American Idols: Gods of the Region - An Open Letter to My Christian Kin

August 25, 2021

By: by Rev. Chris B. Hughes (ret.)

Chris Hughes’ ministerial career includes university chaplaincies, itinerant evangelism, youth curriculum through the United Methodist Publishing House, jurisdictional age-level ministries at Lake Junaluska, 25 years of leading Confirmation retreats, and pastoring local churches.

His recent book is pastoral, prophetic, and confessional – a response to the apparent practice of believing in Jesus while refusing to embody him, to claim him as one’s savior from an eternity in the afterlife while doing what seems right to us in this life. Just as Joshua warned the Hebrew people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, we are prone to worship the “gods of the region.” We want to fit in, do well, and provide for our families. We also want to be “right” instead of righteous. We want to justify our sinfulness. We worship at the altars of self-achievement, money, and nationalism. Contrary to the Way of The Prince of Peace, we remain convinced that “might makes right” and that there is such a thing as “good violence.” Even our worship of the Bible (or at least selected passages) above Jesus, The Word of God in the flesh, can become idolatrous. Other topics include “Cult of Personality,” “Alternate Realities,” and “Denying Science.”

Author Chris Hughes explains his intentions this way, “On the one hand, scripture admonishes us (in Galatians 5:26) not to provoke one another to the point of anger and hostility. On the other hand, we are urged to “provoke one another to doing good (Hebrews 10:24). I hope I have done both in this book.”

American Idols: Gods of the Region includes questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter. This would be a great resource for small group studies and for fostering interpersonal conversations. It also includes a “A Service of Confession, Repentance, Forgiveness, and Commitment.”
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