Yesterday I tweeted a link to an essay written by Stanley Hauerwas called The Death of America’s God (HT @matttebbe, @jrrozko). It is a provocative piece, worth reading slowly and then reading through again. It’s not long, so you could actually do that.
As a result [of the wedding of faith and civic history] Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people.
This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church.
This is obviously a huge statement, a powerful lens through which to view the past and the future, and one that I’m inclined to believe. It makes sense of much historically, politically, and culturally.
Just a few years ago, some people spoke of the current president as if he was the pinnacle of hope. That was wrong.
Now, in the latest electoral season, one candidate continues to proclaim that America is the hope of the earth. That is wrong (even if he’s borrowing the words of Abraham Lincoln, a kind of patron saint in “Americanism”).
If you buy Hauerwas’s argument, do you think this lens of history serve as a “corrective lens” for the church?