American Christians, weary of decades of entrenched partisan feuding, are increasingly distancing themselves from politics. Some, however, continue to turn toward the state and public policy to find solutions to the world's problems. The problem is that both responses allow a narrow vision of politics to determine the church's mission and ministries, which often ends up separating its commitment to personal faith from the pursuit of social justice--the King from the kingdom. Christians too easily forget that the church is inherently political, a community defined by its allegiance to a King, its citizenship in a new world, and its call to work alongside others in pursuit of a new way of life. The church needs a political vision that is more than blind acceptance or mere rejection of past models. It needs a positive vision that takes its cues about politics not from the nation-state but from another political reality: the kingdom of God. This book tells the stories of the visits of two researchers to five diverse congregations across the United States. From the megachurch energy of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California, to a young Emergent community in Minneapolis, to the politically active home of Martin Luther King in Atlanta, these stories illuminate the vastly different ways congregations understand and approach politics--and offer a glimpse of a new political imagination for today's church. ""Whether they know it or not, churches perform their message in their way of life as an expression of the gospel, and this all means--as this exceptional study by two young, sophisticated observers contends--that every church is a political way of life. . . . This book may be used as an introduction to the politics of the kingdom or as a refresher for those who have already been thinking along this line, but what it is even more is a collection of keen insights into the realities of America's diverse church-as-politics life."" --Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary ""The relationship between faith and politics is notoriously difficult. Yet Norris and Speers provide an accessible resource for congregations that want to learn how other churches navigate this dynamic. . . . At the same time, the book is not afraid to critique, as it offers a vision of political engagement faithful to the biblical mission of the church. This is a must-read for every congregation that desires to grow in ministry."" --Jennifer M. McBride, Regents Chair of Ethics, Wartburg College ""Norris and Speers offer an insightful and multi-storied account of religion and politics on the North American Protestant scene--one that moves us beyond church-state discussions and the various strategic debates on 'direct politicking' that preoccupy both liberal and conservative Christians."" --From the Foreword by Charles Marsh ""Kingdom Politics offers a critically important, next-generation look at the issue of how some U.S. Christians and congregations are breaking out of destructive paradigms for engaging (or fleeing) public life and finding more constructive models for a new era. Highly recommended "" --David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University Kristopher Norris is a Baptist minister and PhD candidate in Theology and Ethics at the University of Virginia. He holds degrees from UNC, Duke, and Emory, and once won an eighth-grade geography bee. Kris lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Sam Speers studied Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where he was also involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He is a music lover and a former swim coach, and he knows every line from The Princess Bride. Sam also lives in Charlottesville.
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