Cover Image: The Religion of American Greatness

The Religion of American Greatness

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Written by a former member of the National Security Council under Bush and Obama, the author is a conservative Christian voice in politics and religion. He is a lifelong Baptist and Republican.   He notes: “ I  remain more or less politically conservative, in the pre-2016 sense of the word; I only lament that the Republican Party no longer is.”
The author bemoans the move toward nationalism which he defines as the belief that nations are not territories under a common rule but groups of people defined by a common culture   Christian nationalism defines America as a Christian nation and wants the government to promote the Anglo-Christian culture. Miller sees this as a movement away from traditional Christianity which creates an idol of America and a longed for traditional culture that has never actually existed. 
The book is long and academic. It takes patience to finish but is with the effort. 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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RATING: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book is an interesting read as the author gives a view point from a conservative Christian man who is sounding the alarm about the dangers of Christian Nationalism. This is important, especially if someone from the inside is calling it out. Take notice and read this book to heed warning as to what is to come.

One star taken off because it can be a bit dry to get through at times as it reads very much like a research paper. However, this is an important read from the viewpoint of a conservative who is concerned about Christian Nationalism taking over our country and destroying our democracy. This isn’t just about liberals sounding the alarm anymore.

Thanks to Netgalley, publisher and author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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One of those books for which you immediately think of a recipient who desperately needs to hear this message. This might be a gentler entry into confronting the topic of Christian Nationalism than books like Jesus and John Wayne, White Too Long, Taking America Back for God, etc. but it is no less hard-hitting.
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This was a very interesting book on America and why the author thinks it is great. While the beginning captivated me, I began to loose interest halfway through. It is important for many Christians to read as they often conflate Israel with America.
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Given the current political landscape, this is a timely if depressing look at the rise of Christian nationalism and the damage it could wrought upon the ideals and future of the United States. It may not be an uplifting read right now, but it is a very important one .

**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to InterVarsity Press and Netgalley**
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I was looking forward to reading this book for a couple months. I think it's a topic and discussion that needs to happen, regardless of political and religious beliefs. Unfortunately, this book isn't written for the average reader. It very much feels like it belongs in an academic setting, for some one with a much higher level of education than my community college studies. This book is possibly really good for them, but was more or less unreadable for me.

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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(3/5) I'm DNFing this book, not because it's not good or because the content isn't needed (it sorely is). I just had a really hard time getting into it, even as an academic; I've been trying to read it for literally three months but it just doesn't flow and it's hard to commit time to reading it. This book read like a dissertation, which is fine for some readers, but perhaps I'm burnt out on dissertation-reading for the near future and should return to it in a few years. I think this book is timely, and the author is respectable and moderate (I would say more conservative than me). However, I think it unlikely that the audience that would benefit most (those entrenched in Christian nationalism) would commit to reading it fully because of the convoluted language and academic jargon.
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Rating: 4/5 

I enjoyed Miller's work even as someone who probably would disagree with him on many other social issues. I liked that he has a balanced and critical perspective on Christian nationalism, rightly distinguishing it from Christian republicanism, which is desirable for America. His analysis of middle America is also really astute. He is also aware of how race, class, and education play a role in explaining why non-White Christians do not appear to succumb to Christian nationalism, which historically has pretty racist tendencies.

I docked a star because he got unnecessarily partisan/critical of the left in a couple of paragraphs in his confusion. I felt that these criticisms actually didn't contribute to his main argument at all, and marred some of its credibility. Although I suppose some criticism of the left has to be added in to appease the people whom this book was written for even if, as Miller himself admits, not many of them might read this book. 

I still enjoyed this book on the whole even though it took me ages to finish because I don't have extensive knowledge on Christianity and American politics beyond the information I get via news sites and some Googling. I would recommend it to people regardless of their political leanings.
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This is an impressive book, on which I hope to publish a lengthier review at a later date. Miller is a thoughtful observer of the intersection of religion and politics, and writes from the perspective of an evangelical Christian who is disturbed by developments on political evangelicism. That he can address that nexus from a relatively "inside" perspective, while maintaining a high degree of critical scrutiny, makes this book a valuable contribution on an important subject.
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This book is a mixed bag. Miller does a great job explaining nationalism but it seems to me that he focuses too little on the correct view of patriotism.

I was also very disappointed to see him equivocating poverty with injustice, which is not an accurate comparison, since the bible never does so. I would have expected better research from Miller.
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I enjoyed Paul Miller's Religion of American Greatness immensely, even if I didn't necessarily agree with all of the ideas he posited. The first thing that grabbed me about this theological resource was that Miller shared/gave voice to some of the frustrations that I've been feeling, especially feeling caught between a theological Christian nationalism that is spreading in the American church and also a theological progressivism that is also spreading. In seminary, my friends and I often talked about feeling caught between those tides and Miller voiced some of the feelings that I had been stirring in me since I was in seminary the better part of a decade ago. In some ways Miller's book felt like a political version of Brent Waters's fantastic Just Capitalism (Westminster John Knox Press, 2016) and filled a similar theological void for me. 

One of the features of the Miller's work that I appreciated most was his throughness. He came at American Christian Nationalism in a very comprehensive way and I feel that anything less than that would have been unsatisfactory for getting to the root of the problem. On the same hand though, he also did it in a very ministerial way and came from a place of understanding where those ideas came from and specifically the factors that led to them rising to the service in the way they did during the Trump Administration. I think my own concern, at least as far that specific area of concern goes, is that Miller seemed to really argue that US Christian Nationalism really reached it's forefront during the Trump years and I would argue that it's been at it's forefront far longer than Trump and that Trump becoming president wouldn't have happened unless it was already at it's forefront. But that is a small caveat (at least in my opinion) and I think ultimately Miller's suggestions for how to resolve these problems is one of the best parts of the book and make up for that small disagreement I might have. 

I will strongly recommend this book be added to the academic religion portion of my library's collection because I think that it might be a resource for anyone feeling caught between the two forementioned theological trends as I have.
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Paul D. Miller presents a critical but researched look at Christian Nationalism, an idol for many that is far too prevalent in our society. When we feel a stronger allegiance to our temporal home than our eternal home, we need a heart check. I enjoyed his perspective: Christian, conservative, veteran, former CIA, former White House employee, etc… I had to stop and re-read passages to fully comprehend what he was saying and let it sink in. He states in his intro that “the people who […] most need its message are least likely to read it.” Sadly, that’s true, but this book can help those of us opposed to nationalism in our interactions and discussions with the ones fighting for it (mostly seasoning our conversations with grace).
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I was expecting a critique of the influence of Christian nationalism and the lack of separation of church and state but found a whole lot of nothing in that regard, as it walked the line between saying yes or no to these ideals. It was very vague on any kind of statement from my reading. I'm sure my own biases for progressive politics impacted my interpretation of the opinions in the book, but overall I didn't find anything too noteworthy. it's certainly well written and the language, while academic in nature, is accessible
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