Eliot Spitzer and the use of religion in American politics

Anyone writing a satire on American politics would be hard pressed to improve on the plot already oozing out of the New York City comptroller's race.If you haven't been following the story, Eliot Spitzer now finds himself running against a woman who claims she formerly secured prostitutes for the former attorney general's use. Inconvenience, thy name is Kristen Davis! Naturally, Spitzer denies Davis' claims, but his call-girl history reasonably prompts doubts.Shall we hold it against … [Read more...]

We are all Protestants now

"[D]o nothing apart from the bishop. . . ." -- Ignatius of Antioch, Magnesians 7One of the more intriguing narratives flowing out of the election concerns Roman Catholics bucking their bishops' entreaties -- some would say threats -- to abstain from voting for candidates who support abortion and the HHS contraception mandate.Regardless of the directive, a majority of Catholics punched the Obama/Biden ticket on November 6, acting as if the episcopal counsel counted for squat. This … [Read more...]

The real crisis in Christianity

Andrew Sullivan's Newsweek cover story, "Christianity in Crisis," admirably argues for a "simpler, purer, apolitical" version of the faith. He condemns a politicized Christianity that is concerned with prosperity and morality but dismissive of self-sacrifice and sanctification. … [Read more...]

Christian love’s bastard child

If you follow the conversations and events of our day, it's clear that our contemporary culture values agreeableness over truth. Christians have fallen for this as well because the greatest Christian virtue is love, and love is patient, kind, etc. In other words, love comes off as pretty agreeable. It's not going to interrupt. It's not going to correct and chastise. It's definitely not going to judge. It's going to calm the mood and make nice.I think that is the key word, nice. Many … [Read more...]

The cult of agreeableness

Joel Osteen's disturbing inability to say that Mormonism is something other than Christian reflects a particular affliction from which our culture suffers. I'm not sure what to call it other than the cult of agreeableness, a widespread tendency to avoid disagreement, conflict, and contradiction whenever possible, a disposition to never draw hard lines for fear that we'll upset or make ourselves unattractive by the action. … [Read more...]

Christians making a difference

Whether it's the political activism of the eighties and nineties or the social activism of today, Christians want to make a difference in the world. But are we starting in the right place?Often we see a crisis or a need and jump to fix it. We raise funds, join a movement, buy a T-shirt, send our tithe, blog, campaign, distribute voters guides, do all kinds of things -- many of them good. But they're not enough. All those things are externally focused, which is only half the picture."The … [Read more...]

Where real influence lies

North American evangelical leaders are reporting a decline in influence, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.Pew conducted the poll, released June 22, at the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, in October of last year. Started by Billy Graham in 1974, the Lausanne gathering represents evangelical leaders from all over the globe.Significantly for us, those from the U.S. seem especially d … [Read more...]