I wave to the people but the wind just blows ‘em down

• Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Now that they’ve neutralized unions, they’re going after everything unions ever won — including the five-day work week.

• Scott Paeth, “Jesus Wants You Heavily Armed”

I suppose, if we wished to take the passage strictly literally, we could interpret it in line with Jesus’ follow-up statement. After his disciples pull out two swords, he declares, “That’s enough!” Enough for what? Who knows! But I’d be perfectly happy with an interpretation that says that, throughout the ranks of American Christians, there were a grand total of two guns. I would be even happier if there were a total of two bullets.

• Twenty years from now, I expect that a great many people associated with the First Presbyterian Church of Houston will be deeply ashamed of this ugly chapter in their history. But then I never seem to meet anyone who’s ashamed to be a Southern Baptist, so maybe not.

For a more hopeful take on Texas churches, see Steve Ramos’ piece on Dallas’ Oak Lawn United Methodist.

Megan Hustad has published another entry in the genre of growing-up-evangelical memoirs. Hustad was an  MK with TWR in the late ’70s and early ’80s in Bonaire. MK there means missionary kid, and TWR means Trans World Radio, and Bonaire during those years means that Megan Hustad probably met my grandmother and certainly knew friends of our family. Her memoir, in other words, covers some territory that is, for me, very familiar.

“Decades later, having a drink still feels like a decision to be a particular kind of person,” Hustad writes. A hit, a palpable hit.

But even if you don’t share that particular personal history and don’t recognize that particular variety of white evangelicalism, you may recognize Hustad’s description of the awkward dance of dinner conversation between the liberal child and the Fox-watching parent — a discussion marked by love, caution, and perilous subtexts.

• This is a really interesting take on Agents of SHIELD. (And not just because of it refers to Agent Ward as “Hot Buff Xander.”)

• I’m not so sure about the Reason piece that linked to this, but this is a remarkable artifact of American history: “Entertainment of George Washington at City Tavern, Philadelphia, September, 1787.” The 55 guests consumed: “54 Bottles of Madera, 60 of Claret, 8 of Old Stock, 22 Bottles of Porter, 8 of Cyder, 12 Beer” and “7 large bowls of punch.”

I note with some patriotic pride that the musicians who performed weren’t just well-paid, but also in the great American tradition received free drinks from the tavern — with 21 bottles of wine and seven more bowls of that punch split six ways among them.

I’d love to see what David Barton makes of this.

• Brian Zahnd, “My Problem With the Bible”:

I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation.

I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem.


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