Letters to an American Christian
It’s time for followers of Jesus to be the best of Christians, and the best of Americans, all at the same time. Just last week, America’s “paper of record,” the New York Times, published an anonymous op-ed by a supposed “senior” Trump administration official, who humbly claimed to be saving America from behind enemy lines. The Times doesn’t typically publish anything from anonymous sources, but this time it took what it called a “rare step” because “it was so important.” No, they crossed the line of journalistic ethics because it allowed them to skewer the President. And how about those confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh? The behavior of the protesters is crazy. Not to mention the very un-Senate like grandstanding by certain opposition lawmakers. What’s going on? Many have warned us since the beginning of our republic that our system of government depends on things like freedom of speech, civil dialogue, rule of law, virtue, and ethical behavior. Without these, we’re told, America as we know it can’t survive. Scanning the current political and cultural landscape, you might be wondering what’s going to push our nation over the edge. Or, to put it another way (borrowing an anecdote from a book called “The Content Trap”) it’s never only the dropped cigarette that starts the forest fire. It’s also the state of the environment: hot and dry weather, overgrown underbrush, gusty winds—in other words, in the wrong context, things can explode. Our national cultural context isn’t looking good. So the question is, who has the capacity to change this environment, and reduce the risk of explosion? Who can bring good to a culture like ours? That’s the question Bruce Ashford answers in his new book “Letters to an American Christian.” This book is so timely. At a moment when so many believers, who are called to be salt and light in the world, are tempted to be either American and not Christian, or Christian and not American, Ashford reminds us that we’re called to be both. Christians first, but also called to this time and this place. Toeing a political party line no matter the issue, joining the hysteria, or remaining silent out of fear are not options for followers of Christ. None of these fulfills our God-given task of engaging the culture, and being salt and light. As we’ve said before on BreakPoint, in this cultural moment, that means we’re going to walk and chew gum at the same time. We’ve got to be willing to say what’s right even if it goes against our political party. And we’ve got to speak out on political issues, even if they aren’t the culturally popular ones. Our ultimate loyalties lie not with any nominee but with Jesus Christ. And it’s precisely our loyalty to Jesus Christ that allows us to engage the culture in a way that will bring light, life, and hope. What our country needs is not more virtue-signaling; but more virtue. What our culture needs is not to look good; we need to be good. Bruce Ashford’s new book “Letters to an American Christian” features 26 brief letters to a hypothetical American college student who’s wrestling with what it means to be a good American by first being a good Christian. Think about it, the younger generation has never known a different political context. They may even think the current chaos is normal. Ashford’s book provides a razor-sharp analysis of why it’s not. And how as Christians we can lead by being the best of citizens. If you want to understand, and especially if you want to help the younger generation understand, a genuinely Christian approach to American politics and public life, “Letters to an American Christian” is a great start. It has chapters on all the hot-button issues, from economic freedom to gender identity, to college campus protests, the balance of power, rights of conscience, and so much more. We have it for you at BreakPoint.org. And this Thursday, September 13, at 2pmET, you can join Bruce Ashford on a free webinar as he talks about the themes in his book. To sign up come to BreakPoint.org.