White evangelical gatekeeping: A particularly ugly example in real time

Say you have a disagreement with another person about the meaning of a particular passage in the Bible. Do you engage them in an argument to try to show them why your interpretation is better? Or do you proclaim them a dangerous heretic and then demand that they be expelled from the tribe and fired from their job?

If you chose the latter, then you’ve got what it takes to be a Gatekeeper in the white evangelical tribe.

Let’s look at a current example of white evangelical gatekeeping as it unfolds before us in real time. This one involves Christianity Today in its usual role as good cop, and one of Al Mohler’s henchmen in his gang’s usual role as bad cop. This is an ugly, ugly business.

The subject is Eric A. Siebert, professor of Old Testament at Messiah College. Siebert is to be chastened by the tribe for a series of recent posts on Peter Enns’ blog:

1. When the “Good Book” Is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God

2. When the Bible Sanctions Violence, Must We?

3. Learning to Read the Bible Nonviolently

These are thoughtful, cautious essays on a subject that every Christian who has read the Bible must contend with. Genocide, slavery, concubinage, atrocities, slaughter and pillage are all part of the biblical story. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commended. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commanded.

Every Christian who reads the Bible must deal with this.

But white evangelicalism isn’t really about reading the Bible. It’s about using the Bible to enforce the boundaries of the tribe and the hierarchies within it.

Owen Strachan: Tribalist.

So the gatekeepers don’t share Siebert’s questions about these biblical tales of genocide, slavery, concubinage, etc. Those might be excellent questions, thoughtful questions, and crucially important questions, but that’s just the problem — they are questions.

Gatekeepers are not fond of questions. And those who ask them must be chastened.

So first up, the good cop. Christianity Today does its best to portray Siebert as “controversial” right off the bat with its headline: “Is the Bible Immoral? Messiah College Professor Says Yes, Sometimes.”

CT doesn’t engage Siebert’s argument because the important thing — the reason for its report — is not the substance of what Siebert says, but whether or not the tribe finds him acceptable. CT doesn’t want its readers to trouble their little heads wrestling with the texts of terror or with Siebert’s response to them. It’s just sounding the perimeter alarm and informing readers that Eric A. Siebert is dangerous, controversial, etc.

CT’s Melissa Steffan manages to use “mainline” as a pejorative and to hint that Siebert may be a heretic, but she fails to work in the usual gratuitous John Shelby Spong reference. I’m sure her bosses will take that up with her at her next performance evaluation.

Steffan’s piece is mainly just an introduction for the hatchet job by the designated bad cop in this piece of gatekeeping. Frame Siebert as the suspect, guilty until proven innocent. Then frame his inquisitor — the bad cop — as the presumed and unquestioned authority qualified to evaluate Siebert’s standing with and transgressions against the tribe. That inquisitor is Owen Strachan of Boyce College.

And Owen Strachan of Boyce College is a nasty piece of work.

Like CT’s piece, Strachan’s screed isn’t interested in the substance of Siebert’s argument as much as whether or not it is acceptable for tribal consumption. He’s not writing to tell us that Siebert’s argument is wrong, but that it is forbidden. It is out of bounds. And throughout his smarmy little attack job, Strachan keeps the focus on Siebert himself, as a person, and not on his ideas.

Strachan’s title — “Can a Messiah College OT Professor Really Teach the Bible’s ‘Immoral’?” — gives a sense of the awkward style to follow. (I know we’re supposed to recoil in horror from that rhetorical question, but I can’t tell whether we’re supposed to cry Yes! or No!)

Recoiling in horror is Strachan’s preferred mode of gatekeeping. This is the pearl-clutching, fainting-couch, oh-my-I-have-the-vapors school of faux-lamentation preferred by many white evangelical gatekeepers. The more they despise any person or institution, the more they will pretend to be saddened and disappointed  at what has recently befallen them. How art the mighty fallen and oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown, etc. etc.

Strachan lays that on pretty thick, indicating he must really hate Messiah College. Here’s his intro:

A Messiah College Old Testament professor named Eric Siebert just posted a shocking piece on Pete Enns’s blog. It’s entitled “When the Good Book is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God.” You should read it.

If you love the Lord and his Word, it will take your breath away.

You don’t need me to say this, though. Here are a couple of quotations that show just how far this piece is from an evangelical, or even orthodox, conception of Scripture. …

So three paragraphs in and Strachan has already told us that Siebert is a shocking nobody (note that condescending indefinite article), that he has a  breathtaking contempt for God and the Bible, and that he is far from evangelical and far from orthodox.

But that’s the nicest part of Strachan’s punitive gatekeeping effort here.

Strachan’s main objective comes in the next bit, in which he seeks to get Siebert fired:

This is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the statement of faith that guides Messiah College. … At the very least, there is serious friction here between Siebert and his school’s statement of faith.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who has had respect for Messiah College. I know a number of alumni, and the school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. That a faculty member would publish that that the Bible has material that is “immoral,” “problematic,” and is not fully trustworthy is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not tearing it down.

Won’t someone think of the children?

The irony here is that Siebert’s piece was posted on Peter Enns’ blog, shortly after Enns himself wrote this:

Calling for Evangelical involvement in public academic discourse is useless if trained Evangelicals are legitimately afraid of what will happen to them if they do.

There’s no evidence that Strachan read that — or that he read Siebert’s piece either, actually — but if he had set out to prove Enns’ point deliberately, he couldn’t have done a better job.

Strachan isn’t satisfied with merely slapping a “controversial” warning label on Siebert. He wants him expelled from the tribe. And he wants him to lose his job.

This is despicable behavior. Strachan doesn’t like Siebert’s argument, so he tries to get him fired. That’s a total dick move.

Oh, right, we Christians aren’t supposed to say things like “total dick move” — no matter how totally dickish someone is behaving.

So let me put this in language that gatekeepers like Strachan will understand:

A Boyce College professor named Owen Strachan just posted a shocking piece. You should read it.

If you are capable of love, it will take your breath away.

It is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the fruits of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, or the Greatest Commandments.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who is now pretending to have had respect for Boyce College. The school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. Be a shame if anything happened to that.

That a faculty member would publish something suggesting that the gospel somehow is compatible with his unctuous, oily, disingenuous, stick-so-far-up-his-backside-you-can-see-the-tip-when-he-talks attitude toward those he wants to keep in line is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not turning them into twice as much a child of hell as himself.

Or, in the vernacular: Total dick move, Owen Strachan. Total dick move.

 

  • David Starner

    Seibert asking questions is the way to learn and understand. Strachan attacking people for asking questions is an attack on learning and understanding. You think he’s wrong? Respond to what he’s saying, make your case against his arguments, don’t jump to threatening his livelihood. Attack ideas, not people is an old rule held by most people interested in truth.

  • Lori

    Is there some particular reason you’re obsessed with the white thing? You do get that Fred is discussing the tribalism of his personal tribe, right? And that his tribe is Evangelicals in the US, yes? You do understand why someone would have the idea that the Evangelical tribe in the US is run mostly by white men don’t you?

    Fred has never said or implied that his tribe is the only one that engages in tribalism. What he has said is that his tribe is naturally the one whose ugly tribalism bothers him the most and which he feels the most called to address.  That’s why Fred talks about white Evangelical tribalism. This is not complicated. Why are you blathering on and on about it?

  • Beroli

     

    Patheos doesn’t think Fred would appeal to a self-identifying evangelical audience. And I can’t really fault them for that.

    Is this something they said, or are you just making an assumption?

    ‘Cause I’m more inclined to think Patheos thinks that their actual-denomination Christian channels are definitionally right-wing. And someone who identifies as an evangelical or a Catholic but is also a leftist? Must belong to a “Progressive” denomination.

    Besides, can you imagine what it would be like in here if Fred were
    listed where the Evangelicals hung out? Every other post would be
    hateful vitriol trying desperately to find a way to disqualify Fred from
    the Tribe.

    When has Fred ever shied away from confrontation? I mean, if you have some indication that Fred asked the people at Patheos, “Please don’t put me in the same channel with Karen Swallow Prior, even though I have a long blogging history and expect to have a long blogging future of identifying myself as an evangelical,” fine. But in the absence of any such indication, I have to wonder why you’re making excuses for Patheos.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    While I have the impression that most Christians regard the OT as having a lesser authoritative status than the NT, maybe it doesn’t need any any authoritative status.

    Not this one, FWIW, and I am pretty much the opposite of a fundamentalist wrt the bible.

  • P J Evans

     That definitely is a polite translation that it gave you.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I don’t think you give Fred enough credit. His “assumption” of good faith does more to prove their bad faith than an accusation of bad faith ever could. He stands there and says “I’m going to assume you’re arguing in good faith, and that means that you clearly must accept this inevitible conclusion of your position, or you clearly must revise your position in light of these facts. I mean, that’s the only thing that makes sense. Unless you were arguing in bad faith, but that’s unpossible, surely.”

  • Lori

     

    When has Fred ever shied away from confrontation? I mean, if you have some indication that Fred
    asked the people at Patheos, “Please don’t put me in the same channel
    with Karen Swallow Prior, even though I have a long blogging history and
    expect to have a long blogging future of identifying myself as an
    evangelical,” fine. But in the absence of any such indication, I have to
    wonder why you’re making excuses for Patheos.   

    I don’t think Ross was making excuses for Patheos, I think he was expressing his opinion that having Fred in the Evangelical section would end up being unpleasant. If I’m understanding him correctly, then I think he has a point. If Fred would like to part of the Evangelical section then I would obviously support that. It’s his blog. Absent a desire on Fred’s part to make the move (which AFAIK he hasn’t expressed), I’ve got no strong interest in what past (and current) experiences tells me would amount to putting out the welcome mat for pearl clutchers.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    #7. Sorry, but I won’t apologize for believing that the Christian
    message is universal, if for no other reason than that the one thing we
    all have in common, regardless of color, is that we are all human
    beings, who share the same basic nature.

    Um that is not a “Christian” message per se.

    It can be argued on totally scientific grounds that all human beings share certain basic characteristics in common (in terms of certain geno- and pheno-types) and I am sure there are other secular humanist arguments that boil down to the same thing.

    So kindly cease trying to appropriate 100% of the wall to wall cultural space as this atheist would rather you not.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    While I have the impression that most Christians regard the OT as having
    a lesser authoritative status than the NT

    Ho-ho! Please! Pull the other one!

    Hint: From which book is the most common anti-QUILTBAG justification hauled out to “prove” that QUILTBAG people should always be second-class citizens?

    Answer*: Yrivgvphf. Va gur Byq Grfgnzrag.

    Thnak you drive through.


    * ROT13d.

  • Beroli

    I don’t think Ross was making excuses for Patheos, I think he was expressing his opinion that having Fred in the Evangelical section would end up being unpleasant. If I’m understanding him correctly, then I think he has a point. If Fred would like to part of the Evangelical section then I would obviously support that. It’s his blog. Absent a desire on Fred’s part to make the move (which AFAIK he hasn’t expressed), I’ve got no strong interest in what past (and current) experiences tells me would amount to putting out the welcome mat for pearl clutchers.

    To the best of my knowledge, Fred has never expressed an opinion on his being filed under Progressive Christian.

    I would be quite surprised to learn that it was his choice. And, whenever I look at the list of Faith Channels, I’m tempted to hum “one of these things is not like the others.” That said, it is certainly true that the number of “no you’re wrong!” comments would increase if, instead of the Progressive Christian channel, the blogs currently filed under Progressive were in the channels of their denominations.

  • Chad Holtz

     I am assuming Senor is referring to a “sin nature” as the same basic nature we all share in common.   Which is a robustly Christian message and not at all what secular humanists, nor science, cares to admit.    

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wow, Tim’s comment further down that it’s “idiosyncratic” to be “pro-life but also against the death penalty and a pacifist” is mind-boggling.

    WHAT?

    I always assumed that people who call themselves pro-life but are not death penalty abolitionists and at the very most severely conservative* on just war doctrine were whistling and looking the other way. I never fathomed the possibility that someone could squarely look at these issues side-by-side and agree that their position was morally and philosophically consistent.

    *not “aligned to self-described politically conservative groups”, but taking the position that war could only be justified if one was extremely certain that all the points in just war doctrine were satisfied according to the most critical eye.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am assuming Senor is referring to a “sin nature” as the same basic nature we all share in common. Which is a robustly Christian message
    Assume. Ass-u-me. Except actually it only makes an ass of you, because we’re not stupid enough to say he’s clearly saying what he isn’t actually saying. Might be what he means to say, but it isn’t something he’s said.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Is this something they said, or are you just making an assumption?
    ‘Cause I’m more inclined to think Patheos thinks that their actual-denomination Christian channels are definitionally right-wing.

    I think the head honchos at Patheos don’t know what right-wing and left-wing mean. Certainly the way Timothy Dalrymple over at the “Evangelical portal” throws around the term “left wing” suggests that.

  • AnonymousSam

    Frankly, the idea scares me. If a person can do mental gymnastics to the point that they somehow reconcile “abortion is always evil” and “killing people is sometimes A-OK,” the next logical step is killing abortion doctors and anyone else they think is sufficiently evil.

  • Chad Holtz

     Ellie, I’m not sure what I did to deserve such dismissive and mean comments from you.  If I said something that offended you personally, I am sorry.   That was never my intention.    If you dislike me because I believe something you do not, that is fine.    But it makes you little different from the people you seem to be so angry with, right? 

    Regarding my assumption, it’s a safe one.   This is a Christian blog, written by a Christian and many of the commenters are Christians.    In such an environment, the phrase, “our basic nature” is not assumed to be the same as what secular humanists think, but what Scripture teaches us it is:  selfish, sinful, prideful, sick.    One need not look to far around to see this is obviously true.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Dr. Tiller was murdered in his own church for being an abortion provider. What is this ‘if’?

  • Beroli

     

    I always assumed that people who call themselves pro-life but are not death penalty abolitionists and at the very most
    severely conservative* on just war doctrine were whistling and looking
    the other way. I never fathomed the possibility that someone could
    squarely look at these issues side-by-side and agree that their position
    was morally and philosophically consistent.

    Remember Mabus, from the old typepad blog?

    Whenever the subject came up, he’d shriek about protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, then run away before he had to read someone pointing out that “convicted of a capital crime” wasn’t synonymous with “actually guilty of a capital [or any] crime.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Intent? Not fucking magic.

    Scripture? Not obviously true.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Culture is different than nature. Culture is the extrusion of nature through various filters or “norms”, but the underlying nature is the same. For example: Envy. Manifests itself in a myriad of ways in different cultures, that aren’t applicable in other cultures. But the emotion itself is the same irrespective of cultural manifestation. 

  • Beroli

     

    Ellie, I’m not sure what I did to deserve such dismissive and mean
    comments from you.  If I said something that offended you personally, I
    am sorry.   That was never my intention.    If you dislike me because I
    believe something you do not, that is fine.    But it makes you little
    different from the people you seem to be so angry with, right? 

    Chad? Quit assuming “Christian” is some kind of default here on this blog. Or quit whining about being addressed more harshly than you like, because, yes, that is extremely rude.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What gets me is ‘I’m sorry I assumed you were a Christian! –A thing believed by damn nearly literally everybody is an exclusively Christian idea.”

  • Lori

     

    I would be quite surprised to learn that it was his choice.   

    I’m not really sure why you’d be surprised. There are a couple ways one can look that the classification system and I’m not sure any of us is in a position to have much of an opinion about how Fred views it since he’s never said. 

    As I said, if Fred would like to be in the Evangelical section and has expressed that to Patheos and they’ve refused I would say that’s a problem. I’m always going to be on Fred’s side in that sort of conflict. That doesn’t change the fact that I personally have no particular desire to wade through the flood of concern trolling that would virtually certainly result from the move. Given that Fred has both said and demonstrated that he values an engaged, active commenting community it’s possible that he also thinks it wouldn’t be worth it.

  • Chad Holtz

    Fred, sorry for taking up some of your blog space here.    You and I used to share some things back in the day after I got “infamous” for being fired from my church for disbelieving in hell.   Been a long while since I’ve entered the blogging world but it seems not much has changed.  In fact, perhaps it has only gotten worse. 

    As I go, may I make a suggestion for your follow-up post?     

    My Blog Following Gatekeepers:  A Particularly Ugly Example in Real Time

    It shouldn’t take long to type.   Just cut and paste the comments here.  

    grace and peace,
    Chad

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “I don’t where you usually hang out, but folks here can read.”

    Well, then “they” need some comprehension remediation. How is it that I am a bigot for saying what is exactly true about Shiites, Sunnis, and Wahhabists, and to which I can go to the newspaper and read about on a daily basis? They have been actively engaged on both a tribal, state and national level for the last 100 years in killing each other over theological differences. I never said white people never did that, only that right now in America, we don’t really do that anymore. We throw words at each other. We used to kill each other en masse, just not anymore. It’s outside of our cultural norms to hack our neighbors to death or have the state roll in with guns-ablazing because some of us are premillenialists and others are amillenialists. If you should have gathered anything by now (once again, back to reading comprehension), you might have guessed that I think all people are the same, and thus we are all inclined to behave the same. But that doesn’t mean we do the same behavior at the same time. The history of the West is littered with the slaughter of innocents over religious tribalism. We just don’t do much of it now.

    “Blow it out your pants.”

    Awww…How quaint. Too genteel to even use the word “a$$”. Why didn’t you just follow it up with “Bless your little heart”. 

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Nice not-pology, dude.  I think I have a BINGO:

    -I’m sorry if anyone was offended by my completely innocent comments.

    -I’m sorry you’re so mean.

    -I’m sorry you’re so thin-skinned.

    -I’m sorry you’re a bigot.

    -I’m sorry you’re so angry.  (Bonus spot if the angry person is a woman.)

    Did I leave anything out?

  • AnonymousSam

    Ouch. Yes– Insert “when” and “again” where appropriate. In present tense, these people frighten me.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I was trying to be generic, because, as we have all discovered from this piece, words can be “gatekeepers”, and the term “sin nature” is part of the Christian “langue” that, to some, can be obfuscating and alienating (not to mention laden with connotations depending upon one’s intellectual tradition), which is inimical to the actual point being made – our nature is the same.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Is this something they said, or are you just making an assumption?

    ‘Cause I’m more inclined to think Patheos thinks that their
    actual-denomination Christian channels are definitionally right-wing.
    And someone who identifies as an evangelical or a Catholic but is also a
    leftist? Must belong to a “Progressive” denomination.

    I think Patheos is a business and they organize their channels based around what they think will serve their customers profitably, not out of any particular ideological preconception.

    I do wonder why someone would dispute that Fred is a progressive christian, or think that the fact that he is a progressive christian is less important or less noteworthy than the fact that he is also an evangelical christian, and I question any sort of logic that would say that, assuming a blog be primarily categorized under only one channel, that Slacktivist is somehow a better fit as an evangelical blog than as a progressive one. Why should the fact that Fred is an evangelical trump the fact that he is also a progressive?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, people suck. Your point seems to be that it’s okay that people suck, which is true to a certain extent, and that nothing need be done about it, which is not true at all, particularly when discussing the suck inflicted by them with the power.

  • Lori

    You know Chad, while you’re gone you should do some research on what “gatekeepers” means. It does not mean “people who disagree with Chad”. It does not mean “people who say things to Chad that Chad does not like”. It does not mean “people who expect Chad to be willing and able to back up his assertions”. It does not mean “people who correct Chad’s incorrect assumptions”. No, not even if they make the correction in a way that you don’t like.

    Here’s what it would look like if Fred’s blog followers were gatekeepers—you’d have been banned. IOW, we’d have stuck the flounce for you.

    You have not been banned.

    You never would be banned for the sort of things you’ve said in this thread.

    In any case, we do not have the power to ban you.

    We wouldn’t even if we could.

    If you think that this thread is “a particularly ugly” example of anything, you need to get out more. You came into this thread acting out the standard concern troll faux sadness over how terribly mean and unchristian Fred is (supposedly) being. The fact that you expected that to be well received is to your discredit far more than our response is to ours.

  • Beroli

    Oh, is “Progressive” now an actual Christian denomination, then?

    ‘Cause last I checked, the Anchoress’ blog is not under “Reactionary Christian.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    hey have been actively engaged on both a tribal, state and national
    level for the last 100 years in killing each other over theological
    differences.

    As true as that may be it is not unique to them.

    Donald Woods: You did have tribal wars in this land of yours. (South Africa)
    Steve Biko: What do you call World Wars I and II?

  • Mark Z.

    In such an environment, the phrase, “our basic nature” is not assumed to be the same as what secular humanists think, but what Scripture teaches us it is:

    So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them … And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

    Oh, you weren’t finished.

    selfish, sinful, prideful, sick.

  • Lori

    How is it that I am a bigot for saying what is exactly true about
    Shiites, Sunnis, and Wahhabists, and to which I can go to the newspaper
    and read about on a daily basis? They have been actively engaged on both
    a tribal, state and national level for the last 100 years in killing
    each other over theological differences.  

    You just keep digging the hole deeper. First rule of holes—stop digging.

    Awww…How quaint. Too genteel to even use the word “a$$”. Why didn’t you just follow it up with “Bless your little heart”.  

    I was not being quaint. The fact that you would ask about my gentility is a clear indicator that you’re new around here. You might want to keep in mind that you don’t know us, and stop trying to be cute. I didn’t throw in a “Bless your heart”, because A) you aren’t worth it and B) I have no reason to pretend to be polite to you.

    You keep throwing up words and words and words that all seem to boil down to “I took a sociology class once” and “I don’t like it when someone criticizes white people”. Neither of those things warrant much politeness at all. Would you feel better if I told you to fuck off? If so, consider yourself told.

  • Carstonio

    Steve Biko: What do you call World Wars I and II?

    Biko had plenty of available examples if he wanted to focus on Europe’s theological wars.

  • Lori

    Oh, is “Progressive” now an actual Christian denomination, then?

    No, but then neither is “Evangelical”.

    ‘Cause last I checked, the Anchoress’ blog is not under “Reactionary Christian.”  

    No, the Anchoress is under “Catholic”, the Catholic channel on Patheos being it’s own thing and not labelled as “Christian” at all. Which some people take issue with.

  • Chad

    Wow Lori you are ruthless. Strachan, if your reading, take notes.

    You keep throwing up words and words and words that all seem to boil down to “I took a sociology class once” and “I don’t like it when someone criticizes white people”. Neither of those things warrant much politeness at all. Would you feel better if I told you to fuck off? If so, consider yourself told.

    Lori, what would warrant politeness from you?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Starting your acquaintance with her by NOT asserting that anyone questioning the received wisdom of the conservagelical-Christian leaders is in the wrong for doing so, perhaps.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Lori, what would warrant politeness from you?

    Proper spelling and grammar?

  • Chad

    Ohhhhh. So being of the same mind as *this* tribe, rather than the other, earns all y’all’s civility. And how does this make you all any different than conservative fundies??

  • AnonymousSam

    So it really is your position that asking questions is an offense against God? Would you kindly own that position instead of dancing around it by condemning everyone who suggests otherwise?

  • Daughter

     You think Shiites, Sunnis and Wahhabists don’t share this kind of tribalist thinking?

    As someone mentioned below, context matters. If Fred were writing from and about, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia, then the tribal gatekeeping of the groups you mention would be important points of discussion.

    He’s not. He’s writing about evangelicalism in the U.S. And in this context, it’s largely white males who have been the gatekeepers, and that’s what he’s addressing.

    To make an analogy: does the fact that virtually all people have some bigotry in them, and all cultures have exhibited some racism, mean that we can never address the fact that white racism has had a particularly toxic legacy here in the U.S.?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define ‘this tribe’, because far’s I can tell the only things we have in common are a fondness for commenting on the blog posts of Fred Clark. You can’t even truthfully say we’re all liberal or progressive or lefty, because some of us (though not on this thread that I’ve noticed, I admit) are none of the above.

  • Chad

    Whew. I was worried it might be something shallow and condescending

  • Tricksterson

    It
    s really quite simple:  “God is Good.  God ordered it so it must be Good.”  Of course it helps when you autmatically equate “good” with power level.

  • Chad

    No, that is not my position.

  • Mark Z.

    Civility is not really highly prized here. This is Fight Club, this is your first time at Fight Club, and you will fight tonight.

  • Lori

    Wow Lori you are ruthless.  

    So let me see if I have this right. There’s nothing particularly nasty about saying that someone should lose his job for asking an uncomfortable question, but it’s “ruthless” to A) correctly characterize someone’s contribution to a conversation and B) swear because the person seems to think it’s ridiculous that swearing didn’t occur earlier in the exchange? (You did see that I did not initially swear at Mr CrapsHisDrawers, yes? And you did see that he deemed that “quaint”, right?)

    Sure, that makes perfect sense.

    Lori, what would warrant politeness from you? 

    In the case of Mr Shit? Dropping the unnecessary bigotry and laying off carping on what is really a tangent because he’s so offended by someone pointing out the the power in the US is still mainly held by white men.

    In your case? Knock off the concern trolling. Engage with the actual issue at hand and defend your apparent belief that calling for someone to be fired over his views is Christian, but using the term “dick move” is not. Do you agree that you should have been fired for saying that you don’t believe in hell? Is your defense of Strachan some sort of Stockholm Syndrome?

    This is the last I’ll be posting on this issue until at least tomorrow night. I’m guessing that by then the conversation will have moved on. This is not a flounce,  I’m just going to bed because I have to be up very early in the morning. Working 1st shift is not conducive to late night internet conversation and this conversation in particular is not worth losing sleep over.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    White racism has had a toxic legacy indeed. And exactly what does that have to do with an evangelical who is trying to defend his intellectual position, against another white theologian who is arguing against it. There is no “there” there. This argument between two white people (which Fred is commenting on) isn’t a derivative of white racism. Not actually, not metaphorically, not conceptually. Hence the need to bring it to the universality of human nature.


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