If you want to start a fight, talk about religion. Or politics. OR BOTH!
For much of my adult life, I’ve wrestled with what it looks like to apply my faith to public life. This especially becomes a question during election season, when some Christians speak as if the entire fate of the world rests on who is elected. I read this book around the 2008 election when people were losing their mind and the message within it is more pertinent then ever.
Claiborne spends time in the Bible and the early church. Christians have always been seduced by political power. Jesus rejected this seduction in the garden, but throughout history Christians have grabbed for such power. Still today, you do not have to look far to see Christians ignoring principles they once held in the hopes of winning an election (kind of like Esau trading his inheritance for some stew).
One of the roots that makes this temptation so appealing is the assumption in some circles that America is special, unique or God’s favorite. I grew up in an atmosphere where it was simply taken for granted that America was good and favored by god. Claiborne reminds us that America is deeply broken.
Does admitting this bother you? Why? The whole point is that there is one perfect King and one perfect Kingdom. All else falls short. Claiborne’s book is a reminder to those who follow Jesus that you cannot serve two masters and that if we give in to the temptation for earthly power, we’ll lose it all. Its a beautiful, brilliant and challenging book.