A few thoughts to follow-up on yesterday's thread about Christian Nationalism:

Part of what makes Christian Nationalism so hard to nail down is that it overlaps & mirrors other ideological approaches.
It is not simply "nationalism" (a focus on one's own nation) so much as how you define the shape & contours of that nation. Christian nationalism defines the Nation & Church in relationship to each other.
In Christian Nationalism, part of being a good Christian is being loyal to the Nation & part of being a good citizen is being Christian.
Certainly, being Christian should make us good neighbors, more willing to sacrifice for the common good. But Christian nationalism goes beyond this & posits that being culturally Christian somehow makes us *better* citizens than, say, Muslim or Jewish citizens.
This is what distinguishes Christian Nationalists from folks who prioritize religious liberty in pluralistic society. Christian Nationalism's aim isn't to protect religious liberty for all (tho it borrows this language) but to maintain or preference Christianity in public spaces.
It's also different from garden variety nationalism b/c it defines the nation in terms of religion, not simply citizenship. You need to be a particular kind of citizen to be a "true" citizen.
And that's where Christian Nationalism can overlap w/ ethnonationalism (in the US, white nationalism). B/c of our history, the American church is still racially divided. Whether we like it or not, we carry implicit assumptions into our definition of who is "Christian."
If your primary experience of "Church" is w/ people who look & think like you, your assumptions about what being "Christian" means can't help but be culturally bound. When you think "Christian" you're likely to think about your particular church & people you know in real life.
B/c of this cultural factor, Christian Nationalism is also found among people who aren't particularly devout but are culturally Christian. This isn't about fundamentalism or even theological conservativism. It's about how you understand "Church" & how it relates to the State.
Christian Nationalism also isn't theonomy, altho there's likely overlap in terms & influence. Christian nationalism isn't about bringing the State under the control of the Church. It's about marrying State & Church & merging heavenly & earthly citizenships.
Christian Nationalism also isn't American civil religion which replaces the Church w/ the State. Again, there's overlap & one of the dangers of Christian Nationalism is that the balance might tip this direction. I mean, what's to stop the State from consuming the Church?
The differences btwn these ideologies don't mean that they don't overlap & make common cause. In fact, that's what makes this moment so dangerous in my estimation.
Because the differences are not clear, a lot of really toxic ideologies are able to fly under more innocuous labels. Folks can think they're supporting religious liberty issues when they're actually supporting a kind of religious test.
They can think they're simply being patriotic when they're actually being discipled into an unholy alliance btwn Church & State.
This lack of clarity is also why it's so important for us to be clear in *our* discussions while also understanding that a lot of this is playing out at a gut level for folks. Christian Nationalism is more about culture & shaping influences than theology or rational choice.
And b/c it's playing out at a gut or cultural level, we're going to see a lot of strange alignment btwn cuturally white Christians & atheists or culturally white Christians & ethnonationalists while those same Christians turn away from Christians who don't look or vote as they do

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More from @sometimesalight

14 Dec
Per previous threads, please note that I'm using simplified categories for Twitter. Plenty of folks are developing robust definitions of Christian nationalism rooted in data & history.
We has a good convo with @socofthesacred on @PersuasionCAPC earlier this fall: christandpopculture.com/taking-america…
Read 7 tweets
14 Dec
One more thought about Q of nationalism, globalism, & Christian's relationship to country:

For folks interrogating their own practices & paradigms, please entertain the possibility that you might not yet have all the necessary pieces to construct a healthy dynamic.
For example, as you become aware of threat of Xian nationalism, you might be tempted to rebound to a kind of globalism that doesn't necessarily move you forward.
What you'll need to add to your toolkit is understanding of place, Providence, & neighbor-ness. What you need is a more robustly developed ethic that teaches you how to love & serve God above all other loyalties w/in the specific boundaries he has placed on you.
Read 7 tweets
14 Dec
In convos about Christian nationalism, it's important to define terms clearly.

"Christian nationalism" is a specific ideology that ties the future of the Church to the future of the State. It overlaps w/ secular nationalism but has incredibly toxic implications for gospel.
Some folks might say, "Well, I'm a Christian & I think we should prioritize America 1st over global concerns. Does that make me a Christian nationalist?"

The answer is a strong... maybe.
To know if you're ascribing to Christian nationalism of simple political nationalism, you'll need to interrogate your relationship btwn your nation & practice of your faith.
Read 13 tweets
13 Dec
The idol in your backyard will destroy you sooner than the idol in your neighbor's yard.
Put more bluntly, there's no point in preaching against idols you don't worship. There's a whole lot of reason to preach against the ones you do.
This is why whataboutism is so pointless. Not only is it LAZY, it misses the reality that different groups have different idols & need to have their specific idols toppled.
Read 5 tweets
13 Dec
I'll never understand the logic of telling a pastor or teacher that you can trust them to teach the Bible but can't trust them when they point out cultural idols.
Seriously. Why would you trust someone to teach you the BIBLE if you can't also trust that they've been informed by it? Why would you trust them to explain the WORD OF GOD but be unable to explain how that word might apply to this moment?
I'm not talking about pastors & teachers going outside their area of expertise. I'm not talking about unquestioning loyalty.
Read 5 tweets
12 Dec
Was thinking again today of the tragedy of confusing the trappings of Christian nationalism & middle-class lifestyle w/ following Jesus.
It occurred to me that a lot of parents may have worked really, really hard discipling their kids in what they thought was Christianity. They sacrificed money, time, energy.
Obviously, kids make their own choices, but I know a ton of my peers who grew up in Christian subculture who no longer claim Christian faith. I can't help but wonder what they're actually rejecting.
Read 8 tweets

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