Skip to main content

Thanks for this Justin! Culture shapes us more than we think. I find your statistics fascinating - especially as I wonder how they parallel divorce rates in North America. Fidelity amidst change may be one of our greatest missional practices in a world that is forgetting how to keep promises and work towards reconciliation. (This is not to say that sometimes divorce is the pathway to safety.) But you also suggest that to truly be missional to the "nones" and "dones" we might need to significantly rethink how we understand and practice "church." As you say, a greater acceptance of experimentation is needed if we're to discern our opportunities today. Especially among many young adults, the suspicion of "institutional religion" today is grounded in the steady stream of reports of clergy or church leader abuse (sexual or otherwise). So we need to rediscover the radical and dynamic power of the Gospel for our context today - not only for others but for ourselves. And, a final note is that your recognition of the power of culture has a lot to say about many discussions of "binationality" in the CRCNA today too. So, thank you for this!

I have read "Jesus and John Wayne" and I am immensely thankful for Kristin Kobes DuMez' excellent historical work. We actually need more of this kind of academic work for the general population so that we can be effective followers of Jesus today, in our highly complicated world. Unfortunately, there are powerful forces in our world that will attempt to downplay her observations, sideline her conclusions, or just distract us away from paying close attention to the situation she presents to us.

The question I would want to add to what Larry has written above is this: is the picture painted by "Jesus and John Wayne" one of how evangelicals are "perceived"? Or, is this a picture of who evangelicals have become? Is the issue one of how non-Christians perceive evangelicals or is there actually something a bit rotten within evangelicalism as it exists today that we need removed, like a cancer, for us to live? For myself, I think the situation is very clearly the latter. But we need to have the courageous introspection; we need to have the conversation; we need to discern what it means to follow Jesus faithfully today. Today.

If enough people tell you that your "loving" message isn't actually loving, when do you stop and reflect on who's right? So, this book goes way beyond how to more effectively communicate to others. This book is an opportunity for us to reflect on who we really are. The recent research from Barna is this regard is very helpful (unChristian).

This is only one of many reviews of "Jesus and John Wayne" from the "evangelical" world. This pandemic time is an opportunity to re-evaluate many things!

Great question - thanks for asking! These are the first 6 books on my reading pile that I'm hoping to read next:

Galatians by N. T. Wright in the "Commentaries for Christian Formation" series

Missional Theology: An Introduction by John R. Franke

Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife by Bart Ehrman

Reformed Public Theology edited by Matthew Kaemingk

From Bubble to Bridge: Educating Christians for a Multifaith World by Marion Larson and Sara Shady

Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday


We have so much to learn about the current state of our technology and race relations in church and society!

"The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" by Shoshana Zuboff.

"We Need to Talk about Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches" by Ben Lindsay.

"Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope" by Esau McCaulley.

"Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission" by Michael J. Gorman.

"The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race" by Willie James Jennings.


Thank you for your thoughts on Acts! These are some of the very questions I wanted to address in my book, "Together for the World: The Book of Acts." Thanks for keeping the conversation going on a book that's what we need these days as we learn to re-evangelize our culture. 

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post