Not Quite Speaking Truth to Power

God in Public: How the Bible Speaks Truth to Power Today, by N. T. Wright

From the time I began reading this book, I had been looking forward to this chapter, chapter 8 entitled “Christian virtue in peace and war.”  Several factors contributed to my anticipation:  first, combine this title with the title of the book – regarding war, in what manner would Wright recommend that we speak “truth to power” in this world; second, Wright had made several less-than-flattering comments regarding the post-911 militarism of the US and the UK; third, as the example for us, he emphasizes Jesus speaking to the high priest and Pilate in John 18 & 19; fourth, he offers that Christians must hold their government leaders to account.

I was anticipating a call to Christian leaders to come together and denounce the militarism (and other similar evils) of their government leaders.  Imagine my disappointment when what I read was not a lesson on how to speak truth to power using Jesus as a model, but why it makes sense to base our virtue on the military model.  Even as I write these words, I cannot fathom that Wright would make this connection – not that I have read much of him beyond this book.

God in Public: How the…
N. T. Wright
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Wright begins by examining the etymology of the words character and virtue.  He considers how one can develop the strength of character into a virtuous pattern of thought such that one will almost automatically act virtuous in any circumstance (a ‘second nature’).  He offers, as one such example, the actions of Chesley Sullenberger (Sully) in landing his plane full of passengers in the Hudson River – having studied and practiced every…

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