Sometimes the Divine is revealed in a way that stops us in our tracks, almost paralyzed by the beauty. And we realize that what is before our eyes is greater than the sum of the parts.
The Divine peeks through
These are trying times for so many of us. I am recording my life into recovery and wellness. And with that, I am passing along things I did as self-help. For one thing, I sought out ways to change my thought-life. Louise Hay and others feed me with nourishment I desperately needed when I needed it.
Positive thoughts gave me my life back, transformed.
Best wishes for you and the life you desire . . .
Birth Of A (Christian) Nation: Scholars Debate The Genesis Of A Popular Myth
The New York Times over the weekend ran a provocative column by Kevin M. Kruse, a history professor at Princeton University, on the origins of the “Christian nation” myth.
Kruse, author of the book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, argues that the “Christian nation” idea really took off in the early 1930s when a band of business leaders endorsed the concept as a way of fighting back against President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
I haven’t read Kruse’s book, but his Timescolumn is thought-provoking and well argued. It’s worth your time. I was especially interested in Kruse’s use of the term “Christian libertarian” to describe some of the prominent corporate leaders of the “Christian nation” crusade. I’ve had the same thought while attending meetings of Religious Right organizations. At the annual Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC) there’s very little talk these days about religion and theology. Rather, the events have the feel of Heritage Foundation briefings. (In fact, the Heritage Foundation co-sponsors the Summit.)
These events are essentially primers of libertarian economic theory, with the main idea of the FRC these days being not that Jesus is good but that government is always bad. God is still part of their trinity, but the other two figures are President Ronald W. Reagan and Ayn Rand. (Ironically, Rand was an atheist.) At the Summit, Reagan’s name is dropped constantly – Jesus’s, not so much.
Kruse’s ideas are interesting and worth exploring in more detail, but I think there may be more to the story. This July, former Americans United Legal Director Steven K. Green will publish a new book titled Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding. I received an early copy and read it a few weeks ago. Green, who is now a professor of law at Willamette University in Oregon, argues that the “Christian nation” myth springs from the 1820s, during a time of growing religious piety when a generation that rose up after the Founding Fathers began to cast about for a foundational myth that would link the still-new nation with the Almighty in a profound way.
I think Kruse and Green are both right. The “Christian nation” thesis, it seems to me, rears its head most powerfully during times of change and tension. It’s not surprising that the concept first appeared early in the 19th century. As the growing nation struggled to find its place on the world stage, a belief that the United States was God’s holy experiment and somehow favored by the hand of Providence provided comfort and assurance that what the country and its leaders did was right and good because it was ordained by God. (Even when it wasn’t right – such as our treatment of the Native peoples.)
The concept arose again powerfully during the Civil War (with both sides claiming God’s support) and its aftermath. The belief was that a “Christian nation” would sort through the chaos and secure its destiny and build a new American empire from sea to sea.
During the Great Depression, obviously a time of great upheaval, the “Christian nation” concept flared anew. If Kruse is right, this time it was pressed into service to fend off the rise of centralized, activist government and the “socialism” of the New Deal.
The nation saw a flicker of the concept again during World War II, with some pastors arguing that only a unified “Christian nation” could defeat the Axis Powers. But the idea went into fairly steep decline for many years after that. Kruse notes that President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s religious concepts were much more non-sectarian. Thus, it was blandly ecumenical phrases like “In God We Trust” and “under God” that were pressed into service against the Communists. America’s “civil religion” was born, a concept that is itself not without problems.
One thing is clear: The “Christian nation” concept does not belong to the Founders. The idea has surfaced from time to time throughout our history, but it can’t be pinned on the men who wrote the Constitution.
For proof of that, we need only read the text of the document itself.
Tell your story!
I'm wrote my story in hopes that it will inspire others to share their story. I don't know if there is a "book" in everyone but I know for certain there is a story in there. I encourage you to share your story of overcoming some of life's challenges. Someone needs to hear what you have to say. They are waiting!
"I trust you are challenged by the reinterpretation of The Two Agreements to step beyond a limited life imposed on you by religion. With the reinterpretation, we leave the separation of saints and sinners behind and embrace inclusion of all humanity regardless of race, religion, past “crimes,” or other demographic barriers. All humans are children of God growing into maturity of oneness in the unnamable One. Our gaining spiritual maturity makes it possible to live from the Christ mind.
And living from the Christ mind, we reserve judgment.
Consequently, when we believe we are being judged by others, it causes pain and suffering. It causes fear of eternal separation from God. It causes guilt for not being spiritual enough to go to heaven. It causes shame for being an imperfect human. We do not have to be controlled by fear when we perceive others are judging us. We can choose to react as Jesus did by turning the other cheek."
The Two Agreements: A Good News Story for Our Time
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