Book Review / March 19, 2021
Book Review - Jesus and John Wayne

Jesus and John Wayne

How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
By: Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Book Review

Very difficult book. I suspect most reactions to this book will be on the extremes of loving or hating. Maybe I'm wrong about that. My reaction is mixed and conflicted.

My favorite thing about this book is the treasure trove of source references it gives to evangelicalism over the last one hundred years. Most of the people I was familiar with, some I was not. Among the people I was familiar with, most of the negative things Du Mez points to, I was familiar with, but there were some surprises.

My second favorite thing was how Du Mez correlated her source material to support her premise. This does not mean that I agree with her, nor does it mean that I disagree with her. I consider it much more complicated than an either-or approach. The reason I liked how she correlated her source material to support her premise is because it broadened and deepened my understanding of the people and dynamics at stake as it relates to American Christian Nationalism. I have become deeply concerned with how many Christians have not been able to sort out their Christianity from the brand of Christian Nationalism that has been handed to them.

Another thing I liked about the book is how it throughly went after the culture of power and corruption in American Evangelicalism. As Du Mez demonstrates, there is a long line of problems with this within American Evangelicalism.

Finally, I am grateful for how this book will make me think. It is good for all of us to read something that challenges our thinking. And this book does just that.

There are also some concerns I have with this book.

Du Mez covered an incredible about of material. Although I cite that as a benefit above, I also consider it a negative. Du Mez applies her narrow premise to decades of people and situations. Truly, there is enough of her premise within these to write a cohesive book rings that true to a large amount of people. But I believe her premise is significantly too narrow for the span people and situations she applies it. I see this as leading to further polarization instead of productive talks for a solution.

Speaking of a solution, this brings me to my next concern. It is one thing to criticize people - even people that need it. It is another thing to offer a positive model. Perhaps some would view Du Mez's comments on egalitarianism toward a positive model. Even so, this would barely touch the surface. A book with such extensive criticism with barely any positive direction is very unhelpful to American religious culture. Sure, we need to hear these things. But, after you tell us these things, invest in a positive direction for us.

I do not know much about Kristin Kobes Du Mez. I did a little bit of searching online, but I still don't have a very good sense. As I listened to this book, it feels like I high view of the Scriptures is indefensible in Du Mez's mind. We should never excuse the improper behavior of someone who does hold to a high view of the Scriptures. That is not what I am talking about here. It seemed to me that Du Mez thought both the Scriptures and the people were the problem here.

I listened to this book on Audible. I considered it valuable enough to order a hard copy so I can continue to study it and its sources.

Book Review / Mar 19
Book Review - Jesus and John Wayne

Jesus and John Wayne

How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
By: Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Book Review

Very difficult book. I suspect most reactions to this book will be on the extremes of loving or hating. Maybe I'm wrong about that. My reaction is mixed and conflicted.

My favorite thing about this book is the treasure trove of source references it gives to evangelicalism over the last one hundred years. Most of the people I was familiar with, some I was not. Among the people I was familiar with, most of the negative things Du Mez points to, I was familiar with, but there were some surprises.

My second favorite thing was how Du Mez correlated her source material to support her premise. This does not mean that I agree with her, nor does it mean that I disagree with her. I consider it much more complicated than an either-or approach. The reason I liked how she correlated her source material to support her premise is because it broadened and deepened my understanding of the people and dynamics at stake as it relates to American Christian Nationalism. I have become deeply concerned with how many Christians have not been able to sort out their Christianity from the brand of Christian Nationalism that has been handed to them.

Another thing I liked about the book is how it throughly went after the culture of power and corruption in American Evangelicalism. As Du Mez demonstrates, there is a long line of problems with this within American Evangelicalism.

Finally, I am grateful for how this book will make me think. It is good for all of us to read something that challenges our thinking. And this book does just that.

There are also some concerns I have with this book.

Du Mez covered an incredible about of material. Although I cite that as a benefit above, I also consider it a negative. Du Mez applies her narrow premise to decades of people and situations. Truly, there is enough of her premise within these to write a cohesive book rings that true to a large amount of people. But I believe her premise is significantly too narrow for the span people and situations she applies it. I see this as leading to further polarization instead of productive talks for a solution.

Speaking of a solution, this brings me to my next concern. It is one thing to criticize people - even people that need it. It is another thing to offer a positive model. Perhaps some would view Du Mez's comments on egalitarianism toward a positive model. Even so, this would barely touch the surface. A book with such extensive criticism with barely any positive direction is very unhelpful to American religious culture. Sure, we need to hear these things. But, after you tell us these things, invest in a positive direction for us.

I do not know much about Kristin Kobes Du Mez. I did a little bit of searching online, but I still don't have a very good sense. As I listened to this book, it feels like I high view of the Scriptures is indefensible in Du Mez's mind. We should never excuse the improper behavior of someone who does hold to a high view of the Scriptures. That is not what I am talking about here. It seemed to me that Du Mez thought both the Scriptures and the people were the problem here.

I listened to this book on Audible. I considered it valuable enough to order a hard copy so I can continue to study it and its sources.

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