Fortress Press

The God You Have: Politics, Religion, and the First Commandment

The God You Have

Politics, Religion, and the First Commandment

Patrick D. Miller (Author)


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In this bracing call to serious thought, esteemed biblical theologian Patrick Miller looks to the First Commandment in the fight against the misappropriation of theological themes for political ends—''the coalescence of God and country, the takeover of the language of faith in the speech of politics, and the confusion of loyalty with obedience.''
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800636623
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 4.25 x 7
  • Pages 96
  • Publication Date May 3, 2004


"Another good book, or should say books because they are part of a great series called Facets. Though small in size, paper covers, they are solid gold. The one quoted here is from Patrick Miller, Prof. at Princeton Seminary. I remember Rev. Susan mentioning him as one of her favorite teachers. Here's an excerpt from The God You Have: Politics, Religion, and the First Commandment.

.... Observing what goes on in our culture, however, we can see that there are few avowed atheists around. Many people are practical or pragmatic atheists much of the time, though even then the reality may be an ignoring of God, an acting as if God does not have to be taken account of except on special occasions — whether those are celebratory and ritual moments, extreme situations (e.g., the foxholes of war), or whatever. Much of the time God does not seem to matter sufficiently for one to be against God. Indifference, I think, is a more common phenomenon than atheism or agnosticism. Both those positions require a more serious engagement with the question.

I propose, therefore, that the fundamental question is not, Do you believe in God, or even in one God? but What do you do with the God you have? In one sense, forming the question this way is nonsensical or wrongheaded, particularly if understood to mean that having God implies some kind of power and control. If you assume that, you will find yourself not to have God but to have been had in the most basic sense one can imagine. It is vital to understand that the whole point of the First Commandment is that before you have God, God has you."

— Norman R. de Puy, Editor, A Commonplace Book

Table of Contents

  1. The First Commandment as Political Axiom
  2. What Do You Do with the God You Have?
  3. The Prologue as Political Announcement
  4. Translating Politically
  5. The Economic God
  6. The Political Order as Other God
  7. The Positive Meanings of the First Commandment
  8. The First Commandment and the First Table