Chapter and verse

But when I read a story like this, I want to know more. When a member of Congress is leaning on “a passage from the Bible denouncing homosexuality” as the primary basis for his legislative decisions, thereby disgusting his GOP colleagues with his ignorant rejection of the First Amendment, I also want to know which passage from the Bible, specifically, this guy is quoting. [Read more…]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 83: ‘Today’s Gospel reading’

Apparently Rayford plowed through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John without finding anything notable, striking or worthy of remark. No saying or healing or parable or paradox pulled him up short. Nothing in particular made him stop and scratch his head. Nothing in particular confused or puzzled or angered him. Nothing in particular made his heart leap with joy. He simply read them and fell asleep. [Read more…]

Clobber-texting isn’t a principled hermeneutic: A horrifying case study

You have heard it said that if a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, she shall become his wife; but I say unto you, screw that. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Get that rapist behind bars and keep him as far away from his victim as possible. Love is the fulfillment of the law. [Read more…]

Scenes from the class war (5.25)

“But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?” [Read more…]

That time I was the evil opposite of Neoliberalism

I was supposed to learn what “Neoliberalism” means back in the early 1990s, in seminary. Alas, I stopped reading that book on page 51 when I came across the author’s example of the epitome of all that Neoliberalism opposed. That turned out to be, well, me. [Read more…]

NRA: A grief ignored

As the lone church elder presiding over the viewing of his late friend Bruce Barnes, Rayford Steele has the opportunity to minister to a congregation racked with grief. But that’s boring. So instead, “Rayford let his mind wander” and he and the authors ignore the grieving in order to awkwardly cram in some strange exposition. [Read more…]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 82: ‘yes I said yes I will Yes’

Re-read those personal testimonies but imagine that the topic is not religious conversion. Imagine that each is, instead, one of those little video interludes in “When Harry Met Sally” in which some charming old couple is recounting how they first fell in love. This is, after all, what all such testimonies are: people recounting how they fell in love. Disregard that love and such stories are meaningless. They become merely accounts of people going through the motions without context. They become pornography. [Read more…]

The sins of the fathers

“Few people had more influence on Billy Graham than Bell,” reads the Wikipedia entry for Nelson Bell, Billy’s father-in-law. And the more you know about Nelson Bell and the journal he founded to promote and defend segregation, the more disturbing that sentence becomes. [Read more…]

Bowling with Jesus

Would Jesus bowl? That question has been asked and answered. Even among the fundiest of the fundies I grew up around, bowling was never condemned as an impermissible form of “worldliness.” We bowled. And we prayed that God would guide the ball to help us nail that 7-10 split. [Read more…]

Billy Graham and the rise of the religious right

Syndicate theology brings together some leading religious historians to discuss Billy Graham’s legacy in a thoughtful, collegial exchange. Samantha Bee helpfully covers some of the same territory, albeit with a few more jokes about butt stuff. [Read more…]