On Sunday, after a tragic week of race-related killings in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge, I took a seat in my white evangelical middle-class megachurch in central Pennsylvania. I didn’t know what to expect, but as the sermon began I found myself pleasantly surprised.
My pastor used his scheduled sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) to address the issue of race in America.
Many will look at the tribal and ethnic tensions that exist all around the world as a problem as old as human civilization. Isn’t this a strong argument for the reality that the racism that was practiced by white/western Europe is indeed just a reflection of what has always been?
The question of American identity has historically been both complex and contested. What’s more, it often yields mythic notions rooted in exceptionalist dogmas like election, commission, moral regeneracy, sacred land, and innocent past.
Embedded in religious American exceptionalism is the American Dream: if an individual works hard, perseveres, and is a good citizen, there is no limit to how far she can advance.
At the Altar of Wall Street: The Rituals, Myths, Theologies, Sacraments, and Mission of the Religion Known as the Modern Global Economy, by Scott W. Gustafson. Money has become a kind of god and our relationship to it a kind of worship, replete with liturgical orderings and sacramental offerings.