In 2005 I exchanged E-mails with professor Ralph C. Wood, author of "The Gospel According to Tolkien" and professor of theology and literature at Baylor University, on the topic of war and Christianity in JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis' writings. (Click HERE to read a great article by him about CS Lewis and war) In that exchange I first read the word Jingoist;


Main Entry: jin·go·ism
Pronunciation: \ˈjiŋ-(ˌ)gō-ˌi-zəm\
Function: noun
extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy
— jin·go·ist \-ist\ noun or adjective
— jin·go·is·tic \ˌjiŋ-gō-ˈis-tik\ adjective
— jin·go·is·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

At the time I took offense to this word being used to describe the Bush administration and much of the American church.

Since then I have changed my political views almost completely. I used to support the death penalty, I no longer do. I used to believe that the Iraq war was a just war, I no longer do. I used to think Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh were right, I no longer do. I can no longer stomach the angry rhetoric from them any more then I can from Jeremiah Wright. I used to think ALL Democrats were wrong, I no longer do. But most importantly I used to associate being patriotic with Christianity and I now see how utterly wrong that is.

No, I have not gone to the extremes of people like Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo. But I have had a very serious heart change about politics. I started asking "what about the love that Jesus tells us to walk in?" and I really do feel that question has led me to this place.

I love these quotes from Shane Claiborne's new book, "Jesus for President".

"Every culture has particular ways of eating...how do Christians eat? Christians eat with poor folks, with the outcast, the marginalized, and the excluded-all who were never invited to anyone else's party. Ours is a different kind of party. It's more like a divine banquet than another political program. Society's misfits are our people our "constituency". (Luke 14)

(But this does not describe most American Christians. When people on the streets of America are asked to describe a Christian they say, homophobic, judgemental, Republicans. See anything wrong with this?)

"the danger is that we can begin to read the Bible through the eyes of America rather than read America through the eyes of the Bible. We just want Jesus to be a good American."

Relevant nonconformist not Jingoist, that's where I am right now.

Thank you Professor Wood.


Anonymous said…
I definitely believe that the death penalty is right, but tell me why you think the war in Iraq is unjust. I'm really not sure on that one. I'm also not sure about the patiotic thing...I guess it depends on the definition of patriotism. I agree that being patriotic doesn't = Christian, but I think that being proud of your country, whichever country, is ok and can be good. Lots of interesting things...
Carole Turner said…
Short answer- I have come to believe that being pro-life also means beleiving noone is beyond redemption, even convicted murderers so I now believe that as a Christian I can't kill even someone who has killed.

The was is just a mess. I am not at a place of complete passivism but I do think redemptive violence only leads to more violence and creates more terriorist not less. Again, it comes back to killing and life and redemption.

I think America is an idol to many people. It would take forever to really go into all I have begun to think and feel. Maybe over our next visit.

Again, I don't totally agree with Shane Claiborne's views, he's way more extreme then me but I do highly recommend his books, The Irresistable Revolution and Jesus for President. Also, the book The Revolution, A field guide for Changing your world by Heather Zydek.
Anonymous said…
WHAT? Jesus is NOT a rich, white, Republican? What the heck!!! Great post from a wonderful example of Christ.
Anonymous said…
By the way I support the death penalty because God does.....just a little thought. Haven't you read the OT? LOL much love.
Anonymous said…
I read the Irresistable Revolution. Not my favorite. Some good things, though. Anyway, I always appreciate your thoughts. I love you.
Carole Turner said…
Yea, you wouldn't like Jesus for President if you didn't like Irresistable Revolution.

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