History does indeed repeat itself

Repeated lies of Christian nationalism

This is the era in which I grew up. Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Right to Life. Republican Party. God bless America. All rolled into one.

Over the years I began to extract myself from that. Remnants remain and I will probably always be picking out small roots that fiercely remain. Kristin Kobes DuMez brings all that brief history flooding back in her bestseller Jesus and John Wayne. There are some hard realities I am reminded of as I read this book.

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The fluke

The title grabbed me. “Is Jemar Tisby’s best selling book about racism a fluke?”

Jemar Tisby’s first book is called The Color of Compromise and it is hard hitting. He gives an unvarnished look at the American church and its complicity all through history when it has come to slavery and racism. When George Floyd’s murder happened, his book flew off the shelves. It hit The New York Times bestseller list.

Is this a breakthrough moment or a “one off”?

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A step back from the brink?

This week was a whirlwind of activity with the SBC annual meeting in Nashville and a narrow “win” for the leadership of SBC going to the least offensive candidate. (He is actually a good man and I am familiar with his work in racial justice in the Mobile area.)

It was a tense week watching conspiracy theories and bad information flow into a meeting, and then taking a breath as the SBC decided, for the moment, to not plunge totally into an abyss of at least the appearance of Christian nationalism. Even if it’s a step back from the brink, it’s still clear that a good strong wind could take care of that in quick fashion.

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Could hardness of heart be on full display this week?

Over the past few years I have taught on and laid out some thoughts on the subject I call “Living in Babylon.” Over the past few years there has been a testing of what I have called “culturalized Christianity.” If this is something that is new to you, I suggest looking at my podcast page and listening to some episodes with the “Living in Babylon” title in it to get the idea of what I am laying out.

Basically, I felt a few years ago the white conservative American church was more “culturalized” than it wanted to admit and there was a window of opportunity for repentance and renewal. If we didn’t take that opportunity, we would be moved into a spiritual Babylonian captivity of our own making.

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For those in the back who still don’t understand systemic racism

In the past five years, and I fully understand what that represents in time and certain people that will go nameless, we’ve seen an unleashing of spiritual destruction. Decay is not strong enough as a description. The utter rottenness of white conservative Christianity has been exposed over and over. Instead of repenting, there has been a constant doubling down of Christian Nationalism, racism, and misogyny.

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To repent, To change…

While the violence in Tulsa was stunning, American history is littered with examples of street battles, racist uprisings, and mass killings. The history of the 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina, massacre and coup, in which a racist mob overthrew the city government, is its own category of chilling. So is the Rosewood Massacre. The list goes on. 

It is not “hating America” to acknowledge this is part of our story. It is not unpatriotic to understand that much of our present reality exists because the legacy of past atrocities does not fade as quickly as their memory. 

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The Tulsa Massacre