Church and Main
Church and Main
Episode 173: Navigating Faith in a Divided World With Joy J. Moore

Episode 173: Navigating Faith in a Divided World With Joy J. Moore

The danger of making a name for ourselves.

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10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

1 Samuel 8:10-18

In the past, I’ve always loved presidential election years and all of the processes leading to the nominees for president. But I’m not looking forward to this year’s election. As many of you know, we will have a repeat of 2020 with President Joe Biden up against former President Donald Trump.

There are a lot of good reasons as to why this rematch is bad news all around. One thing that all of this highlights is how politics is becoming more and more like a religion. This is pretty obvious on the GOP side with people looking to Trump as if he is some kind of savior, but politics as religion is also pretty dominant among progressives as well.

This is why the above verse is so interesting. For many years, the people of Israel operated as a theocracy with certain leaders called judges who would rise up at certain times. In this passage, Judge Samuel is told by the people that they want to have a king like every other nation. God answers the people by telling them what will happen when they get a king and it won’t be all sunshine and roses: there will be a cost.

Looking at this passage in light of our current political situation, you can’t lift it up as an endorsement for theocracy. But it is a passage that can be a warning to us who make politics into an idol: turning our leaders into gods comes with a steep cost.

My guest today would use a word we don’t hear much these days about making politics a religion: idolatry. “When we want to make a name for ourselves and when we want to put God in a space that we go to rather than allowing God to be everywhere, that's exactly what it is. It's idolatry,” says Professor Joy J. Moore of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. We talk about the concept of idolatry in politics, the need for transformation and grace, and the power of embracing similarities over divisions in our modern society. We also talk about why we don’t talk much about reconciliation anymore in our discussions about race. Professor Moore emphasizes the significance of seeing others as children of God and the potential for redemption in conflicts.

Professor Moore emphasizes the need to move beyond racial identities constructed by society and reframe conversations regarding race around our common humanity as children of God. The conversation delves into historical and biblical contexts to explore themes of reconciliation, grace, humility, and transformation.

I’ve been looking forward to this interview and I think you will as well. You can listen using the player above, the YouTube link below or by using your favorite podcast app.


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Church and Main
Church and Main
Church and Main is a podcast at the intersection of faith and modern life. Join Pastor Dennis Sanders as he shares the stories of faith interacting with the ever-changing world of the 21st century.