A Response to Seedbed’s Five Marks of Theological Liberalism

I would not call myself a liberal Christian. I self-identify as a progressive evangelical, which is to say that I fall on the progressive end of a narrower spectrum whose boundaries I take seriously even if I dispute where they ought to be drawn. Many United Methodists share my origin as a progressive evangelical refugee from toxic culture war Christianity. Since too many conservative United Methodists project a caricature of theological liberalism onto progressive evangelical refugees like me, I thought… Read more

I want to be a compatibilist when I grow up

In the United Methodist Church sexuality debate, one way to talk about the various constituencies is in terms of compatibilism. There are progressive non-compatibilists, progressive compatibilists, traditional compatibilists, and traditional non-compatibilists. Non-compatibilists are people whose convictions mean that they are unwilling to remain affiliated with a church that allows others to violate their convictions. Progressive non-compatibilists want every United Methodist congregation to hold same-sex marriages and allow openly queer clergy to serve, and they will agitate and push the envelope… Read more

My bishop whoops when she preaches

I just got back from my home annual conference of Virginia. We’ve got a new bishop named Sharma Lewis. She’s black and she whoops when she preaches. She runs around the room and she stands on chairs. She makes us repeat words back to her. She tells the youth to shout to her from the crowd. I don’t know what to do with it. I imagine that many other white United Methodists in Virginia don’t know what to do with it… Read more

Why you should read my dad’s blog

I dedicated my book How Jesus Saves the World From Us to my dad because he’s the smartest man I know and he taught me how to think. He’s the best conversation partner I’ve had over the years even though I was a complete jerk to him for about a decade of smarmy young adulthood. I wanted to share a few links from my dad’s blog because I really want to see his platform grow. It’s got a weird quirky… Read more

No, Alcoholism and Homosexuality are Not Analogous

I blew up at a guy on the Internet for trying to make a comparison between alcoholism and homosexuality. To sexual traditionalist Christians, it may seem like a valid analogy to make. Just because you’re born with a certain genetic proclivity doesn’t mean that you have to act on it. If drunks can get sober, then gay people can stay celibate or go straight. But it’s only possible to make this analogy without really thinking about how 12 step recovery… Read more

Resolutions Don’t Erase White Supremacy

It’s a measure of how morally depraved the church has become that a Southern Baptist Convention resolution condemning overt racism and fascism is considered a major victory. The “alt-right” presents conservative evangelicalism with an easy target, but white supremacy is a lot bigger than the alt-right and pretending that it has been addressed by condemning the alt-right will only serve to perpetuate it. White supremacy is thoroughly embedded in every aspect of a theology that has been distorted for the… Read more

When Bishop Harvey flipped the script on bold imagination

The book of Numbers was the source text of the message this year at Louisiana’s United Methodist annual conference. It’s a story of conquest. The Israelites send spies into the land of Canaan to figure out how to slaughter its people and take their land. Which is exactly what the Europeans did to the native Americans to form our country. All in Jesus’ name. So I was not thrilled to have genocidal colonial conquest as the operative metaphor for a conversation… Read more

How Should Christians Respond to the Demise of Donald Trump?

How should Christians respond to Donald Trump’s meltdown? My first instinct is schadenfreude. Because 81% of my fellow white evangelicals voted for him. And that means if he goes down in flames, then maybe they’ll finally lose their power and their ability to alienate millions of non-Christians from ever considering Christ. But if I’m honest, Donald Trump’s behavior is the public repudiation and total exposure of my own sin. Every time he tweets impulsively, every time he lies, every time… Read more

Why NOLA Wesley Believes In Inclusivity

When we did a series of video interviews with our students this spring, I was a little nervous. What would they say and how would it reflect on what I’ve tried to teach them? As an evangelical, I’ve been trained to be very suspicious of the concept of inclusivity. There’s a shallow liberal idea that accepting people who are different and not judging anybody (except people who judge) is the whole of morality. That’s how I was taught to understand… Read more

Why Toxic Christianity is a Threat to Our Planet’s Survival

Today, Donald Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, an international agreement which seeks to set goals for reducing each country’s pollution and impact on climate change. Almost 200 countries have committed to the Paris accord. Every other major industrialized nation is part of it. What makes the US special? For the past four decades, our politics has been dominated by a bizarre electoral alliance that aligns the fossil fuel industry and conservative evangelical Christians… Read more

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