I started reading a book today titled Jesus Made in America - A Cultural History From the Puritans to "The Passion of the Christ" by Stephen Nichols. It looks like a great book that examines how culture from the beginning of this country has defined who Jesus has become in America. If you want to know how certain views and practices of so called evangelicals in America today have come to be, read this book. I am greatly looking forward to it. Here are a few quotes from the Introduction.
The history of the American evangelical Jesus reveals the such complexities as the two natures of Christ have often been brushed aside, either on purpose or out of expediency. Too often his deity has been eclipsed by his humanity, and occasionally the reverse is true. Too often American evangelicals have settled for a Christology that can be reduced to a bumper sticker. Too often devotion to Jesus has eclipsed theologizing about Jesus. Today's American evangelicals may be quick to speak of their love for Jesus, even wearing their devotion on their sleeve, literally in the case of the WWJD bracelets. But they may not be so quick to articulate an orthodox view of the object of their devotion. Their devotion is commendable, but the lack of a rigorous theology behind it means that a generation of contemporary evangelicals is living off of borrowed capital. This quest for the historical Jesus of America evangelicalism is not just a story of the past; it perhaps will help us understand the present, and it might even be a parable for the future
Take up and read. But be prepared to laugh, probably cry and most likely repent.