A Gay Presbyterian on a Jesuit Retreat

John Berchmans copy

For a Protestant, doing things in a Catholic setting is like going to a foreign country where they speak English. You can understand what they’re saying, but you’re in a land of different cultural cues. You spend a lot of time playing the Venn-diagram game of What’s the same/What’s different. So it was when as a Presbyterian I found myself on a silent retreat at a Jesuit spirituality center in Louisiana.I went on the retreat because I had heard about the Jesuit discipline of discernment. This … [Read more...]

Three-Fourths of NFL Quarterbacks are Evangelical Christians

Photo: Ed Clemente License: Creative Commons

 Football is a sport that has clear religious connections, from the Hail Mary pass to Touchdown Jesus to the Immaculate Reception. The likely permanent exit from the league of the NFL’s most famous Christian, Tim Tebow, left me wondering how many other quarterbacks have expressed their Christian faith in overt terms. The answer was eye-opening: based on my research, 24 out of 32 starting NFL quarterbacks (75 percent) are evangelical Christians.In some ways, the results are not s … [Read more...]

Twenty-five things church-based “abstinence-only” sex education never taught me

purity ring

The film Give Me Sex Jesus is out, and streaming for free on Vimeo. This documentary on the Christian (sexual) Purity Movement asks adults who were raised in that movement, pastors and religious leaders, and academics to talk about the after-effects of Christian sexual training that focuses exclusively on abstinence. It’s a must-watch for all ministers and congregations. I will offer a review of the film itself in another post, but first I have to get something off my chest.I was not brought … [Read more...]

Church in PA Does Peter Gabriel Mass


No more miracles, loaves and fishes/Been too busy with the washing of the dishes.-- “Lay Your Hands on Me” Peter GabrielThere was a buzz among some of my Facebook friends last week when one of my former students, The Rev. Lauren Schoek, posted an upcoming service at the church where she serves, St. James Episcopal in Lancaster, PA. It was a Saturday-night Eucharist featuring the music of Peter Gabriel. Many prog-rock-and-theology nerds (and there are more of us than you think) on three co … [Read more...]

On Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky

Kim Davis, Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who has defied the Supreme Court in denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

I was born and raised in Kentucky. And while I’m not from the foothills of Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, I’ve been there enough—even to Rowan County—to know what it’s like.It’s poor. People live in trailer parks and small wood frame houses. Kids entertain themselves on Friday nights in the parking lot of the local shopping center. A night out is a trip to McDonald’s or maybe the local Chinese restaurant. People are in church not only on Sunday mornings, but Sunday nights and Wednesday eveni … [Read more...]

Live from Seattle: Princess Leia’s Bikini!

No drooling on the keyboard.

Back in Seattle for a friend’s wedding and, continuing to wonder if this might be a new home once my swamp exile is over, I found myself drawn again to the Experience Music Project. The EMP is becoming an all-purpose temple of pop culture, with big-time rock, sci-fi, film and video events constantly rotating through the museum. The Seahawks’ Super Bowl trophy and ring are even on display here. Makes sense, as Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is the controlling interest in both ventures.A lit … [Read more...]

Remembering Pedro and Sean — and why Marriage Matters

Pedro and Sean's commitment ceremony: never before seen on TV.

When you teach undergraduates, there are frequent moments that remind you that youth culture has passed you by, and that the “coolness” card that every young person carries simply by virtue of their age, in your case, has been revoked.During a recent class, a student made a presentation arguing that reality television was not just unreal, but bad for society. This argument has been around since the first reality TV experiments, like An American Family, shown on PBS in 1973. The disturbing par … [Read more...]

Popping Collars Part II: “Jesus becomes a monster for us and with us”

Book Cover

My book, Hollywood Biblical Epics: Camp Spectacle and Queer Style from the Silent Era to the Modern Day, dropped yesterday. Get it on Amazon or anywhere fine books are sold.Continuing now with the "Popping Collars" podcast in which the Rev’s Greg Knight and Betsy Gonzalez and I discuss biblical epics, scripture, and popular culture.Here’s the link to the whole podcast, which is much more entertaining than reading a transcript.Again, I offer the caveat that this is a not-at-all acc … [Read more...]