Trump is the logical outcome of the white evangelical narrative of decline

Donald Trump is the end-product (so far) of the white evangelical narrative of decline — the product of generations of jeremiads bemoaning every small step of greater justice and greater equality for women, people of color, and religious and sexual minorities. That narrative has always condemned and rejected “Selma, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall” as — in Howe’s words — “American cultural decline” that is “moving the country farther from resembling [a] Christian society.” [Read more…]

Postcards from the class & culture wars (2.21.17)

“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” [Read more…]

A super-massive black hole and why I don’t like worship music

Many of the songs and choruses that make up our “worship music” claim to be about God, but the language they use to describe God is indistinct from the language we might use to try to describe the super-massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Many of these songs could be sung, without changing a word, by a Sagittarius A* death cult. [Read more…]

Sunday favorites

“Almighty, give attention to us who are suffering grievously from an impious and profane man, puffed up in his audacity and power. For you, the creator of all things and the governor of all, are a just ruler, and you judge those who have done anything in insolence and arrogance.” [Read more…]

LBCF, No. 122: ‘Fact and fiction’

Left Behind is a fictional world, and as such its creators are free to invent a fictional president, a fictional Manhattan that’s 50 miles long, and a fictional U.N. with fictional powers. They are even free to invent a fictional Bible full of fictional prophecies. This is exactly what LaHaye and Jenkins have done. Their problem — and it’s a big problem — is that neither they nor most of their millions of devoted readers realize that this is what they have done. [Read more…]

Don’t know a soul who’s not been battered

President Donald Trump held a press conference today. It was bonkers. Plus: Elizabeth Drew provides an overview of the first three weeks of Trump’s presidency; a Barton-ite Republican announces his candidacy; and Reverend Bruiser vs. Dr. Viper. [Read more…]

‘Under a spell’: Bonhoeffer on folly

“It is a moral rather than an intellectual defect. … Folly can be overcome, not by instruction, but only by an act of liberation; and so we have come to terms with the fact that in the great majority of cases inward liberation must be preceded by outward liberation, and that until that has taken place, we may as well abandon all attempts to convince the fool.” [Read more…]

Smart people saying smart things (2.14.17)

It’s never a bad time to re-read George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew congregation at Newport, but now seems like an especially good time. Plus: HIAS on religious liberty; David Blight on Frederick Douglass; and Austin Channing Brown on “identity politics.” [Read more…]

Baptist identity means religious freedom for all (it’s not about dunking)

The defining distinctive for Baptists isn’t about how we baptize, but about why and when. Baptists get baptized when they choose to do so. Baptists get baptized because they choose to do so. And nobody else has any say in that choice. You’re free to choose — or not to choose — for yourself. This is why — as a matter of core identity and definition — you cannot be a Baptist without defending religious liberty for everyone. [Read more…]

The culture wars are class war, and vice versa (2.12.17)

“Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious …” [Read more…]