William Willimon is the bishop of the Methodist Church in Alabama. He is also a widely respected writer and a very able preacher of the gospel. If you don’t know his work you have missed something. Every preacher, and serious Christian thinker, ought to read "Will," as he is called by friends. You will disagree at some points but you will profit for sure.

Willimon has a unique way of cutting the chase when he writes about public issues. He is keenly prophetic and quite often provocative. He once said, “There can be no better work for us than—in our own way, in our own place—to testify to the fact that God rules the world; nations do not.”

Someone needs to remind Iran, North Korea, and Syria of this truth. But someone also ought to remind Israel and the United States of America that this is true, especially in the light of the responsibility these Western nations have before God. If God’s preachers will not speak to this matter who will? I am a political conservative, for several intellectually formed reasons, but I am growing increasingly weary of the crass nationalism of many religious conservatives who dominate the evangelical scene. This kind of reactionary conservatism looses all semblance of true and prophetic religion. I sometimes wonder if I am the only conservative left who is sick and tired of the wasted millions spent on religious campaigns to save our Christmas celebration in the public square as well as the meaningless slogan on our coins: “In God We Trust.” What a tragically wrong-headed effort, both religiously and culturally.

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  1. Bruce Gerencser February 20, 2006 at 11:03 am

    No……..I know of least one other.
    The current nationalism in the US has become the official state religion. It is preached and practiced in thousands of Churches all around the US. If you dare disagree or raise a voice of protest you are accused of being Anti-American, a communist, a socialist, anti-freedom, and in some cases considered a non-christian.
    I sat in one charismatic Church service and listened to a pastor equate war protesters with abortion doctors. I sat in another Lutheran Church service where saying the pledge to the American flag was a part of the weekly liturgy.
    Bumper stickers like “God still speaks through a Bush” are routinely seen in the small town I live in. It is as if right wing Republicanism has been merged with evangelicalism and the mess we now have is the sorry result.
    I try to engage people about the issues of the day. Most evangelicals are pro-life. I applaud that. Evidently the pro-life position only applies to the unborn. Bring up the death penalty, war, poverty, warehousing of seniors in nursing homes and you will immediately be branded a leftist or a liberal. You will even be asked if you read Sojourner’s Magazine!
    We are in desperate need of prophets who will be unafraid to declare the whole counsel of God. Prophets who will not concern themselves with whether or not their words fit the accepted political or religious view.

  2. John Z February 21, 2006 at 2:17 am

    I second that motion: you are not the only one.
    We would be better off if we could get politicians on both sides of the aisle to see the validity of our position with respect to issues of morality rather than looking like the American church is bound to one party. (Sounds like a pipe dream, I know)
    And I say that as a conservative Republican.

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