Idiot plots, purity culture, and the cruel gods of farce


Roger Ebert's movie glossary defines an Idiot Plot as "Any plot containing problems that would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots." Hemant Mehta eyes the trailer for Christian-brand comedy The Virgins and doubts that an Idiot Plot can be redeemed simply by attributing the characters' idiocy to religious devotion. "I grow restless," Ebert said, when the misunderstandings driving a plot "could be ended by words that the screenplay refuses to allow [the … [Read more...]

Tears for the perpetrators. Anger at the victims.


Amy @ Watch Keep highlights a rare story of a local church responding appropriately to finding an abuser on its payroll. John Sluder was an associate pastor at Believers Church in Auburn, Alabama: His arrest in May got him kicked out of the church where he had been for 30 years.  Lee County Sheriff's detectives say the two adult victims came forward in April to report they were abused in the early 1990's. ... [Attorney Ben] Hand represents Believers Church where his father is the … [Read more...]

The Bible was written by and for humans from Earth

Ken Ham explains to Elliott that his new friend is not descended from Adam and therefore will burn in Hell.

Ken Ham is deeply confused about the Bible. We already knew that, but we just learned that it's even worse than we thought. Ham has always been confused about what the Bible was written for (he thinks it's a science textbook). It turns out he's also confused about who the Bible was written for. Ken Ham doesn't realize that the Bible is a book for humans from Earth. Here is Ham's explanation for why he says there can be no other intelligent life in the universe: There can’t be … [Read more...]

Obama also did not create a religious exemption permitting discrimination on the basis of race or sex

Photo by Man vyi via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, who blogs at An Inch at a Time, wound up changing her plans for the weekend when she was invited to attend Monday's White House signing ceremony for President Obama's executive order prohibiting LGBT employment discrimination for government contractors. Russell was one of many religious leaders present at the ceremony. Obama's executive order simply amends the existing policy prohibiting contractors from employment discrimination on the basis of race, creed, … [Read more...]

Never punch down


Never punch down. Never be afraid to punch up. Or we can state those affirmatively: Punch up. Reach down. That covers about 94 percent of being a decent person. And if you get that right, the other 6 percent will probably take care of itself. Here's a bunch of other people saying the same thing. • George Orwell on Charles Dickens: Where he is Christian is in his quasi-instinctive siding with the oppressed against the oppressors. As a matter of course he is on the side of the … [Read more...]

Love and justice are what give us ears to hear

"If I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith ... but do not have love, I am nothing."

Let me revisit what I'm trying to say in the previous post -- "Without justice, we're not reading the same book." Tony Jones points toward something similar in his recent discussion of Matthew Vines' book God and the Gay Christian: Vines’s book is oddly lacking in autobiography. He briefly recounts the day that he came out to his parents — “my dad’s worst day” — but then gets right to his argument that long-term, monogamous, same-sex relationships are not contrary to the Bible … [Read more...]

Without justice, we’re not reading the same book


Chris Tilling points us to Adam Neder's 2009 book, Participation in Christ. I appreciate Neder's subtitle: "An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics." Many readers have found Barth's huge, dense, multi-volume work to be impenetrable, so if Neder has really found some way in, then we should be grateful to him. Much of what Tilling shares from Neder is still pretty heavy stuff -- immensely Barthy and not easy going. But let me share just one tiny bit from the very first page of Neder's … [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (7.20)


April Bo Wang on why poor communities need fewer heroes; Morgan Guyton on Satan as the original troll; Brian Walsh gives an appropriate answer to the non-question of a junior gatekeeper; Daniel Silliman on a Sunday in Christian America; and a new Tumblr where your big sister has got your back. April Bo Wang, "When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty" I came to Helena to be a heroine. But a heroine can’t be a good social advocate, because social advocacy is all about the community … [Read more...]