Kristen Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne

When my children were younger, I thoroughly enjoyed their age-appropriate puzzles. It was so easy to fit those pieces into the preexisting shape on the puzzle board. 

Now that they are getting older, we are attempting to tackle the 1,000 piece Star Wars puzzle sets. 

Occasionally, in the jumbled mess of a toddler’s playroom, you’d come across a wayward puzzle piece without a board. No matter how hard you’d try, that piece was not going to fit into the preexisting shapes on the board. 

Have you ever felt this way about American Evangelicalism? You’ve got this piece for politics, this other piece for economics, another piece for foreign policy, yet another piece for domestic issues, and still one more piece for gender and sexuality. 

The problem is not the piece one has complied. No, it’s the fact that these pieces do not fit together with the Jesus of Nazareth presented in the Gospels. 

“Belief is a powerful predicator of intolerance toward immigrants, racial minorities, and non-Christians, linked to opposition to gay rights and gun control, to support for harsher punishments for criminals, to justifications for the use of excessive force against black Americans in law enforcement situations, and to traditionalist gender ideology,” said Kristen Kobes Du Mez on the CBF Podcast Conversation. 

We sat down with the groundbreaking author of “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation” to discuss the historical account of why these seemingly contradictory perspectives of White Evangelicals do not fit in with the Gospel narrative. 

“The products Christians consume shape the faith they inhabit. What we must understand is that Evangelicalism is not a doctrine of beliefs but a culture.”

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This podcast episode is brought to you by The Center for Congregational Health, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and McAfee School of Theology Doctor of Ministry program

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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy

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