As a jumping off point for this episode, I offer up for your consideration ‘Jesus and John Wayne among the Deplorables’ by Michael Young.
Published March 11th at American Reformer, the subject of the book review is a title from last summer by Kristin Kobes Du Mez, ‘Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.’
With a name like that, you can’t but help tip your hat. Putting Christ and the Duke together is a sure-fire way to get people’s attention. But the subtitle contains the substance, and herein lies the rub – like when you find out that the real-life actor and comedian who plays Ron Swanson is not actually a conservative.
How precisely white Evangelicals are alleged by Du Mez to have corrupted the Christian faith and fractured America I mean to find out in more detail when I soon read her book in its entirety. But for this episode in the meantime we can work off Michael Young’s review.
The long and short of it is that American Christianity needs deconstructing.
Oh, we’ve got trouble, right here in River City. It starts with a P and it ends with -atriarchy.
One gets the distinct impression that we are being told to never mind what the Bible says. And listen to Michael Foucault instead.
We’ve all been reading and studying and teaching and applying the Scriptures wrong all this time. And that is the fault of Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea and over a millennium-and-a-half of truth claims disguising repressive power plays by men.
Scandal after scandal among conservative culture warriors in American Evangelicalism, culminating in the majority of American Evangelicals voting for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 – it all adds up to one thing. We are to believe that our Christianity is rotten to the core.
We thought we were striving for sound doctrine and careful exegesis. What really happened was that women and minorities were being kept down all this time by straight white men pursuing sex and power, cloaking their selfish ambition in a lot of fine-sounding talk about Jesus which they really didn’t mean, and therefore we shouldn’t either.
Once again, what is needed with the deconstructionists is to deconstruct their deconstructionism. When we do this, what we find is a direct line of thought back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau who worked from the premise that “Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains.”
This for its part led to the deeply-held conviction many of us now cling stubbornly to that authentic self-expression is the greatest good we can pursue. This in turn leads to one inescapable conclusion that we are inherently good, not born with a sinful nature which we must be saved from by the Almighty.
Furthermore, we find also if we go even farther back the original question from the serpent to the first woman Eve. “Hath God said?”
But suppose the answer to the question is in the affirmative and God hath said. What then? Put simply, sometimes then we will just argue ourselves in circles that we can only understand what God said rightly if we have the Devil translate and interpret the plain meaning for us. And then we write books like ‘Jesus and John Wayne.’
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