Books I’m Hoping to Read in 2022

What a blessing it is to have access to all of these wonderful books.

  1. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard. I’ve begun this book already and so far it hasn’t disappointed.
  2. In God We Don’t Trust by David Bercot. Looking at the history of America, questioning the “In God We Trust” narrative. 
  3. Statistical Inference as Severe Testing (How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars) by Deborah Mayo. A book on the philosophy of statistical testing by someone who seems to be firmly in favor of null hypothesis significance testing. 
  4. The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney: The Life Story of America’s Greatest Evangelist–In His Own Words by Charles Finney. Evidently this dude was something else in his spiritual fervor and insight.
  5. The road to Fort Hamilton and Fort Hamilton Diary: The St. Clair Campaign both by Jim Blount. A couple of short accounts regarding Hamilton history.
  6. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. A devotional classic from the 15th century.
  7. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by NT Wright. I need to read more of NT Wright, and this one seems like a good place to start. 
  8. Cathedrals, Castles, and Caves: The Origins of the Anabaptist Faith by Marcus Yoder. I look forward to reading this treatment of Anabaptist history written by someone I know personally.
  9. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. A recommendation from my brother-in-law, in the team-building/leadership category.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
  11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
  12. Shroud for the Archbishop (A Sister Fidelma Mystery) by Peter Tremayne
  13. The Last Detective (A Peter Diamond Mystery) by Peter Lovesey

Several books about finances and Jesus:

  1. Faith and Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money by Justo L. González
  2. Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions by Craig Blomberg
  3. Through the Eye of a Needle: The Doctrine of Nonaccumulation by Roger Hertzler

And here are a number of additional books I considered including in my list above:

  1. Doubt, Faith, & Certainty by Anthony Thiselton
  2. Golden Apples in Silver Bowls: The Rediscovery of Redeeming Love by Leonard Gross
  3. The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
  4. The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
  5. Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell
  6. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James Smith
  7. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster
  8. The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church by Greg Boyd
  9. The Gospel Comes with a Housekey: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosario Butterfield
  10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This seems to be one of those “how do humans do cognition” books, perhaps in the same ballpark as Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. Reading a little about it quickly surfaced some concerns regarding the unreplicability of some of the studies it cites, so I’m going in cautiously. 
  11. Whose Justice? Which Rationality? By Alisdair MacIntyre
  12. Eusebius, The Church History
  13. Hamilton, Ohio: Its Architecture and History by James Schwartz
  14. Silent Rise: A City, the Arts, and a Blue-Collar Kid by Rick Jones
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The Books I read in 2021

I read eighteen books in 2021, including nine of the ten that I listed at the beginning of the year. As usual, I read a number of great books. Some of the books I read were part of a missions program we participated in during the summer, so they were nowhere to be found in my original list. Among these 2021 books, there were no major clunkers. I’ll categorize the books into three categories: Strongly recommend; recommend; and meh.

Strongly Recommend

  1. The Frontiersman: A Narrative by Allan Eckert. Fantastic book if you’re interested in the history of the Ohio frontier. Sad, as you realize the great amount of violence perpetrated by both the white settlers and native Americans. But the Moravians make an appearance and shine brightly as representatives of the way of Jesus. The question I have: What if the settlers, many of whom professed to follow Jesus, had refused to commit any violence against the native Americans?
  2. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King by Matthew Bates. Has changed how I think about what “faith” in Jesus is. Bates argues that the word for faith is better translated as “allegiance”, and that this allegiance naturally includes not only intellectual assent but also the acts inherent in following Jesus as king. This book connects strongly to Anabaptist understandings of discipleship.
  3. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Provides insights regarding how to effectively work together as a team. The insight regarding the importance of trust in a team environment was particularly helpful to me.
  4. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The number of profound ideas and quotes in this thin volume is staggering. A book on Christian community that deserves its status as a classic. 
  5. Diamond Dust: A Peter Diamond Mystery, by Peter Lovesey. Just an amazing page-turner; a great pleasure to read.
  6. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. A straightforward call to follow Jesus completely, instead of adding him to your pursuit of ease and comfort via the American Dream. I didn’t love the writing style, but its content is well worth considering. Next year, I’m going to read about finances and Christianity – this was a great book to start things off.
  7. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman. The cultural analysis of this book was useful to help explain what we observe in western society, particularly regarding sexuality and gender.

Recommend

  1. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Wingfeather Saga Book 1) by Andrew Peterson. Too silly for me, but a fun read that my boys love.
  2. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. I read much – though not quite all – of this collection of essays regarding mission work. A lot of really valuable mission history, philosophy and strategy.
  3. Bonding and the Missionary Task and Language Learning is Communication – is Ministry, both by Brewster and Brewster. A couple of short pieces with wisdom about how to start out in a new culture as a missionary.
  4. The Highway and Me and My Earl Gray Tea, by Emily Smucker. Though I may be biased since this book was written by my cousin, I thought it was an engrossing read.
  5. The Anabaptist View of the Church by Franklin Littell. 
  6. The Didache; Justin Martyr’s First Apology; Tertullian’s Apology on Behalf of the Christians. Much in these early church writings were references that were completely foreign to me. Yet, the insight they give to the thinking and practice of the early church is worth the time.
  7. Absolution by Murder (A Sister Fidelma Mystery) by Peter Ellis. A fine book, with all the trappings of a classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. But not as good as Agatha Christie.

Meh

  1. Anyone, Anywhere, Any Time: Lead Muslims to Christ Now! by Mike Shipman. A book about a particular method of evangelism.
  2. Spiritual Warfare, by Timothy Warner
  3. Have We No Rights? by Mabel Williamson 
  4. The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World, by Laura Imai Messina. I feel like I should have liked this book, and it wasn’t like it was bad. I just didn’t really get it.
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2021 Reading List

As usual, so excited about my reading list for the upcoming year.

  1. The Frontiersman: A Narrative by Allan Eckert. Recommended independently by a couple of people who live in this area. A narrative frontier history centered on the Ohio River in the late 1700s and early 1800s. In the edition that I’m reading, Fort Hamilton (now Hamilton, OH, where I live) even gets its own illustration. 
  2. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King by Matthew Bates. Maybe “allegiance” is a better sola than “faith”. Perhaps it is also a better translation of pistis than “faith”. I hope I can better understand “faith, works, and the gospel” and how they work together.
  3. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman. What is the underlying cultural or worldview change that has facilitated a radical shift in how western society views everything from careers to gender and sexuality? 
  4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Though not told from a Christian perspective, I expect there to be wisdom in this book that is relevant to the church and to teams of those in ministry. 
  5. The Highway and Me and My Earl Gray Tea by Emily Smucker. Gotta read my cousin’s book. 
  6. Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne. The first of a series of murder mysteries set in seventh century Ireland. 
  7. The Didache (1st century); Justin Martyr’s First Apology (2nd century); Tertullian’s Apology On Behalf of the Christians (late 2nd century). A few early church writings.
  8. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A classic on Christian community. 
  9. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard. A book about discipleship. 
  10. The Anabaptist View of the Church by Franklin Littell. Is an Anabaptist view of the church fundamentally different from the views of other Christian groups? 

I hope I can read more than the above 10, and if I do here are some strong contenders (this list keeps on growing):

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Many Great Books: my 2020 reading

In 2020, I read 12 books. Ain’t much, but it’s honest work. I derive an inordinate amount of pleasure from making and curating my book lists, so please indulge me here.

For my 2020 list, I originally listed nine, and of those I read eight. The one I didn’t was Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Instead, I read The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. Besides those nine, I also read The Hour That Changes the World by Dick Eastman and two youth novels: Holes by Louis Sachar and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. Overall I read one biography (To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson), three books on various aspects of church history (The Rise of Christianity, The Anatomy of a Hybrid, and The Secret of the Strength), two books on how to live and work well/efficiently (Deep Work and The Lazy Genius), two books on Christian living (When Helping Hurts and The Hour that Changes the World), three novels (Song of Solomon, Holes, and The City of Ember), and one book about moral psychology (The Righteous Mind).

I read some fantastic books in 2020, books that have spiritually inspired me or changed/deepened how I think or both. Here are some of the most impactful:

  • When Helping Hurts talks about poverty and, from a Christian perspective, how to alleviate it. They define poverty as any deficit of shalom in our lives, leading to the realization that we all experience poverty, whether materially or spiritually or in how we view ourselves or in how we relate to others. That idea alone is worth the time and expense of reading the book, but it contains much more that is worthwhile. 
  • The Secret of the Strength provides an account of the early Anabaptists and how they determined to simply follow Jesus, no matter the cost. Many of them died for their faith. 
  • To the Golden Shore was similarly inspiring. A biography of Adoniram Judson, it tells the story of a man who felt God’s call to Asia and left everything he knew in New England, expecting that he would never return. He endured tremendous physical hardship and lost wives and children due at least in part to the conditions of his mission work. But through him the Lord established a Christian church in Burma whose legacy persists to this day. 
  • The Rise of Christianity is a sociologist’s attempt to understand how it was that Christianity went from just a few adherents to millions in 300 years. It is packed full of insights and inferences regarding early Christianity. For instance: estimates are that Christianity grew by about 3-4% per year over its first three centuries; it probably grew primarily by believers sharing their faith with the people they knew; Christians were better equipped than their pagan neighbors to respond to the major pandemic of 165 A.D. (possibly smallpox, and it was estimated to have killed between ⅓ and ¼ of the population); Christianity provided new moral ideas to the culture within which it grew – the concept of mercy as well as love not only for God but for each other and even for people outside of the Christian community. 
  • Anatomy of a Hybrid traces the monster that was the integration of the church and the state in the fourth century. It led to terrible things, like the church sanctioning violent suppression of anyone who was at odds with the church. 
  • An analogy from The Righteous Mind has made its way into the language my wife and I use to talk about ideas. The analogy is of an elephant with a rider, representing how people make moral judgments. The rider is our conscious mind; the elephant is our intuitions. We tend to think that our judgments are made primarily by our conscious mind, but the book presents a convincing case that the elephant does almost all of the work. Most of the time, our moral judgments are rationalizations of our already-existing intuitions. Our rider can lean in one direction or another, but that’s most likely an indication of our underlying intuition.
  • The Hour That Changes the World has added to my understanding that meaningful prayer need not be drudgery and can last much more than a few minutes.

The Lazy Genius Way and Deep Work are both about getting stuff done in a healthy, efficient way. The one idea from Deep Work that I’m determined to use: carve out substantial time to do concentrated deep work. Finding a morning to work on something is doable, but I’ve found it very difficult to find multiple days to completely dedicate to a project, even during time that school is not in session. But I’m going to keep trying.

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2020 Book List

As always, the list looks shiny and new and exciting. Last year I planned for nine and read eleven. We’ll try the same thing this time, and maybe I’ll get it to twelve.

  1. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. One of the most famous books of one of the most acclaimed American novelists.
  2. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. I keep hearing this book referred to, and always in glowing terms.
  3. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. I’m pretty sure I agree with the premise and conclusion of this book. Jesus and the Imago Dei motivate me to care about the impoverished, and I hope this book can help me better understand the problem and spur me to more action on the behalf of those in poverty.
  4. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson. Classic biography of the famous missionary.
  5. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. I do things to try to be reasonably efficient in how I use my time at work, but I hope to learn more.
  6. The Anatomy of a Hybrid: A Study in Church-State Relationships by Leonard Verduin. How does God’s use of force via the state align with the evident teaching of Jesus that Christians should refrain from violence? This is a common question, and I hope that this book will help me develop my thinking on the issue.
  7. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Art of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. Amy’s choice for me to read. The first part is about how to cook; the last part is mostly recipes. I reserve the right to skip over the recipes.
  8. The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries by Rodney Stark. How did it happen that Christianity became such an important and successful movement? 
  9. The Secret of the Strength: What Would the Anabaptists Tell This Generation? by Peter Hoover

Here are some other books that I’d love to read, but will probably have to wait until 2021:

  1. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King by Matthew Bates
  2. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  3. One-Anothering by Simon Schrock
  4. Small teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by Lang
  5. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James Smith
  6. Effective Intercultural Communication: A Christian Perspective (Encountering Mission) by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener
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Many Good Books, and One Clunker: Recapping my 2019 Reading List

I had nine books on my list last year, and ended up reading 11 (though the 11th is not quite finished). There were a lot of excellent books, and one dud.

First, the good.

I read a book about how to apply cognitive behavioral therapy to one’s eating habits, for weight control. It works and it’s sustainable, but of course it’s not easy. I recommend it, The Beck Diet Solution.

I read four stories, three nonfiction and one novel. The novel was a Grisham tale (The Broker) set in Italy, read when Amy and I went to that country for a statistics conference. The other three included a memoir of a remarkable Christian conversion (The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith), an unbelievable true story that also featured a moving Christian conversion (Unbroken), and a story about a group of college rowers who won Olympic gold (Boys in the Boat).

Three books were about various Christian issues. One was a historical consideration of the Lord’s supper in the early church (Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries), from which I learned a lot about how messy the early church was and how zealously they guarded the Lord’s table. Another (The Benedict Option) was a call from a politically conservative, capital-O Orthodox Christian for the church to withdraw from the public square in order to strengthen itself against what he sees as a culture that is becoming more hostile toward the faith. Also, an excellent book from Tim Keller about justice (Generous Justice) – his reformed theology comes through, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand a Christian perspective on justice, especially for Christians who tend to align with either the political right or left. God has a way of scrambling categories.

Two books were philosophical. Mind and Cosmos is a short book by Thomas Nagel that confronts the insuperable problem of naturalism, namely that it fails to explain evident non-physical aspects of our existence such as mind and meaning. Unfortunately, he dismisses theism (but at least he considers it), and thus is left without a reasonable solution. I’m also reading (as of this writing, I haven’t quite finished it) a book (Christian and Humanist Foundations for Statistical Inference) about how various paradigms of statistical inference are connected to religious and/or humanist worldviews. For stat nerds, the argument is that strict null hypothesis significance testing, as well as objective Bayesianism, rely on a type of reductive mathematicism that unjustifiably privileges the quantitative over other aspects of reality. Indirect frequentist inference, which uses measures like p-values to informally guide decision-making, is subjective, relatively unprincipled, and is thus argued to reflect a postmodern worldview. This leaves subjective Bayesianism, which is argued to be consistent with a Christian view of reality.

This leaves the dud. I was hoping James Dobson’s well-known book about parenting boys (Bringing Up Boys) would provide me with sage advice based on the Scriptures and his experience. There was a bit of that, but also a lot of culture war propaganda. No thanks.

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Should Christians Retreat?

An argument can be made that the liberal democratic societies across the west are becoming more hostile to orthodox Christianity. If Christians believe this argument, they might wonder what they should do about it.

The response that most Christians in America have taken for granted is to use the levers of political power to try to turn the tide back toward an America that shares more of their values. I think this is the wrong thing to do.

Here’s another option: develop parallel, countercultural practices and institutions to serve as bulwarks within which we are strengthened, and with this strength engage the prevailing post-Christian culture in Christlike ways.

Rob Dreher’s The Benedict Option is a manifesto for this latter strategy. He gives room for political engagement, but argues pragmatically that using politics to advance Christian-friendly public policy has failed and should be minimized in favor of the BenOp. I think there are principled theological reasons for Christians to stay out of worldly politics, but despite that difference I see a lot of similarities between the BenOp and Anabaptism. Among them:

  • emphasis on separation
  • belief that worldly politics will not save us
  • emphasis on close Christian community

I do worry about a strategy that focuses so much on defense. Perhaps it will produce communities whose meaningful engagement with the outside world is overwhelmed by inward-looking programs. We must always keep in front of us Christ’s command to make disciples; this is a task that requires boldness and creativity not just safeguarding.

Still, many of the ideas in The Benedict Option provide needed correctives to the current American church. We can’t go along and get along culturally, we can’t do the work of Jesus using worldly weapons, we can’t absorb false assumptions about sexual autonomy and ethics – we can’t do these things and expect to successfully transmit our faith to the next generation, let alone expand the borders of Christ’s kingdom beyond our families.

One final thought: I’m struck by how the recently founded Sattler College,along with older Mennonite schools like Faith Builders, align with many of the strategies of the Benedict Option. They provide retreat as well as training and development for Christian students and, as far as I can tell, equip students to go and do, not just hunker down.

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2019 Book List

This year I’m shooting for nine books.

1. The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith Beck. This year, I asked Amy to choose a book for me to read. She got me interested in Beck’s cognitive behavioral approach to weight loss and control, so here we are.

2. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosario Butterfield. This author keeps coming up, along with her emphasis on Christian hospitality.

3. Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries by Werner Elert. I want to learn more about how the early church did Communion.

4. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rob Dreher. An influential book, advocating more separation between the church and the world, written by someone who is part of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

5. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel. A secular philosopher calling into question certain materialist dogmas.

6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. I should have read this book long ago.

7. Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller. I’ve been wanting to read Keller and also to read about justice from a Christian perspective.

8. Christian and Humanist Foundations for Statistical Inference: Religious Control of Statistical Paradigms by Andrew Hartley. Written by an online acquaintance, this book deals with the philosophy of statistics.

9. Bringing up Boys: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Men by James Dobson. We’re trying to bring up some boys; this is a classic book on the subject.

I expect other books to pop up over the year, but here are a few others that I’d like to read, whether this year or in the future:

  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
  • When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself by Corbett and Fikkert
  • Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity by David Bercot
  • Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang
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The 2018 Book List: A Look Back

A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to read more books, so I posted a modest reading goal to my blog. Now, it’s becoming a yearly routine I anticipate: look back on the books I read in the past year, and look forward to the year ahead.

In 2018, my goal was to read six books. I can enthusiastically report that I read eight. Here is the list of the books I read in 2018:

1. Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence. I posted an essay inspired by this book.
2. The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith. And some thoughts of mine.
3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Still hope to gather and share my thoughts on this provocative book.
4. 1913 to 2013 in 13 Miles: The Hamilton, Ohio 1913 Flood Then and Now.
5. Life of Pi. A neat piece of fiction with an ending that makes you go, “Wait a minute, now what is going on here?!?”
6. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Really helpful input on grace-infused child-training.
7. Station Eleven. A post-apocalyptic novel that was the One City One Book choice for Hamilton, OH (my town) this year.
8. King Jesus Claims His Church. Finny Kuruvilla has many keen insights in this book. Though I don’t agree in all details I wish all Christians would read it, for it is a compelling, clear-eyed, uncompromising Kingdom vision of Christianity rooted in Scripture and the practices of the historical suffering church. It offers many contrasts to the most well-known versions of Christianity in the United States (e.g. Catholicism, high Protestant churches, evangelicalism, etc.).

The first six books comprised my list as it was at the beginning of 2018; the last two were late additions. My goal is to write at least a little piece that is inspired by each book, so I have something compact to remember them by. But if I fail at that goal, I won’t mind too much. I’m just happy to be reading and thinking through interesting books.

If things go as planned, my shiny new 2019 book list will post tomorrow.

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Not with this world’s weapons

In the 4th century, the Christian church became an institution joined with the state. In some ways, the alliance made sense – with this newfound money and might the Gospel could be spread much further and wider. And looking back, a tremendous amount of good resulted. For a large part of the world, the ambient culture became strongly infused with Christian mores. In fact, Judeo-Christian ethics became the default in many places, and it is likely that many of the artistic and technological advances made in the next 1600 years were made possible by this connection between society and Christianity.

But did the ends justify the means? I don’t think so.

The price for the power and influence of Christendom was to distort Jesus’ gospel message. Instead of mimicking the humility of Christ and his message of restoration for the powerless, the poor, the sick (see Luke 4:16-21 and Luke 6:17-26) – instead of that, the church became powerful and rich and corrupt and actually forcibly coerced people to join it!

I believe that it’s the residue of this unholy alliance that infects modern American politics, and in particular the association of political power and the church. And just as in those early days of Christendom when believers were tempted to accept worldly power and methods in service of a greater good, American Christians today face the same temptation. Now especially, when years of dogged cultivation of conservative politicians and judges may have the U.S. on the cusp of overturning Roe v. Wade. But the moral compromise required to get there, the un-Christlikeness, the worldly tactics, the lack of comity – perfectly embodied by Donald Trump and plainly on display during Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation hearing – should stop us in our tracks.

I will say again: in Jesus’ kingdom, the ends don’t justify the means.

The Anabaptist movement – or at least the part with which I identify – seemed to clearly see this. They saw that to fight for Jesus’ kingdom required a different set of tools than those wielded by human governments.

You can’t help build a kingdom not of this world with this world’s weapons. If we could then, as Jesus said, we would fight. Instead, we seize the weapons of the Spirit and of the upside-down kingdom. We love and serve everyone, we do justice, we love mercy, and refuse to compromise His values even for the possibility of some “greater good”. Jesus is the greater good, and so we follow him.

Post inspired by The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray.
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