No, Hauerwas is not saying that God is dying. He is saying that America’s god is dying, small g. Here is a snippet of the interesting, and somewhat optimistic, article about what the current state of the American civil religion might mean for the true Church and the worship of the one true God. Here’s a taste of his conclusions:
It is impossible to avoid the fact that American Christianity is far less than it should have been just to the extent that the church has failed to make clear that America’s god is not the God that Christians worship.
We are now facing the end of Protestantism. America’s god is dying. Hopefully, that will leave the church in America in a position where it has nothing to lose. And when you have nothing to lose, all you have left is the truth. So I am hopeful that God may yet make the church faithful – even in America.
Hauerwas develops his ideas quite clearly and points out how the intertwining of religion and national politics has really resulted in most Americans, even among professed Christians, being something far short of true Christianity. Have we really gotten to this point as a country? I find his argument to hit painfully close to the heart of the American Church. The intertwining of politics and religion on both the right and left of the aisle seems, somehow, to be at odds with the picture of Christ that I read in the Gospels. I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone on either side of the political aisle, and those who have sworn off politics altogether. Just keep it respectful, and focused on following Christ, not demeaning any particular group, party, or policy! 😉
I saw a reprint of this article on an Eastern Orthodox blog… Spawned some good conversation about how Anabaptism is not really Protestantism as much as it is a whole life/whole spirit tradition… it’s a bit tricky to explain to folks who have not experienced this.
My grief, though, is that despite the Anabaptist thought of being ambassadors to the governments of the world but not dependent upon them (http://www.mennolink.org/doc/cof/art.23.html), Mennonites in the US have gotten very deeply involved in politics and have aligned themselves with at least one of the political parties… grieves me a bit, really.