Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

God’s will with the will of the nation and resolve morality into the aims of national power, or to choose the “local tradition” of adherence to God’s priorities even when they clash with the priorities and values of empire. The latter involves first recognizing that there is a necessary and unresolvable conflict between any national will and Judeo-Christian morality. Brueggemann asks, will the Christian church be a national church or will it be governed only by God? … More Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

the second chapter of Walter Brueggemann’s book Out of Babylon, the “local tradition” of the United States, as the “shining city on a hill,” is explored in the context of prophetic calls for examination and repentance both in the Old Testament and in Walter Brueggemann’s theology. People always design narratives to explain their situation and role in the world, and Brueggemann teaches that this is not only inevitable but good–or it can be, if the story we tell is not simply delusion but pushes us to act in according to the values we say we embrace. In this case, he’s talking about Biblical Christian values and he is asking American Christians what (or who) they really stand for. I think this is a very worthy question, so this session is devoted to it. … More The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

discussing Brueggemann’s view that US Christians who hew to the “City on the Hill” ideology are committing idolatry and are aligning with Empire and not with God, the two being ultimately opposed. This is not to establish a mere negative argument (as in, this is what a Christian is not), but rather to begin to point to a positive pronouncement (this is what a Christian or other person faithful to God is) . … More Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

“If they served their God as they have served their Pork King…” (4)

Chesterton says of Christians “…if they had served their God as they have served their Pork King and their Petrol King, the success of our whole Distributive democracy would stare at the world like one of their flaming sky signs and scrape the sky like one of their crazy towers.” (p. 123, The Outline of Sanity) Part 2 of this book includes discussion of how Christians actually think about topics like capitalism, socialism, and Distributism, and how Chesterton wishes they’d think. Characters like the “old gentleman” and the “poor old clergyman” show how focusing on the favored target (socialism) or simply living in an imaginary world (the land of competitive capitalism) keep many such characters in a situation that amounts to giving up and rolling over. … More “If they served their God as they have served their Pork King…” (4)

“If they served their God as they have served their Pork King…” (4-Video)

Chesterton says of Christians “…if they had served their God as they have served their Pork King and their Petrol King, the success of our whole Distributive democracy would stare at the world like one of their flaming sky signs and scrape the sky like one of their crazy towers.” (p. 123, The Outline of Sanity) Part 2 of this book includes discussion of how Christians actually think about topics like capitalism, socialism, and Distributism, and how Chesterton wishes they’d think. Characters like the “old gentleman” and the “poor old clergyman” show how focusing on the favored target (socialism) or simply living in an imaginary world (the land of competitive capitalism) keep many such characters in a situation that amounts to giving up and rolling over. … More “If they served their God as they have served their Pork King…” (4-Video)

Where did Christians go wrong? A conversation w/ Spencer Hess on The Enchantments of Mammon (1-Video)

In this first part of our recent conversation, Spencer and I discuss what we took away from Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon. I did a series on this book not long ago, and I”ll put the playlist in a link below. We discuss the question of where Christianity started going wrong, McCarraher’s adoption of Romanticism, his preference for socialism and socialism’s compatibility with Christianity, and his even greater preference for some sort of Christian anarchism. What is the role of the church in creating community–and why doesn’t the church do it well? And we don’t mean getting together for a book club or coffee klatsch. … More Where did Christians go wrong? A conversation w/ Spencer Hess on The Enchantments of Mammon (1-Video)

Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman: Prophets of Another Faith (McCarraher 9-Audio)

Inspired by Chapter 26 of Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon entitled “The New Testament of Capitalism,” I focus on the intellectuals whose ideas undergird the faith in the “free market.” Taking both the concept of faith and what these thinkers said seriously, it’s hard to miss that their perspective runs counter to the faith of people of the book (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) because it enchants the market with godlike and irresistible “laws of nature” and promises to solve all the world’s problems. Neoliberal capitalism is another ideology that, because it is ultimately a human invention, cannot deliver the grandiose benefits it promises, and yet requires of its believers more unquestioning reverence than any truly transcendent power asks of them. … More Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman: Prophets of Another Faith (McCarraher 9-Audio)

What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Audio)

In a discussion that launches from Part 4 of McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, especially the part on the Arts and Crafts movement and its preoccupation with beauty, we get into the question of how to view human labor and the material world. McCarraher’s sacramental view of nature informs a discussion of whether and how it is realistic and beneficial to see matter as sacred. What would it mean for Christianity and other religions if we did? What would it mean for work and for the economy?
More What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Audio)

What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Video)

In a discussion that launches from Part 4 of McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, especially the part on the Arts and Crafts movement and its preoccupation with beauty, we get into the question of how to view human labor and the material world. McCarraher’s sacramental view of nature informs a discussion of whether and how it is realistic and beneficial to see matter as sacred. What would it mean for Christianity and other religions if we did? What would it mean for work and for the economy? … More What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Video)

Does the Corporate God Love Us? (McCarraher 5-Audio)

Drawing from Part 3 of Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, I take a good look at the way evangelical Christians in the late 19th century put God and Mammon on the same level. The corporation was raised to the dignity of a human person in U.S. law, begging the question of whether anyone who believes that can really adequately respect human life as “made in the image and likeness of God.” … More Does the Corporate God Love Us? (McCarraher 5-Audio)