At the Gate: Mocking God

Sitting at the gate, I see Christian nationalism mocking God. In his book, ‘From Judgment to Hope,’ Walter Brueggemann writes that the ancient prophetic message “may still be true among us that God will not be mocked, neither will God quit” [1] He describes the mockery of God through the promulgation of faux holiness.

Christian nationalism mocks God in the same way, by foisting a faux holiness in the Church and trying also to impose it on the state, e.g., “MAGA Jesus.” Brueggemann (along with others) repeatedly calls out the mockery, naming it as imperialism characterized by predatory economy, white-supremacy racism, and aggressive nationalism. [2] Translated into a classical paradigm, it is what we describe as “the Christ of culture”—that is, an acculturation of Christ giving rise to the claim that the fallen-world culture is Christian, complete with the alleged blessing of God upon it. [3]

We find ourselves in a day when Christian fundamentalism has gone beyond its originating declarations in the early twentieth-century, becoming incendiary under the leadership of political and religious extremists. Their theological Dominionism has conjoined international Fascism, creating a global network that undermines God and does so “in Jesus’ name.” [4]

We have no choice but to call out this God mockery. The opening quote by Brueggemann not only says God will not be mocked, it also says God does not quit. That is, God never ceases to expose evil and resist imperialism. And….God does it, now as in ancient times, through people who break the silence of complicity and speak truth to power. [5]

God is being mocked by Christian nationalism, and we must say so. [6]

God will not quit, and neither must we. [7]

[1] Walter Brueggemann, ‘From Judgment to Hope’ (WJK, 2019), 23.

[2] Walter Brueggemann, ‘Tenacious Solidarity’ (Fortress Press, 2018). Joan Chittister calls it out similarly in her book, ‘The Time is Now’ (Convergent Books, 2019).

[3] H. Richard Neighbor ‘Christ and Culture’ (Harper & Brothers, 1951). There are newer paradigms than this one. But it is the one I was taught, and I find it useful in assessing where we are today.

[4] Annika Brockschmidt, “The ‘Dreher Affair’ Highlights the Right’s International Networks” (Religion Dispatches, 2/23/23).

[5] Walter Brueggemann, ‘Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out’ (WJK, 2018). Richard Rohr writes similarly in his book, ‘What Do We Do With Evil?” (CAC Publications, 2019).

[6] Here on Oboedire, I have put a reading list that exposes Christian nationalism for the sham that it is. Click on the icon at the top of the home page to see it.

[7] I am using Brueggemann’s trifocal lens for seeing imperialism (predatory economy, white-supremacy racism, and aggressive nationalism) as a way of recognizing what Ron DeSantis is up to. Attaching documented sources to these things, I can already see that he engages in all three, and almost daily, new evidence appears. I suggest that you use the same trifocal lens to look at your leaders.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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