pope granted the Portuguese king permission
to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens [Arab Muslims] and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, . . . and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery . . . .
As it was issued less than a year before the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the bull may have been intended to begin another crusade against the Ottoman Empire. (The crusade did not develop, however, and the capital of the Roman Empire established in 330 fell to the Turks and the Empire ended.)
The papal bull, however, was used by Portugal to begin taking slaves from Africa and then for subjugating indigenous people in the “new world.”
The DofD and Manifest Destiny
Some who have recently written about the Doctrine of Discovery say that it is so deplorable because of its use to subjugate and oppress Native Americans in what is now the USA.
The mistreatment of Natives by the Spanish in what is now Texas and the southwest part of the U.S. and the same sort of mistreatment by the French in Florida and Louisiana was, no doubt, partly because of the Doctrine of Discovery.
But those parts of the U.S. were then incorporated in various ways into the U.S. by a government almost completely controlled by WASPS who were opponents of Catholicism.
The Puritans were Christians in England who sought to purify the Church of England from Catholic practices, and after coming to “New England,” they sought to do in the “new world” what they couldn’t do in England.
The Puritan attitude toward the Native people, however, was very similar to that expressed in the Doctrine of Discovery, and from 1630 on, the spirit of triumphal conquest found in the DofD was later justified by the concept of Manifest Destiny.
It was under the overarching idea of Manifest Destiny that the Natives of North America were abused and exploited in much the same way that the indigenous peoples of Central and South America had been subjugated by conquistadors from Catholic countries based on the DofD .
The intention of both the Doctrine of Discovery and of Manifest Destiny was to subject Indigenous peoples to the rule of white European and/or Anglo-Saxon “Christians.”
What Can We Do Now?
Perhaps the first task is to learn about how terribly destructive the implementation of the Doctrine of Discovery and of Manifest Destiny was for Native Americans.
There are Christians who have in recent years been writing about the evils of the DofD. Mennonite Church USA, for example,  has since 2014 been working on resources for “dismantling” the DofD. (Check out their DofD website here.)
In 2016 the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) responded to a 68-page report on the DofD by repudiating the Doctrine, labeling it as heresy and lamenting the pain it has caused.
Mark Charles
One of the authors of the CRC report is Mark Charles, who is half Native American and half Dutch American. He and Soong-Chan Rah are the authors of a book on the subject I highly recommend: Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery (Nov. 2019). 
The authors conclude that “our only path to healing is through lament and learning how to accept some very unsettling truths” (p. 206).  
But in addition to learning and lamenting, surely there is a need for confessing, repenting, apologizing, and determining to engage with others in seeking to dismantle the deplorable Doctrine of Discovery.
What will you do?
* * * * *
Addendum
In the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, of all things, there is an apology to the Native Americans in the U.S.  Section 8113 of that Act, which was passed into law by Congress in Dec. 2009, states
that the United States, acting through Congress: (1) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the federal government regarding Indian tribes; (2) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted upon them by U.S. citizens; (3) urges the President to acknowledge such wrongs; and (4) commends state governments that have begun reconciliation efforts and encourages all state governments to work toward reconciling their relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.
Unfortunately, that apology received hardly any press coverage and was largely overlooked by the President. (Charles & Rah discuss this matter on pages 190~4 of Unsettling Truths.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

“For Such a Time as This”

Today, March 10, is an important Jewish holiday. Purim, which began at sunset last night, celebrates the fifth century B.C.E. victory of the Jewish people in Persia thanks to the boldness of Queen Esther. Purim has been celebrated by Jews around the world from that time until the present. 
Who Was Esther?
Hadassah was a Jewish girl living with many other exiled Jews still residing in Persia. When she was a teenager, Xerxes (known in the Bible as Ahasuerus; reigned 486~465) was the king of Persia and resided in Susa, the capital located in the southwest part of the nation we now know as Iran.
After Hadassah’s parents died, she was adopted by her cousin Mordecai, who had an important position inside the king’s palace.
After King Xerxes flippantly sent his wife, Queen Vashti, away, he then called for the most beautiful virgins in the land to be gathered for his pleasure. Hadassah was one of those chosen for the king’s harem. Mordecai advised his beautiful teen-aged daughter to hide her Jewish identity by taking the Persian name Esther.
(To learn more about Esther, I recently read the 2019 historical novel Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia by Diana Wallis Taylor. It was a good read depicting what Esther’s story might well have been. For a well-done nine-minute summary of the book of Esther, I recommend this YouTube video produced by Bible Project.)
What Did Esther Do?
Haman, the scheming high official and Jew-hater in King Xerxes’ court finagled a plan that would have killed all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. By that time, Esther had been chosen by the king to be his new wife—but she still had not revealed her Jewish identity to him.
Soon after the edict to exterminate the Jews had been signed, Mordecai pleaded with Esther to go to the king and beseech him to spare her people—even though it might mean she would be killed for her boldness in going to the king without his bidding.
Mordecai then speaks the best-known words in the book of Esther: “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14, RSV).
Esther determines to do as Mordecai suggested, and declares, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish” (4:16).
King Xerxes not only received Esther into his royal presence, he also acceded to her pleas for the Jewish people in the kingdom. On the day when the Jews were supposed to be killed, they were victorious over their attackers—and Haman and his ten sons were all killed.
Because of Esther, the Jews in fifth-century B.C.E. Persia were saved from destruction, and Jews around the world are joyfully celebrating that deliverance today.
Why Is Esther Important Now?
I understand why the Jews celebrate what Esther did and why the book that bears her name is in the Jewish Bible. I have more trouble understanding why the Christian Bible contains the book of Esther—other than that Jesus was a Jew and read the Jewish Bible.
Neither do I understand how some people last year likened DJT and his daughter Ivanka to Queen Esther.
During Purim last year, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CBN News (see here) it is very possible that President Trump is a modern-day Esther poised to defend Israel and save the Jewish people. And a headline in a January 2020 article in The Times of Israel proclaimed, “Ivanka Trump is the New Queen Esther.”
Given the state of Israel’s military strength and their ongoing mistreatment of the Palestinian people of the region, though, it seems farfetched to see Israel desperately needing the kind of assistance Esther gave to the Jewish people of her day.  
In thinking about Israel or the United States, it is highly unlikely  that Yahweh/God chose DJT and his daughter “for such a time as this”!
However, it may well be that we, and people around the world, are living in such a time as this to work together to protect the lives of millions of people from the growing danger of global warming, the great challenge of this decade, the topic of my first blog post of 2020.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Christianism: What It Is and Why It’s Objectionable

Christianism isn’t exactly a household word, but it expresses an important, and troubling aspect, of USAmerican religious and political life. Let’s look at what it is and why it’s objectionable. 
What is Christianism?
The contemporary use of the word Christianism/Christianist seems to have started with Andrew Sullivan. He coined those words in a June 2003 post in his political blog “The Daily Dish,” which he maintained from 2000 to 2015. Sullivan (b. 1963), wrote,
I have a new term for those on the fringes of the religious right who have used the Gospels to perpetuate their own aspirations for power, control and oppression: Christianists. They are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam.
In a June 2005 blog posting, Sullivan wrote, “Christianism—politicized Christianity—argues for the imposition of one religion’s values over the entire society.”
Sullivan later expanded on his usage of the terms in a May 2006 Time magazine article titled “My Problem with Christianism.”
Mark Shea, another blogger, who like Sullivan is a Catholic, is more contentious in his description of the current meaning of the term(s). He begins his Oct. 2018 Patheos.com article called ”I keep getting asked what I mean by ‘Christianism’” with these sharp words:
A Christianist is an adherent of a political [cult] centered on Donald Trump and informed by a magisterium of FOX, right wing talk radio and right wing social media, which uses Christian imagery and jargon in the service of a diabolical antichrist gospel of racism, war, torture apologetics, gun fanaticism, misogyny, mammon worship, cruelty to the least of these and hatred of both science and orthodox Christian belief.

Christianism and Christendom
Politicized Christianity, however, is certainly nothing new. In fact, it can be traced all the way back to Constantine in the 4th century. When Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire, Christendom was established—and it flourished for fifteen centuries until weakened by the historical process of secularization.
In his 2019 book Postcards from Babylon, Brian Zahnd writes negatively about Christendom: “Tying the gospel to the interests of empire had a deeply compromising effect upon the gospel, as seen in the sordid history of the church being mixed up with imperial conquest, colonialism, and military adventurism around the world” (p. 16).
Contemporary Christianism is manifested differently, but is similar in many ways to the ethos of Christendom that goes all the way back to Constantine—and to what we Anabaptists sometimes refer to as the “fall” of the Church.
Christianism and Christian Nationalism
The move toward “Christian nationalism” is one of the main ways Christianism has been apparent in recent years, although many seem to be unaware of that movement. The stealth activities of The Family and Project Blitz, both of which I wrote about last year (see here and here[LS1] ) is a part of the movement toward Christian nationalism.
Last year, the Baptist Joint Committee (BJC), an organization I have supported for decades, started a campaign called Christians Against Christian Nationalism (CACN). This campaign is clearly in opposition to Christianism, even though they don’t use that word.
(To learn more about BJC and CACN, see this important October 2019 article by Frederick Clarkson—or you can read directly about CACN and even sign the statement opposing Christian nationalism, as I did last year, by clicking here.)
Even though much more needs to be said, I close with more from Brian Zahnd, who wrote that “in the American experiment the United States deliberately broke with Christendom practice of claiming to be a Christian nation with a state church. It was America that pioneered the experiment of secular governance.”
And then he asserted:
America is not a Christian nation; it never was and never can be. The only institution that even has the possibility of being Christian is the church. When we confuse the nation with the church, it may not do any particular damage to the nation, but it will do irreparable harm to the church (p. 46).
Yes, Christianism is highly objectionable, for, indeed, it does “irreparable harm” to the work and witness of the faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
* * * * *
Two new books about Christian nationalism have just been published, and I am looking forward to learning more about Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (2/20) by Andrew L. Whitehead and The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (3/20) by Katherine Stewart.