Televangelism and Trump

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I’ve been very agitated by this election cycle, but I’ve been reluctant to post anything political because A: who cares and B: it may not ultimately be edifying. I’m not actually all that clear as to who bothers to read this blog, but I have a sense that they’re politically diverse, and these conversations are better done in a dynamic and empathetic exchange of ideas (preferably face-to-face) rather than through tacked up screeds.

So I’m not going to lay out any manifestos or arguments, but I am going to recommend, from time-to-time, a few things that I found provocative in ways that deepened, challenged, or expanded my point-of-view in these past few weeks/months.

This CBC interview with Kate Bowler, author of
Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, is one such item. She paints a historical, theological, and anthropological picture of the prosperity gospel community, and draws a comprehensible throughline from Father Divine to Jim Baker to Joel Osteen.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/god-wants-you-to-be-rich-1.3795920

Divine Lorraine

Kate Bowler does mention how prosperity gospel preachers are being tapped by the Republican presidential nominee, but Chris Lehmann makes a more pointed case for how the prosperity gospel resonates with Trump’s rhetoric and worldview.

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/slate_money/2016/07/slate_money_on_religion_and_capitalism_in_america.html

Lehmann is reductive in how he treats evangelical Christianity in America — he kind of folds it all under the umbrella of a trending prosperity gospel. In truth, the Reformed strains of evangelicalism have long treated the prosperity gospel with disdain and alarm. This political year, however, I think, should be eye-opening as to what the state of belief actually is in our country. Instead of treating the prosperity gospel as a caricature or artless theological whitewashing, we should be serious about its corrosive ubiquity and spiritual subversiveness.

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