The Distillery

How did Donald Trump become a hero for so many white evangelical Christians?

Show Notes

White evangelical support for Trump was not surprising, according to Kristin Kobes Du Mez, professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University. In this episode, we talk about her book, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, which explores how a popular Hollywood movie star helped to shape a cult of masculinity that put several presidents, including Trump, in the White House.

What is The Distillery?

The Distillery podcast explores what motivates the work of Christian scholars and why it matters for theology and ministry.

The Distillery: How did Donald Trump become a hero for so many white evangelical Christians? According to Kristin Kobes Du Mez, and for those who study the history of white evangelicalism, evangelical support for Trump was not surprising—it was perhaps inevitable. In today's interview, Du Mez and I discussed her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. Discover how a popular Hollywood movie star helped to shape a cult of masculinity that put several presidents, including Trump, in the White House. Kristen Du Mez is Professor of History and Gender Studies at Calvin University. She's a teacher, author, and speaker.

You're listening to The Distillery at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The Distillery: Kristin, thank you so much for talking with me today.

Du Mez: I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

The Distillery: So we have so much that we could talk about related to your book, Jesus and John Wayne. But let's first start with the origin story. What inspired you or compelled you to write this book?

Du Mez: It was actually my students at Calvin long, long ago who brought this topic to my attention. I'd been teaching a US history course (I think it was my very first year at Calvin). And I wanted to introduce my students to the study of gender in history and to show them how things like masculinity and femininity changed over time, how they were linked to economic shifts and foreign policy and race and religion. And so I lectured on Teddy Roosevelt, who's just such a great example of this and who embodied a very rugged kind of militaristic conception of masculinity. And right after that lecture, a couple of guys from the class came up to me and said, “Professor Du Mez, there is a book that you have got to read.” And they told me about John Eldredge's Wild at Heart, which was incredibly popular at the time. I'd been avoiding it. But I took their advice—

The Distillery: About what year did that come out?
Du Mez: So it came out in 2001. And this conversation that I was having was about 2005. So, the book had been out, my church was hosting book clubs on it, all the guys in the dorms were reading it. And I just thought, yeah, not my thing. *laughs* But I took their advice, I went down, bought a copy at Family Christian Bookstore, and I opened it up and there right on the first page is a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. And then I saw how Eldredge went onto sketch a vision of masculinity that he packaged and sold as Christian manhood that was really inspired, not so much by the Bible, but by mythical warriors and heroes, people like Teddy Roosevelt and people like Mel Gibson's William Wallace from the movie Braveheart. And this just struck me as somewhat troubling, but also significant because this was the early years of the Iraq War. And we had all this survey data coming out showing how evangelicals, more than any other Americans, supported the Iraq War, supported preemptive war in general, condoned the use of torture. And so really I just asked what might one of these things have to do with the other. That was a long time ago. For a variety of reasons I set the project aside. But I pulled it out again in the fall of 2016 when I realized that the language that I was hearing white evangelicals used to defend their support for then-candidate Donald Trump reminded me so much of those discussions of Christian masculinity, this warrior masculinity that I had read all those years earlier.

The Distillery: So, this book is thoroughly about white evangelicalism. So, let's pause and define what you're referring to when you talk about evangelicalism. Cause there's of course a—there's kind of a voting block dynamic to that, and there's a church dynamic of people who either self-ascribe to this group or don't for various reasons. So, talk about what you mean when you say “white evangelicals.”

Du Mez: Yeah, so, this is one of the things that the book does that sets it apart from some other histories of evangelicalism: a lot of historians have defined evangelicalism according to a theological rubric, and they draw on the work of historian David Bebbington, his four-point kind of definition. And that is that evangelicals are Biblicists—they take the Bible very seriously—the authority of the scriptures, they uphold crucicentrism and the centrality of the cross, and conversionism, this born-again experience, and then also activism. So, they're acting out of these faith beliefs. And when I started my research, I had intended to just use that. And then the more I looked at my sources, the more I realized that didn't really capture what I was looking at. And one of the first clues really was around the issue of race, because the majority of black Protestants in this country can check off all of those boxes, but the vast majority of black Protestants do not identify as evangelicals. And that is because it is very clear to them that there is more to being evangelical than just checking off some theological boxes. And through my research, I came to understand evangelicalism as a cultural movement as much as a religious movement. And I examined it through the culture it produces through Christian publishing, Christian radio, right? Christian films and CCM. And I took that evangelicalism-as-a-popular-culture seriously and looked at the values that were being conveyed—cultural values and political values—through that evangelical subculture, really. So that's really one of the things that this book does and that's why race is important. And I look at evangelicalism, not as a theology primarily—theology does come to play—but as a kind system of networks and alliances and as this consumer culture.

The Distillery: Why John Wayne? What's so significant about him?

Du Mez: Yeah, I did not set out to write this book about John Wayne. I can tell you that much. John Wayne came into the title rather late in the game. I was really trying to find a way to squeeze Mel Gibson's William Wallace from the movie Braveheart into a title. And it just, I couldn't make it work. But John Wayne, it works a little bit better. It really conveys this idea that for evangelicals, their ideal of—for conservative white evangelicals in particular—their ideal of masculinity is influenced not primarily from the scriptures, but, again, it's drawing on these kind of cultural figures, these icons that are largely secular in origin and John Wayne is such a perfect example. What I saw when I started looking at the dozens and dozens of books written on how to be a Christian man, John Wayne kept popping up along with William Wallace, along with Teddy Roosevelt.

The Distillery: Which is fascinating, isn't it?

Du Mez: Right, right. John Wayne: not an evangelical. Not the, you know, the real family values kind of guy at all. And yet he was held up as, you know, this icon of American manhood and of Christian masculinity. And, you know, we all know that John Wayne really is the standard. And I thought, you know, really? Do we? And so that, that kind of points to the significance of the secular on evangelical values, which is really important because evangelicals tend to think that, you know, the secular culture is something that's “out there” and not something that can shape their own values and belief system. And so that's partly what the “John Wayne” conveys, but also it roots the story historically in the Cold War era, right? The time when John Wayne really came into his stardom—from the forties through the seventies—and that was such a critical era for conservative evangelicals in terms of their own cultural identity and their political mobilization. And so John Wayne kind of stands in for all of that.

The Distillery: Can you talk a little bit more about what you think it is that resonates about someone like John Wayne or other characters like him like him?

Du Mez: Yeah, he kind of represents this throwback masculinity: a man who is noble, but not afraid to do what needs to be done. A man who can bring order through violence if necessary, or certainly the threat of violence. And, so, if you think about all of his greatest hits, he’s this heroic figure who’s on the side of good, of righteousness. And interestingly also in the majority of his movies for which he's celebrated, he's bringing order through violence, subduing non-white populations, the, you know, the Mexicans and the Alamo, the Japanese in World War II, or, you know, the Vietnamese in The Green Berets. And so it's this kind of figure of traditional white masculinity that is rugged, it's strong, and it's gonna do what needs to be done.

The Distillery: Yeah. And in a world where it seems that violence can be framed as this necessary means to an end.

Du Mez: Yes, and in a world where that vision of masculinity seems under threat, right? So he kind of becomes this conservative icon by the 1970s when feminists seem to be undermining this vision of strong, you know, patriarchal authority. And you have the Civil Rights movement also challenging the authority of white folks in particular, white patriarchy as well. And you have the anti-war movement that is challenging this notion of kind of American goodness and greatness and military strength. And all of those things are incredibly disruptive to many Americans, but particularly to conservative white evangelicals, this really felt like it was destabilizing their understanding of how God had ordained the social hierarchies. And so in all of those cases, the assertion of white patriarchal authority is the fix.

The Distillery: There seems to me a tension within this that I have found mystifying for a long time that these characters, these heroes—and of course, we're also gonna be talking about Donald Trump, as we talk about this—do not exemplify the kind of Christian morality that's caught up in this movement's subculture around family values and things like that.

Du Mez: Yes.

The Distillery: Can you talk about that tension and that dissonance?

Du Mez: Yeah, yeah. You know, if you just think about family values as, you know, kind of these lovely things of strong, supportive family unit and morality and respect, there seems to be this huge disconnect. But when you look historically—when you do place the assertion of white patriarchal authority at the core of family values politics, as I suggest we really need to—then there isn't such a disconnect anymore. And in fact, this vision of masculinity of this kind of rugged, aggressive masculinity that becomes so popular is part of a larger kind of militant conception of the faith that really thrives during culture wars era, which we are still in: the idea that Christianity is under siege, that Christian America is threatened. And it's, you know, the communists or the feminists or the secular humanists or radical Islam, or, you know, there's always this threat out there. And so you need an aggressive defense. In fact, just like in preemptive war, an offense can be the best defense. And so you need somebody who is, who is not afraid. You need somebody who can be ruthless. Now, the problem is that traditional Christian virtues don't necessarily create ruthless warriors, right? We're talking about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentle, self-control. And there are a lot of teachings in the scriptures of love your neighbor, love your enemy, turn the other cheek that don't really, you know, kind of build up this ruthless warrior. But in the culture wars framing, that's exactly what they wanted: to kind of fight their fights to protect Christianity, to protect Christian America. So, paradoxically, it was actually men who were not deeply formed by traditional Christian virtues who could fill this role better than the Christian men could. And so somebody like Donald Trump, you know, he was not your standard, you know, kind of servant leader or family values guy, but precisely because he wasn't, he was seen as somebody who, you know, maybe God had sent especially for this moment. He was their “ultimate fighting champion,” their words, right? He was the Anointed who could fight for Christians in this particularly perilous time.

The Distillery: And it seems worth pointing out that this isn't the only version of masculinity present in Christian culture broadly. It's a very particular version of masculinity.

Du Mez: Yeah, you know, when I first proposed this book, I had included a chapter in the proposal on alternate visions of Christian masculinity within white evangelicalism or evangelicalism more broadly. And then that was cut early on—I was told, “okay, this is trade publishing and you kind of pull one strand all the way through.” But I still kind of miss that, you know, because I think it would be interesting to have a space to consider some of these others. You know, I mentioned servant leadership and that is something that comes up in Jesus and John Wayne, particularly in the nineties in the context of Promise Keepers. And that is really a leading vision of what it is to be a Christian man, and that doesn't entirely disappear. But I do show how that was not incompatible in many cases with the emergence of a more aggressive understanding of Christianity, or even how you can see in churches and in men's groups the kind of alpha male figure where it's not like every single man who's reading these books on aggressive Christian manhood is an aggressive Christian man. I mean, these are guys who are doing church book studies, right?

The Distillery: Yeah.

Du Mez: Probably wearing khakis and polo shirts! *laughs* But their ideal of who has the God-given right and duty to lead, what does that man look like? Right? That is still functioning here. So, what is a true leader? Who is the warrior who can lead the charge? Who’s the alpha male in the room? And so I think that it—certainly there are competing visions of masculinity—but I do argue that this becomes a dominant one in terms of what leadership looks like for conservative white evangelicals.

The Distillery: Another thread that runs through this is the idea of being under attack. So, if you're going to be a warrior hero, of course there's a war. So, what's the role of this sense of being threatened?

Du Mez: So, in 2016, when there was a lot of attention around the question, you know, how could evangelicals betray their values? And one of the things that I argue in this book is this isn't a betrayal—you just have to better understand what evangelical values are.
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The Distillery: Not everyone was surprised, right? Many were, but not everyone.

Du Mez: Right! And then there's the question of fear. And a lot of pundits were kind of explaining what seemed like, you know, real radicalism on the part of white evangelicals as a response to fear. They were afraid that they were losing their religious liberties, right? They had been afraid throughout the Obama presidency. They were afraid of demographic changes—this is the end of white Christian America that is upon them, right? There's always this in—and so what choice did they have, but, you know, to run into the arms of somebody like Donald Trump? I heard a lot of this kind of narrative of the fear leading to kind of militancy or radicalism. When I went into the historical record, I started to see how in many cases we needed to flip that script. In many cases, it was actually the militancy that came first, and then that militant leaders actively manufactured that sense of fear in their churches, among their followers. So, Jerry Falwell Sr. of Thomas Road Baptist is a great example of this already in the 1980s. More recently Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill out in Seattle—just such a great example. I mean, he'd be flanked by bodyguards when he was preaching to give this sense of constant threat so that he could demand absolute loyalty/sacrifice from his members. But the story where this really became clear to me was the strange chapter I have in the book on fake ex-Muslim terrorists that were all the rage after September 11th, 2001. And for the next decade, even up to the present—these guys are still at it—sponsored by conservative evangelical organizations like Focus on the Family and CBN, these guys all claimed to have been radical Muslim terrorists who became converted to Christianity, to evangelicalism. And then they went out speaking to evangelicals about this incredible threat of radical Islam, trying to kill Americans, especially American Christians, especially American evangelicals. One of them came to Calvin University back in the day. And it was actually my colleague, Doug Howard, who is an expert on the Ottoman Empire, knows a thing or two about Islam. And he could tell within minutes, this guy's a fraud! None of this is true. This doesn't make any sense. The words he's using, the stories. This is just not accurate. And so he actually contacted Focus on the Family and it turns out they knew he was a fraud! And that's when it clicked for me, I thought, “okay, the fear is real”—like fear that is generated among, you know, people who are hearing this stories. That was legitimate fear, but it was being manufactured. It was being manufactured by leaders who were doing so in order to consolidate their own power. And so I think that once that clicked for me, a lot of the pieces of this story fell into place.

The Distillery: That's a really helpful framing to understand that the fear itself is real, but that it comes from a place that's not. So how, when you look at other events—for example, the insurrection on January 6th the year after your book came out—how does that, how do you interpret events like that?

Du Mez: Yeah, you know, I watched that along with everybody else in the country. I think that day—and just trying to wrap my head around what was actually happening—on the one hand, it wasn't surprising given the rhetoric that, you know, I had been paying attention to for a very long time. And you can't be glorifying violence and righteous violence with such regularity for so long without expecting some actual acts of violence to take place. And that wasn't the first time that we saw violence if you think more broadly—and we can think in terms of foreign policy and wars, and we can think of treatments of immigrants, we can think about questions of law enforcement, Black Lives Matter. You know, there's violence that appears in many different guises, but particularly something like the insurrection—this violence in the defense of quote unquote “Christian America” as it's understood—should not have been shocking. As I was watching that, and as I've continued to reflect on this, it really brings to the fore a critical question. And it's a question that I tried to ask in various ways throughout my book. And that is what is the connection between mainstream and fringe? And that's something I tease out in the book, you know, by holding out in the same chapter a figure like Bill Gothard—undeniably fringe—and somebody like James Dobson—very mainstream—but then showing the affinities between their teachings of authority, social hierarchy, gender, and in showing how the distance was not so great between the mainstream and the fringe. And I do that throughout the book in different ways, you know, in the two-thousands with figures like Doug Wilson—fairly fringe—but being platformed by Christianity Today, defended by John Piper, these sorts of things. I think that's the question that we have when we look at January 6th. Clearly those were fringe elements who were storming the Capitol, but what I paid very careful attention to on that day and in ensuing weeks and months was how the quote unquote “mainstream folks” were responding initially very early on. I saw denial—this is Antifa, it's not us. That was kind of following the lead of Franklin Graham. And then when that was no longer really tenable there's just a lot of silence. And then I started hearing, you know, well, we don't condone violence, but…And I think that is a cause for concern, should be a cause for concern. As we look at our current political, rather fragile political situation, as we look at challenges to the resiliency of our democratic norms and institutions, where do the average conservative evangelicals fall in terms of not just violence, but in undermining our democracy, or we have some very real threats now, and in where are they gonna draw certain lines and where are their loyalties ultimately going to lie? And so I think that's the question that—or those are questions that January 6th makes visible. And those are questions that I kind of keep in front of me as I observe what's happening.

The Distillery: Yeah, so, two years ago, notably, Donald Trump lost the election. You've referred to him as this movement's kind of new high priest. What have you observed since your book was published and are there things that make you hopeful, discouraged, concerned? What have you been observing?

Du Mez: Yeah. One of the things that I was hoping for when he lost was that he would no longer be attractive to evangelicals who are looking for an ultimate fighting champion. He was no longer in the Oval Office. He was a loser, right? That kind of went against his brand. He no longer had the power to wield on behalf of them. And so I was hoping that that would help kind of turn things around, but then of course we had the Stop the Steal movement that has not lost a lot of power in certain circles. And so in some ways that kind of undercut the, you know, he's not in power anymore, but if you have the narrative that it was stolen from him, that there was this great wrong that was done to him, that then just contributes to this kind of persecution complex, this sense of embattlement and this anger and radicalization. Because if it's something that's stolen from you, then, you know, all bets are off and you have to act aggressively. So that, um, that isn't great. What I have also seen is, you know, it really does seem like Trump changed Republican politics in a way that we have not yet stepped back from. When you look at, you know, how moderates in the party have been disciplined or ousted from the party in the last four or five years, when you look at the voices that get a lot of attention, you know, it's this kind of Trump playbook: the louder, more crass, the bolder, and those that are, you know, disrespecting other Americans or disrespecting just basic norms of government are the ones that, you know—that seems to be the playbook. So, I'm actually not all that optimistic right now, even as I can say as a historian, I know that we are so frequently surprised by what's just around the corner. So, I'm not optimistic right now. I don't see a lot of signs for hope, but who knows what's gonna happen next?

The Distillery: Well, and it's interesting, you—I mean, you teach at an undergraduate college, so you're around young adults a lot. My husband's also a historian and, taking an example like a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, he had to remind me that this is not how it's always been.

Du Mez: No, no.

The Distillery: So, we're seeing this play out in all sorts of different places where the kind of unapologetic brashness kind of wins the day, even in terms of the media spotlight.

Du Mez: Yes. Exactly. So, I mean, the Supreme Court hearings are a great example and in just the kind of tone of politics, generally, even some of the rhetoric that we're hearing around the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And then I would extend to, you know, this is not politics as usual. When we look at the resiliency of American democracy, we look at the effects of gerrymandering for the last 10-15 years. You know, look at what's happening at the state level, in terms of the health of our democracy. Look at the erosion of voting rights, you know? These are things, honestly, as a historian that I find shocking and deeply disturbing. So, in some ways when I think about the kind of takeaways of Jesus and John Wayne, it's, you know, as a Christian I'm disturbed by what some people—a lot of people—are doing in the name of Christ. But I'm not afraid for the Church, right? You know, God is faithful. And the church has been through a lot and Christians have always really messed up. And there's definitely precedent for that. And God is in control. When I think of American democracy, I mean, yes, God is still in control, but there's absolutely no guarantees here in terms of what's next. And so, I'm actually much more concerned about the fate of democracy whereas I think the Church, you know, it's often a smaller remnant that can really be obedient, be faithful. And there's a long precedent for that: the Church doesn't do well with a lot of power.

The Distillery: I'm curious about, as a Christian and a historian, what has it been like for you? You've immersed yourself in stories that are relatively scandalous. We refer to it as masculinity, but you could also refer to this as kind of toxic hyper-masculinity. What has it been like for you as a Christian, as a person of faith, to immerse yourself in this for so long?

Du Mez: As I was researching and writing, it was hard. Writing that last chapter on sexual abuse, abuse of power in particular was really difficult. I had excellent research assistants, students at Calvin, and so we were kind of a support group for each other, and that was incredibly helpful because it was, it was a lot. Once the book came out, you know, I think I had this idea that okay, done with that! You just kind of send the book out into the world and then move on with your life. Um, that has not happened in ways that are good and then also difficult. I mean, it's good that the book is being read by so many people in so many different spaces and it really is doing some disruptive work, which is, as an author, it's just amazing to see your words kind of take hold in that way. I have also heard from so many readers, including a lot of survivors of sexual abuse, of church abuse, you know, people who have really suffered—when they read this narrative, they see that they are not alone and that it wasn't them and that what they were up against was so much bigger than just, you know, their little situation. And so that has been incredible to hear that the book is strengthening many of these people. And at the same time, it is the stories that I hear with such regularity are really, really difficult ones, really heavy. And so it is hard to hear those, to carry those in some ways. And at the same time, I'm so grateful that I can do that and that I can, you know—and I can't do much. I'm not a counselor. I'm not, you know, I'm not a pastor, but I'm just a historian. But I can at least say you are not alone and this wasn't you.

The Distillery: This wasn't your fault. You're not crazy.

Du Mez: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And it's that sense of, like, of am I crazy, right, that really I hear from so many survivors, particularly because it's not even primarily the active abuse that is so hard to kind of move beyond, but for so many, it's the sense of betrayal by the members of their faith communities who end up supporting and defending the abuser and blaming them and marginalizing them, kicking them out. I mean, this is the pattern that I demonstrate over and over again in the book. And this is absolutely true to the experience of a shocking number of survivors in evangelical spaces.

The Distillery: Yeah. What you're writing out and talking about has so much to do with power and the way that that power gets used and abused within systems broadly. So, both within churches and within political systems, can you talk just a little bit more about power and the nature of power?

Du Mez: Yeah, yeah. This really is a book about power and masculinity throughout human history is almost always linked to power. Power's not always bad. And so we could say it's about power and it's about the abuse of power. And I think that's important because, I mean, it's actually wonderful to me to know that there are many conservative, white evangelical men—including those who identify as complementarians—who really appreciate this book. I can say not all of them do! *laughs* There's some pushback out there! But the fact that many, you know, even complementarian evangelical men can see what this book is really about is the abuse of power and that they can look at this and take it and use it to interrogate, you know, their own tradition, their own, you know, their own values, their own what has been called godly, what has been called biblical. If there's one thing I want this book to do, it really is to—I guess I want it to do a few things for evangelicals—of what I want it to do, and it isn't written primarily for evangelicals, I should say. But for evangelicals, you know, if you can read this history, confront this historical narrative, and then the takeaway ideally is to take another look at the scriptures, to take another look at your tradition, in your practices and your values, and then hold them up to the scriptures and say, you know, did we miss something here? Did we get this right? Let's maybe go back and take another look. And what about Christ's teaching of turning the other cheek? Of loving one's neighbor? And for me as a Christian, I've always understood kind of the heart of Christianity to be going against our human conceptions of power. When you look at Jesus, he was so disruptive. His followers never understood him because they were looking for a Messiah that would kind of fight all their earthly battles. And he was absolutely not that—just completely turned it on its head, like these earthly notions of political power, of social power.

The Distillery: By a lot of metrics, he was kind of a terrible Messiah.

Du Mez: Exactly! Totally, totally not what they were expecting. And that is what is so revolutionary about Christianity as I understood it. And now, very few of us live up to that ideal as following that pattern—followers of Christ taking up our cross—but that should at least be our goal, right? And so when you just abandon that and say, “oh, you can't teach a boy to become a man by telling him to turn the other cheek,” you know, like that's not for this time and place. And when you hold up this kind of rugged, violent warrior ideal, and you kind of redefine Jesus in that image—to me, that really is striking at the heart of the Christian faith.

The Distillery: That's powerful. If there was one question that you'd want all Christian leaders to keep asking or something that you'd want them to hear, what would that be?

Du Mez: So, I'm a Calvinist. *laughs* I can be pretty comfortable, I think, with the awareness that none of us is getting everything right, and that the truth of the Gospel does not depend on us getting everything right, or protecting what we think is right—that that truth is outside of history, and that truth is rooted in God's sovereignty, God's love, and in the redemptive historical work of Christ. And so, we are all trying to figure that out. We're trying to describe it, to articulate it, to profess that, we place our hope in that. But as soon as we decide that it's on us to protect this capital-T Truth, that's where things can get—they can take some dangerous directions. Because it's, we aren't actually protecting capital-T Truth. We're protecting our conception of that. And we can so quickly deceive ourselves into calling something Biblical, calling something Christian, that really is quite self-serving that may in fact go against that revolutionary nature of the Gospel of Christ. And so, I think that I would love for Christian leaders to have kind of boldness in following the Jesus of the Gospels, but absolutely paired with the humility that you might be getting some things wrong and not feeling like you need to defend Christianity. My favorite passage in the book is actually a quote from Rachael Denhollander. And it's from the context of when she was a first witness in the Larry Nassar case of sexual abuse in USA Gymnastics. And then, she also addressed abuse, sexual abuse in evangelical spaces. And she ran up against this resistance, the need to protect the witness of the Church, to protect the perpetrators if they were in religious spaces, to protect Christianity. And she said, “Jesus Christ does not need your protection.” Right? Jesus only asks for our obedience. And what does obedience look like? Telling the truth and doing justice and that's all. And I think if we could, as Christians, keep that at the center, I think that actually a witness would be so much more powerful.

The Distillery: That's a good word to end on. Thank you so much for your time today, Kristin.

Du Mez: Oh, thank you. It's been great talking with you.

The Distillery: You've been listening to The Distillery at Princeton Theological Seminary. Interviews are conducted by me, Sushama Austin-Connor and Shari Oosting. Our producer is Brooke Matika. Like what you're hearing? Subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. And, while you're at it, leave us a review and let us know how we're doing. The Distillery is a production of the Office of Continuing Education at Princeton Theological Seminary. Find out more at thedistillery.ptsem.edu. Until next time, thanks for listening!