Please be impotently polite in responding to our uncivil abuse of power


Suspending a tenured professor based on an implausible twisting of her words is not polite. Abusing administrative power is not polite. Attempting to intimidate your entire faculty is not polite. And scapegoating a professor as retaliation against student leaders for their commendable behavior is not polite. [Read more...]

Wheaton College suspends its own credibility


It’s impossible to see Wheaton College’s abrupt suspension of Prof. Hawkins as anything other than an obsequious, groveling attempt to appease Rich White Donors. And as a not-so-subtle threat to the rest of the faculty, staff and students to get in line and settle down. Or else. This is a sin. And a total dick move. [Read more...]

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles


I think it’s not so much the question of “what is this place for?” as the question of “who is this place for?” We don’t see any people in all those gorgeous photographs of this dazzling place. And it’s hard to imagine populating those photos with anyone other than the populace of “the so-called Gold Coast of Fairfield County, which … ranks sixth in the US in per-capita income.” [Read more...]

Advent Calendar, Day Five: Magnificat Is Coming to Town


“The kids in girl and boy land,” the song says, “will have a Jubilee.” But this promise of a coming Jubilee isn’t for everyone. Alongside that promise there’s also a repeated warning, almost a threat — “You better watch out.” This mix of a promised Jubilee and a repeated warning echoes the very first Christmas song or Advent hymn ever written. [Read more...]

What it seems to be all about then


It’s a funny scene for what it is — a child’s childish fantasy of the swaggering hero he wishes/imagines he will be transformed into thanks to the purchase of a product (that product being, of course, an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock). But it’s not so funny when alleged adults — people of the legal age to be considered “grown-ups” — repeat this exact fantasy as the basis for public policy or the lack thereof. [Read more...]

Abd el-Kader and Syrian refugees

Abd el-Kader, photographed in Damascus, 1860.

With the rejection of Syrian refugees becoming an ugly political issue for Republican presidential candidates, and with those same candidates campaigning in and around Elkader, Iowa, it seems like a good time to revisit the story of the man that city is named after. This story has something to teach all of us about protecting and sheltering refugees. It’s something those candidates desperately need to learn. [Read more...]

Church vs. the white evangelical direct-mail fundraising industry


But this church-y interest has relatively little influence within or over white evangelicalism as a whole. Its concerns are usually drowned out by the far-louder voices from the much larger platforms of the direct-mail fundraising industry and the donor-devoted institutions. And both of those factions are inextricably linked to Republican politics and thus, in 2015, to being predominantly and almost exclusively white. [Read more...]

Liberation vs. tribalism


“In order to maintain a voice within the evangelical world and make progress on a single issue,” Deborah Jian Lee writes, “one must toe the conservative line on every other issue.” That’s from her new book, “Rescuing Jesus,” which has been reviewed by Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott — someone whose history makes her an expert on exactly what Lee is describing there. [Read more...]