Smart people saying smart things (1.19.17)

David Dark on James Lawson, being awesome. Willie James Jennings on the “tormented deployment” of a deformed idea of “reconciliation.” Nikole Hannah-Jones on segregationism in 21st-century America. Kristin Du Mez on “Donald Trump and Militant Evangelical Masculinity.” [Read more…]

And certainly misused

It’s beyond creepy to learn that one of the biggest names in evangelical philanthropy is one tiny step removed from the biggest name in paramilitary profiteering and mercenary massacres. And why is this family of right-wing billionaires so obsessed with shooting bears? Also: The very, very bad inaugural poem that gives Scots one more reason to hate Donald Trump; mercy seasons justice; and a closer look at American Nazis’ conflicted views on Israel. [Read more…]

Reading Romans 8 at a funeral

Romans 8 contains both a passage of beautiful comfort that should always be read at funerals and a sorely abused passage that has been twisted into a cruelly glib slogan that should never, ever, be read at funerals. Please don’t get those two passages confused. [Read more…]

Sunday favorites

“Woe to you, scribes and pastors, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'” [Read more…]

LBCF, No. 116: ‘The Last Temptation of Buck’

To appreciate the meaning of this, you need to remember that LaHaye and Jenkins don’t think of the U.N. as a diplomatic forum for the nations of the world. They think of it as a kind of global government. The secretary-general is, to them, a kind of world overlord. (They seem to think the word “general” in that title entails global military rank.) [Read more…]

Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 4)

The difference is justice. Justice is the necessary ingredient without which no worship, prayer, assembly, offering or other form of religious expression will be regarded as legitimate by God Almighty. Injustice delegitimizes all religion. It turns that which God has commanded into something that God detests. [Read more…]

Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 3)

The problem for those attempting to argue that Douglass’ rhetoric was anti-Bible is that his supposedly anti-Bible rhetoric is taken directly from the Bible. It is — in both style and substance — explicitly and utterly biblical. He is imitating, emulating and directly quoting from the Bible itself. [Read more…]

Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 2)

“This horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity. For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done!” [Read more…]

Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 1)

The faction defending the status quo is — correctly — portrayed as the “conservative” side. They’re fighting to prevent change. They embody the definition of conservatism by standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!” And thus, because they are in that sense conservative, they also tend to portray themselves and to be portrayed by others as being religiously conservative. Thus positioned as the representatives of religious conservatism, they are therefore also perceived as the defenders of true religion against the liberals and the anti-religious. Everyone else therefore has “a religion problem.” Everyone except them. [Read more…]

LBCF, No. 115: ‘Late-night phone calls’

Cameron “Buck” Williams is the Dirty Harry of journalism, the renegade maverick who plays by his own rules, etc. We’ve seen little evidence to support this characterization. Ignoring his deadline for the cover story on a global cataclysm might technically count as “bucking” journalistic convention, I suppose, in the same way that his craven willingness to drop his story in order to save his own hide bucks the conventions of “crusading journalist” stories, but I doubt that’s what the authors had in mind. [Read more…]