Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture
With less than 100 days to go until we head to the voting booth, there is a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty among Christians about how we should approach this election. I will be sharing more extensive thoughts on this in the coming days and weeks, as well as in my upcoming book, but for now I did want to share this little-known C.S. Lewis essay I found as I was researching for my book. In the essay, Lewis reminds Christians that we must not confuse our preferred political means with gospel mandate. Therefore, we must not confuse the state of our politics for the well-being of the kingdom. Read the essay and let me know what you think. I can’t wait to share more thoughts on how this political season is an opportunity, and I absolutely can’t wait to shareReclaiming Hope with you in just over five months.
I also wanted you to be aware that, as of this morning, there is a new candidate in the race for president: Evan McMullin. I am sure we will learn more about him in the coming days and weeks, but here is an early story from McKay Coppins.
Finally, be sure to read Laura Ortberg Turner’s essay below. She is touching on some deeply resonant ideas that I believe we are in deep need of as a society. I am looking forward to Laura continuing to explore these themes in her writing.
Blessings on you, my friends.
J.D. Vance, a Yale Law graduate and a principal at a San Francisco investment firm, writes about his "hillbilly" upbringing and how, over time, the patriotism that imbued his family and hometown has slowly turned into distrust of America. "Obama strikes at the heart of our deepest insecurities: He is a good father while many of us struggle to pay our child support. He wears suits to his job while we wear overalls, if we’re lucky enough to have a job at all. His wife tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right," he writes.
For a historical analysis of the white working class, check out "The Original Underclass," published in The Atlantic.
Hillary Clinton's campaign representatives have met with top Catholic and evangelical leaders to listen to their policy priorities, such as refugees and poverty reduction, as well as concerns about what Galen Carey refers to as the "new orthodoxies" on issues like marriage and sexuality, which could constrain hiring practices of religious groups and hinder them from partnering with the government to serve those in need.
Contrary to what many think, McKay Coppins argues that most white evangelical supporters of Trump aren't fooled by Trump's apparent "religiosity" and late conversion to social conservatism. They know his flaws, but maintain that God "has used worse people." Michael is quoted in this article on what is new about Trump's candidacy and his great advantage in wooing the religious right (hint: he is not Hillary).
A new poll shows that only 28 percent of young adults say the two major parties do a good job of representing the American people. The Democratic Party does hold a clear advantage in appealing to young people of color, but among young whites, majorities feel left out by both parties.
Relatedly, it's worth noting that of the 2,472 delegates in this year's RNC convention, only 18 were black. It is the lowest percentage on record. Leah Riguer, Harvard professor and author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican, provides insightful context.
Several Carmelite nuns are refusing to abandon the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, despite intense bombing and food shortages. “The bombs are falling all around us, but we are not going to leave the people in their suffering,” said Sister Anne-Francoise, a French nun.
Laura Turner writes in Pacific Standard on the connection between productivity and anxiety, the preponderance of anxiety disorders among girls, and how she tries to ask her anxiety, everyday, "What do you have to teach me today?" In Christianity Today, she writes on the "gift" of her anxiety and how it has drawn her closer to God.
Thank you for reading!
Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on Amazon,IndieBound, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.