Episode 85 | How to be a Patriotic Christian

How to be a Patriotic Christian

The topic of Christian nationalism takes us into deep questions of how we understand and live out our allegiances to both our country and the kingdom of God, how we ought to relate to our neighbors, and how we should pursue justice and flourishing within our nation. 

It’s also a topic rife with confusion and uncertainty. But what is Christian nationalism, and how is it different from a robust patriotism? On our podcast we explore these questions with scholars and authors Richard Mouw and Paul D. Miller who help us distinguish between living out one’s faith in the public square and instrumentalizing faith for political ends:

Because I think America is in fact, so great, it means it is so tempting to idolize America because it’s just one of the greatest things. Anything we idolize becomes destructive, and it can be destructive individually of our spiritual lives. But when you idolize a nation, that nation can be unbelievably destructive. – Paul D. Miller

This podcast is an edited version of an online conversation recorded in 2023. Watch the full video of the conversation here, and learn more about Richard Mouw and Paul D. Miller

We hope that this conversation has been helpful in articulating what it means to be a patriotic Christian, and in offering better language and frameworks for wrestling with questions of how to live out our faith in the public square.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:
Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, by Richard Mouw
Pluralisms and Horizons, by Richard Mouw
Praying at Burger King, by Richard Mouw
How to Be a Patriotic Christian: Love of Country as Love of Neighbor, by Richard Mouw
The Religion of American Greatness: What’s Wrong with Christian Nationalism, by Paul D. Miller
This America: The Case for the Nation, by Jill Lepore
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
C.S. Lewis
Richard John Neuhaus
Simone Weil
John Calvin
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
George Orwell
Curt Thompson
Frederick Douglass

Related Trinity Forum Readings:
City of God, by Augustine
The Children of Light and The Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhr
Wrestling with God, by Simone Weil
Letter from Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King Jr’s
Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville

Related Conversations:
A New Year With The Word with Malcolm Guite
Music, Creativity & Justice with Ruth Naomi Floyd
Pursuing Humility with Richard Foster and Brenda Quinn
Reading as a Spiritual Practice with Jessica Hooten Wilson
Walking as a Spiritual Practice with Mark Buchanan
Making as a Spiritual Practice with Makoto Fujimura
Connecting Spiritual Formation & Public Life with Michael Wear
The Kingdom, the Power & The Glory with Tim Alberta
A Life Worth Living with Miroslav Volf
Towards a Better Christian Politics
Christian Pluralism: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference
What Really Matters with Charlie Peacock and Andi Ashworth
Scripture and the Public Square

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.