When cis-het men play God: evangelical transphobia and the idolatry of gender

Jesusfacepalm

Last week, Russell Moore wrote a column for The Gospel Coalition called "Joan or John?" about how to handle the "sin" of transgender identity in your congregation. His column presents the made-up scenario of a transgender woman tearfully approaching a pastor to repent of her sex change. It's a textbook display of the breathtaking presumptuousness of cisgendered heterosexual males who judge people with lives they are clueless about by making false analogies with the sin in their own lives. … [Read more...]

Is God arbitrary? (my point of contention with conservative evangelicals)

god-monty-python

Is there anything that God asks us to do for no other reason than because he's God and he said so? I suspect that how you answer this question reflects whether or not you are a conservative evangelical. Because I believe that God is perfectly benevolent, I presume that everything God asks us to do is for our own good, whether collectively or individually. My hunch is that this makes God sound too "humanistic" for a conservative evangelical, whose main concern is defending God's sovereignty. Can … [Read more...]

How mental illness made me a pastor

nami walk

Today my son Matthew and I participated in a walk with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to Matthew, it was technically a "parade" instead of just a "walk" because a brass band led the march. Mental illness has had a decisive role in shaping my vocation as a pastor. Many of my insights into the human condition come from my experience of severe depression and anxiety throughout most of my twenties. So I wanted to share some of these insights as my contribution to mental … [Read more...]

When Martin Luther King, Jr. clashed with the Via Media Methodists

Paul Hardin

On first glance, making an analogy between anyone and one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s adversaries is akin to tripping Godwin's Law by comparing someone to Hitler. Because MLK was always absolutely right and perfect and above all criticism and anybody who ever disagreed with him was a mean and evil racist. Except that's not real history. When Martin Luther King, Jr. and his entourage descended on Birmingham, Alabama in early 1963, a group of well-intentioned white clergy leaders including … [Read more...]

“Against you alone have I sinned” (the solipsism of evangelical morality)

everyman

"Against you alone have I sinned." These words from Psalm 51:4 are attributed to the Israelite king David speaking to God after he knocked up another man's wife and had that man betrayed and murdered on the battlefield. Many evangelical pastors have praised this verse for how it names sin, but I consider it to be one of the most morally problematic verses in the Bible. It does do a very good job of encapsulating the solipsistic morality that I grew up with as an evangelical, in which sin had … [Read more...]

Cock-blocking and rape culture

the boot

It's one of those phrases you know not to use in mixed company. But there's a code of honor among heterosexual young adult men at bars and parties. To use nineties parlance, when another man is "busting a move" or "getting his mack on" with a woman, you don't interfere. Because that's "cock-blocking." And I have no idea why it wasn't completely obvious to me before that this unspoken law of young adult male sexual "ethics" is a cornerstone of rape culture. … [Read more...]

Three arguments for Biblical inerrancy that need to be retired

bible beater

One of the most important books I read in seminary was evangelical Old Testament scholar Peter Enns' Incarnation and Inspiration, which offers a way of understanding the Bible in which its authority can be respected even if some of the stories it tells are not historical events. Peter Enns just released another book called The Bible Tells Me So that has the Biblical inerrantists in a tizzy. For a long time, I've been wanting to name and repudiate three of the more frustrating arguments that … [Read more...]

Do you deserve to be crucified for your sin?

vader cross cropped flat

This past week, Brian Zahnd and Michael Brown held a debate on the penal substitution atonement theory. While I tend to be on Brian's side of the debate, I'm not willing to throw penal substitution completely out of the window. The concept of penal substitution has a whole lot of slippage within it. There's a stark difference between saying that the cross was in one aspect a punishment that Jesus suffered for the sake of humanity's salvation and saying that Jesus suffered the punishment that e … [Read more...]

Ben Corey’s Undiluted: An Accessible Escape-Hatch for Disaffected Fundamentalists

Undiluted-Painted-Background

A book title about Jesus called Undiluted can make you roll your eyes at first if you come from the evangelical world. Because it trots out a long-standing trope that's endemic to evangelical identity: "Those nominal mainline Christians have a 'watered-down' gospel, but we've got the undiluted, fully potent, Jesus plus nothing version that's been stripped of all those religious traditions and worldly values that get in the way, etc." Every evangelical has been told from day one that we're the … [Read more...]

Could ISIS become the Westboro Baptist of jihadism?

westborobaptist

Yes, I know, it's a woefully contrived analogy. Hateful Christians with "God hates fags" signs are a completely different phenomenon than terrorists who massacre a whole countryside of people. But it's a wishful thought that I want to have. Because I think Westboro Baptist has played an important role in turning the tide against the religious right in our country. Could it be that the absolute awfulness of ISIS will turn the tide against the religious right in the Islamic world? … [Read more...]


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