A South African reader writes ...
The issue of "election" (spiritual chosen-ness, not presidential electioneering) is terribly important in the development of hostile - or benevolent - Christian identity. I devoted a chapter to the subject (14) in my new book. It's of special interest to South Africans, since Apartheid was a theologically-based social project, building on understandings of "election" common in Protestant circles - and still highly prominent in Evangelical circles in the United States and Canada today. Here's a note from a South African reader:
Like most of your more recent books, I am forced to read your latest very slowly – taking it one chapter at a time, with a few days (sometimes a week or two) between readings to ruminate on your thoughts. So, I am working slowly through the book and reached chapter 14 (on election) tonight.
I just wanted to let you know that I am blown away. Maybe it's because I am South African. Maybe it's because we've tried to live out a new approach to being chosen in the way we've constructed our own family. Or maybe it's because Abraham is my favourite Biblical character, and that God's covenant and commands to him in Genesis 12 have long governed my wife's and my life choices ("blessed to be blessing"). I don't know. But chapter 14 has touched me.
...Your thoughts on the various versions of "us" and "other" will help us make sense of what is happening in South Africa, and will give us a wonderful way to talk about things with others and our friends. God has indeed given us all a ministry/mission of reconciliation.
You know I am both a fan and a friend, Brian. From both of those perspectives, I say, "thank you" for your insights, your wisdom and your ability to articulate a new kind of christianity. And I say thank you especially for chapter 14 of your book. It's a gem.
... for now, strength, grace and peace to you – and Grace - as you surf the storm.
Thanks for these kind and encouraging words.