Though these writers clearly have a contemporary agenda in purview, their studies are grounded in good research. The easy alliance of church and state (or church and corporation) is not sustainable in the United States. It matters now, in the face of military consumerism, whether the church can maintain a credible identity -- not in order to protect itself but in order to speak an authoritative word about the world that will not otherwise be spoken. It is mind-boggling that for a very long time we have been so inured to empire that we did not notice. The wake-up call that these writers issue reminds us, in the words of theologian Michael Budde, that returning the church to its proper vocation "requires us to refuse the rituals of obedience and allegiance that states and similar institutions demand."