Called to Christian Anarchy?

  • Lee Griffith


Whether Samuel Johnson was correct or not in observing “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” in times of crisis it is the first refuge of many, including those who are not scoundrels. In the days following September 11, 2001, “God bless America” was the slogan displayed on the billboards of burger joints and on the bumpers of vehicles across the nation. While those displaying the slogan clearly wanted us to know of their patriotism, were they also trying to say something about “God,” or does that particular name appear “in vain,” as the Decalogue calls it? Alongside Jesus’ teachings on the plain (Lk. 6:17–38), any possible theological content to the slogan is incomprehensible. It is the peacemakers and those who refrain from violent retaliation who are blessed, not we who spend more on the military than the next top twenty nations combined. It is the poor, the hungry, and the persecuted that are blessed. To pray that we might be those people who receive God’s blessing is either a masochistic prayer or an indication that we are praying to another god entirely—perhaps the god of nation, power and wealth.


Grand Rapid Modern Myth Threatened Minority Apocalyptic Vision English Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 13.
    For a summary of these studies and of the critical theorists of elite rule, see J. S. McClelland, A History of Western Political Thought ( New York: Routledge, 1996 ), 637–58.Google Scholar
  2. 35.
    T. Wilson Hayes, Winstanley the Digger: A Literary Analysis of Radical Ideas in the English Revolution ( Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979 ), 117–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 36.
    Adin Ballou, Practical Christianity, ed. Lynn Gordon Hughes (Providence: Blackstone Editions, 2002 ), 243–44.Google Scholar
  4. 37.
    John Tidwell, “The Maroons,” American Legacy: The Magazine of African-American History and Culture (Winter 2003): 41–50.Google Scholar
  5. 39.
    Martin Buber, The Holy Way, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1970 ), 124–25.Google Scholar
  6. 41.
    Lanza del Vasto, Gandhi to Vinoba: The New Pilgrimage, trans. Philip Leon (New York: Schocken Books, 1974 ), 33.Google Scholar
  7. 42.
    Robert Coles, Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion ( Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1987 ), 97.Google Scholar
  8. 43.
    Eli Sagan, At the Dawn of Tyranny: The Origins of Individualism, Political Oppression, and the State ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985 ), 321.Google Scholar
  9. 49.
    Jacques Ellul, The Politics of God and the Politics of Man, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley ( Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  10. 58.
    Brown, Biblical Pacifism, 2nd ed. ( Nappanee, IN.: Evangel, 2003 ), 123–25.Google Scholar
  11. 60.
    Sallie McFague, Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age ( Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael G. Long and Tracy Wenger Sadd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Griffith

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations