I got Our Great Big American God: A Short History of Our Ever-Growing Deity
for a birthday present in October and it’s taken me that long to read it. Again, I was reading multiple books and trying to finish school, so it took longer than I expected.
I’ve followed Matthew Paul Turner on Twitter and sort of kept up with his blog for awhile, so I was excited to read this book of his. I can’t say I’ve ever thought I’ve agreed with him entirely, and that’s another reason I wanted to read this one.
And you know what? I still don’t agree with everything he said, and that’s okay.
The entire time I read the book I thought, “I don’t know enough about this subject to know how one sided this is”. And, I know that as a people (American or not) we put our own beliefs on and into everything else, so of course we’ve done it to God since the beginning of time.
I think the book was written in a way that the people who will enjoy it the most are the people who already agree with him. It’s a subject I think is necessary for us as Christians to read about– how God has been used to back basically anything and everything. He talks Pilgrims, Slavery, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights — all the big stuff. And there’s always Christians on both sides of the arguments. So, it is a necessary subject to discuss to help you realize you just may not be right. That’s what I got out of it, anyway.
But let’s not make God out to be helpless in all of this. The Bible already talks about how, even people who are doing things in the name of God may not actually be saved. But that’s okay. God’s being glorified. And that’s how I see a lot if this. Yes, I think believers, as a whole, need to seek unification, and not “major on the minors and minor on the majors”, but God does not need us to protect Him. He can do that on his own.
All that being said, Our Great Big American God may have been written a little too one sided for my taste, but I think Turner did an excellent job covering the bases for this stuff throughout American history. And I think the book is a good eye opener for everyone who calls the US a “Christian Nation” — whatever that means. Because, basically, every side of an argument is backed by some Christians who think they’re right, so in reality we’re fighting just for our own version of a Christian nation. Not necessarily, God’s.