Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Power to Rule Or the Power to Serve?

"Blinded By Might: Can The Religious Right Save America?" by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson (no relation to James Dobson) is the fascinating testimony of two former leaders of the Religious Right. Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, who left the Religious Right, are neither bitter, disgruntled, nor exploitative. They deliver a well-researched, fair analysis of the history of the Religious Right, the compromised principles yielded for political power, how it correlates to church politics and activism throughout history, and the hard lessons they learned.

The dangerous entrapment of partisan loyalty detailed in this book is a refreshing and much-needed reminder of what happens when the people of God are tempted to impose morality onto the world through flexing political muscle, instead of truly transforming the hearts and minds of people by living out the gospel in our homes, churches, offices, neighborhoods, and government. Power is not the objective. We have power. The question is how do we use our power? It comes down to whether we succumb to the futile temptation of using our power to rule or rising above to the higher (and more effective) calling to use our power to serve.

The authors do critique the Religious Right's Leaders (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson), but they do not demonize them or try to negate their sincerity or faith. Although this book was penned in the late 90s, it is extremely relevant to the current political landscape.

Blinded By Might is an enlightening history of how and why the Religious Right emerged, came to achieve political power, crumbled, and resurrected several times. It's an important book for any Christian interested in politics and evaluating the best ways of achieving justice and true societal transformation.


catrina said...

where do you find all these books you read, and how do you sleep at night? I love stuff like this but it gets me all riled up. (see I used the word riled in a sentence, I've been in Ga a long time. lol)

Tia Lynn said...

It's kind of like one book leads to another. I start with a topic or author that interests me and find a correlating book. Then that book usually references another book to support a thesis. The book referenced usually deals with a sub-topic more in depth, and so on. This book, in particular, I discovered because Jim Wallis refers to it in "God's Politics."

I thought this book would get me all "riled up," being that I intensely disliked Jerry Falwell's politics and demeanor, but this book didn't trash him and even showed the redeeming qualities he possessed in the midst of his misguided, narrow political agendas.

Adam Swollie said...

There was always something about the Religious Right that didn't sit well with me. It is not so much the goals of the religious right that I disagree with, as it is the means they want to use to achieve those goals. The theocrats are the ones that really scare me......thanks for reviewing the book, sounds like a good read.

Tilly said...

How many bible verses do you think Jerry Falwell is trying to manipulate Jesus into changing in Heaven at this moment?:)

Bryan Roder said...

Right on Adam. The Theocrats don't want to give the nation to God, they want to be God's mouthpiece and rule themselves!