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Fresh Air: Erik Reese and An American Gospel

I was listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross last night on the way home from work. I truly enjoy the show, and I really felt I should share this interview with you all. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – but if you’re just looking for the link, you can listen to the interview here.

Erik Reese recently published the book “An American Gospel: On Family, History, and the Kingdom of God,” and its a discussion of America and our vision of the Kingdom of God. Reese is straight forward and honest in his reflections about American religion. He takes issue with how many churches fixate on the fear of sin and the need to repent, how church can be overly focused on the limiting features of religion. That Reese brings voice to these things is seriously refreshing.

Instead of the punitive nature of God preached at some churches, Reese prefers to see the all encompassing and loving nature of God. That we see the Creation and evidence of God in all of nature. That the basis of Christianity can be found in The Sermon on the Mount.

I really love what he’s saying, what he feels the heart of the matter is. His take on what’s happened and is happening in modern religion is not far different from that of Tyler Wigg Stevenson is saying; that we need to focus on what is actually in the Bible, what is actually a part of scripture to understand the true meaning of Christianity. Modern Christianity has moved fairly far away from its roots.

An excerpt from Reese’s book:
“In the Gospel of Thomas, we hear Jesus’ followers ask,”When will the kingdom come?” Jesus responds,”It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘Look, there it is.’ Rather the father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.”

Why don’t we see it? The natural world is undeniably beautiful. Cherry blossoms are blooming outside my window right now, and tulips are engaged in their perennial resurrection. But we Americans seem to have become too distracted by accumulation and haste to pause over this remarkable observation from the Gospels of Luke and Thomas. “

Take a listen here.

So, what do you think?