“Downwardly Mobile for Jesus”: Al-Jazeera America

from 2014, but well worth your time now: ...For people like Loftus, it’s not coffee shops or home values drawing them to places like Sandtown. It’s Jesus. Shortly after Loftus started medical school in Baltimore in 2007, he began worshipping at New Song Community Church, a racially diverse congregation in Sandtown. New Song is part of the same Presbyterian denomination as the church Loftus and his 14 siblings attended as children in Harford County, Maryland, 40 minutes outside the city.New S … [Read more...]

“Welcome to Gibtown, The Last ‘Freakshow’ Town in America”: The Guardian

on the social construction and theology of disability, sort of: For those who didn’t quite fit elsewhere, Gibtown was a utopia. Its first settlers, the Giant, and his wife, the Half-Woman, ran a campsite, a bakeshop and the fire department. The post office catered to little people with extra-low counters, and the beer hall had custom-built chairs for the Fat Ladies and the Tallest Man. Special zoning regulations allowed residents to keep and train exotic animals in their gardens. Siamese-twin s … [Read more...]

“Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend or Family Member?”: Now open to non-subscribers

at Christianity Today:When I became a Christian, most of my friends and family were baffled and disappointed. They could not understand why I was subjecting myself to a repressive falsehood. Sure, the church’s paintings are nice, but what about the ethics? That’s why it was so moving to me that my best friend came to my baptism. She gamely let the priests shake holy water over her; she kept a wry, silent smile on her face while everybody else renounced Satan. I was under no illusion that she … [Read more...]

“Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend of Family Member?”: I’m in the current Christianity Today

subscribers-only for now. I'm one of four respondents (the others are Peter Ould, Lisa Severine Nolland, and Sherif Girgis) and the only "yes." It's a more-conciliatory but also more tightly-written version of the answer I give in my book. … [Read more...]

“Marilynne Robinson Returns to Gilead”: I review “Lila”

at AmCon--I think this piece turned out well: Ten years ago Marilynne Robinson began telling us the story of Gilead, Iowa, a tiny town surrounded by fields and farms. A droplet of water in which the whole world is reflected.She began with Gilead, a novel in the form of a long letter written from the dying John Ames to his young son. Ames situates the town in its historical context, showing how this apparently all-white enclave nonetheless falls under the shadow of racism, from the Civil War … [Read more...]

“Detroit’s ‘Walking Man’ Walks On”: Vice

reports: ...That's how it's been for a decade for James Robertson, Detroit's Walking Man. Twenty miles a day. One-hundred miles a week. More than 5,000 miles a year. In total, the equivalent of two trips around Earth. In that time, Robertson has never missed a day of work."I just believe a man should work," he told me. "Work takes care of your soul. The rest takes care of itself."This outlook may have made Robertson rich in spirit, but it has not made him rich in fact. He can't afford a … [Read more...]

Jason Byassee on Christians and “Christian”

This is the part that really irks me the most on eschewing “Christian.” It’s as though we get off scot-free for historical Christian sins (the crusades, racism, you name it) by just calling ourselves something else. Christians believe there is a way to forgiveness and purity—but it passes through confession, restoration, and repaired relationship. The much more costly way to disassociate from those who have done ill in Christ’s name is to set about loving as fanatically as they hated.here; vi … [Read more...]


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