"Jesus, like most cultural heroes, is malleable," writes Stephen J.
Nichols. "And his given shape has much more to say about the shapers
than it does of him." Jesus Made in America presents itself as a
look at how the Jesus of American history has been shaped and reshaped
I live in the fifth congressional district
of Illinois, which Rahm Emanuel represented until he joined the merry
band of Chicagoans now running the country. So we're having a special election to replace him, and the primary is today.
I attended worship this past Sunday at a racially diverse DC church with
a rich history of civil rights activism. Two days before Barack Obama's
inauguration, I wasn't surprised to find the service dominated by joyful anticipation.
So I'm headed to DC this weekend, where I used to live and my fiancee
still does. We're excited to be in town for the inauguration—which isn't
to say that we managed to score swearing-in tickets from one of our
members of Congress.
My evangelical grade school tried to instill some big ideas—Creationist
talking points, "worldview formation," a vague yet fierce sense of
cultural oppression. But the main thing that stuck was a handy little
song for remembering the U.S. presidents in order. (It only went through
Reagan, though we added then-president George H.W.