Widely Respected Pastor Joshua Ryan Butler Exposes the Religious Nature of Our Current Political Movements andCalls Christians to Unite Under Allegiance to Christ to Help Redeem Our Partisan Divide The Party Crasher is an Insightful and Timely Resource for this Election Season
Over the last seven years, many have noticed a deeper level of political division in our communities and churches. Now, in The Party Crasher: How Jesus Disrupts Politics as Usual & Redeems Our Partisan Divide
(Multnomah; on sale 3/5/24), widely respected
Joshua Ryan Butler explores how four political “religions” have arisen in America today:
• Religion of Progress:
“We can change the world.”
• Religion of Responsibility:
“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
• Religion of Identity:
“Live your truth.”
• Religion of Security:
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
With his compassionate and conversational style, Butler deftly exposes the religious nature of these political movements that have grown strong in our culture and how they compete with faithfulness to Christ. Butler shows readers how political rituals invest each of these ideologies with transcendent weight and power and how they shape us with a particular story, meaning and hope.
He emphasizes that it’s fine to have political leanings since we need one another and can be stronger together in the Body of Christ. Yet, danger emerges when our lean
becomes a bow,
and a different center of our life becomes a functional religion.
“I want to inspire and equip you, in this volatile climate, to pledge your ultimate allegiance to the King of kings and live faithfully as a citizen of his kingdom,” he writes.
In his effort to equip believers to be powerful countercultural witnesses to Christ’s greater kingdom, he prescribes ten political commandments for Christlike engagement, which he calls “The King of Kings Commitment.”
Rather than encouraging retreat from the political realm, Butler gives readers language for our cultural dilemma and wisdom to faithfully navigate it.
Butler also helps the reader:
· develop a Christian posture for political life and promote unity in the church
· identify and repent from political idols
· understand how the way we worship can help us avoid division
· recognize how peacemaking is central to the gospel and learn how to be peacemakers, not peacefakers
Throughout The Party Crasher
, Butler emphasizes that believers first
belong to Christ the King and are citizens of his kingdom.
Readers of this significant and timely resource will be equipped to live faithfully to King Jesus in the political arena, regardless of their leanings, and inspired to give their deepest allegiance to Jesus.
Reflection questions for individuals and groups are included at the end of each chapter. Joshua is available for interviews and to write articles on topics including:
· How worship is a political act; examples of how we experience pressure to assimilate to the party platforms and partisan norms of our culture.
· Why he challenges his readers to follow ten political commandments for Christlike engagement.
· Why it’s important for believers to resist the temptation to choose friendships, small groups and churches based on political affinity; the benefits of spending time with those with different political leanings than ourselves.
· Six creative options for healthy political involvement that are in line with a faithful Christian witness.
· Why it’s important to explore common historical practices of the church and understand how these practices are usually already brimming with political significance.
· Helpful formational practices for a polarized world; what we can learn from the posture that marked the early church, including care for the poor, being people of forgiveness, and having a multiethnic community.
· How Christian leaders can create a healthy environment in their church as they consider addressing tough issues such as social issues and politicsABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joshua Ryan Butler
is a pastor and the author of The Party Crasher: How Jesus Disrupts Politics as Usual & Redeems Our Partisan Divide
(Multnomah; on-sale 3/5/24), along with several other books. He loves shifting paradigms to help people who wrestle with tough topics of the Christian faith. Josh lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Holly, and their three children. He’s appeared on many media outlets including The Holy Post, The Alisa Childers Podcast and Theology in the Raw. For more information, visit joshuaryanbutler.com. Notable Quotes by Joshua Ryan Butler in The Party Crasher
“The church’s witness is to follow the way of Jesus: the way of the cross.”
“America has a new national liturgy: the crisis of the week.”
“The problem isn’t our hunger, it’s where we’re going to satisfy it.”
“Jesus didn’t die so you could hang out with your like-minded buddies; he died to gather all types of people to himself.”
“Stop trying to fit God into the smallness of your party, and instead orient your life around the bigness of his.”
“Loving your enemies—political and otherwise—is a fruit of the gospel. It’s a way to give what you’ve received, to be part of your heavenly Father’s business.”
“Jesus is more focused on the kingdom celebration than on the critics and the naysayers. That is how you gain confidence to overcome our partisan divide. You focus on Jesus and press into his kingdom.” Praise for The Party Crasher
“Wading into issues where identity, culture, and biases intermingle, Butler offers suggestions for self-reflection as well as building bridges. For example, he advises readers to avoid becoming political ‘armchair quarterbacks’ who evaluate ‘the shortcomings of other camps while [remaining] blind to our own camp’s weaknesses’ and to engage in conversations with those on the other side of the aisle from a place of ‘humble learning.’ For believers willing to do the difficult work of lining up their personal and political ideologies against the tenets of their faith, this is a valuable resource.”
“A must-read for any and all who seek the way of Jesus.”
—Jay Kim, pastor and author of Analog Christian
“A book that should shape the church for years to come. Highly recommended.”
—A.J. Swoboda, Ph.D., associate professor of Bible, theology and world Christianity at Bushnell University, author of After Doubt
“The Party Crasher
boldly and compassionately addresses the pain and tension political division has wreaked upon our country, churches, and interpersonal relationships. Josh casts a gripping vision of what it looks like to live with conviction in our cultural moment, by exposing the core ideologies of the political religions which call for the allegiance of our hearts, to subvert our bow and pledge loyalty to Jesus as the Ultimate King.”
—Bre Golden, pastor of community care at Park Hill Church (San Diego, California) and co-founder of Waves Ministries
“Josh Butler explores the culture war as a religious war, driven by idols and ideologies,
showing how kingdom-centered peacemaking could transform our tribalized moment. Full of pastoral wisdom, The Party Crasher
points us toward a vision of public engagement that cuts across party divides and keeps Jesus’s strange, beautiful vision of an enemy-loving, self-sacrificing people at the center.”
, co-host of the Truth Over Tribe podcast, co-author of Truth Over Tribe, and pastor at The Crossing (Columbia, Missouri)
“The Party Crasher
is a clarion call for the church to be the church, not a chaplain to the empire, not a partisan puppet, but the body of Christ on earth. Josh blends practical pastoral care with theologically incisive observations that lead to deeper devotion to Jesus in an era when everything is politicized. This book is absolutely necessary reading for anyone who is trying to love God and love their neighbor in a polarized world.”—Tony Scarcello, author of Regenerate: Following Jesus After Deconstruction and pastor of Open Table Church