Thursday, August 27, 2015
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July 2015: Resources for God and Country: What About the “And”?
Thank you for visiting this resource for members and friends of Camarillo UMC, along with all who might be interested in a deeper understanding of the issue of ‘God and country.’
On Sunday, July 5, 2015, I briefly touched on this during my sermon:
“The relationship of God and country is a point of contrasting opinions that is older than this county, so much so that it is the chief progenitor of this country, a driving force in its very founding—but not in the way you might think it is! The history of competing ideas about church and state is old enough and complex enough that it doesn’t really fit into this one-third of one hour of one day of the week, so I’ll be posting a variety of resources on-line (and in print upon request.)”
To that end, here are a series of links to a few articles and commentaries that have touched me in several ways:
  • I learned several important things that I did not know, or assumed I knew but were different or flat wrong.
  • I found that I am just one among many in a long line who have distinct and diverse opinions about this issue.
  • The differences and the connections between my sensibilities as an American and as a Christian pastor became much clearer and therefore helpful to my feelings and my thinking.
With all that in mind, let me repeat what I also said in the sermon:
“I commend these resources to your reading and prayerful consideration, so that with a wider timeframe on another day we can move beyond contrasting assumptions and consider this with the necessary respect and thoughtfulness it deserves.”
  • A word of caution: this is an issue of long-standing complexity that does not yield to our contemporary habit of skim-reading 500 word essays. In particular, the PDF “Faith of Our Fathers” is a dense read, but genuinely necessary to any informed discussion of this issue.
  • The most explicit analysis of the question (from a theological perspective) is the ‘redletter’ nationalistic corruption article; a glimpse into the unexpected consequences of blurring the “and” of the title is the “where did God go” article; and the article which asks the toughest theological questions for Christians is “where are the just war prophets.”
I welcome a conversation most any time—preferably accompanied by a good cup of coffee, which I’m willing to make here at CUMC.
In His Service,
Rev. Gary M. Keene, senior pastor
(The first half of this book review matches the “Faith of Our Fathers” PDF: