The audacious claim that we are not shaped by history

Every facet of white evangelical Christianity as it exists in America today is based on this unspoken belief. It is the bold claim that defines the tradition, the bedrock of everything that white evangelical Christianity is and strives to be. That claim is this: Hundreds of years of slavery and a century of Jim Crow oppression had no effect on the shape of American Christianity.

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Causes and effects

The very same survey data they’ve collected might demonstrate something very different from what they’re arguing. They say this data shows that church-attendance makes it less likely for people to wind up divorced or addicted or in financial distress. But it’s just as possible — and far more likely — that it simply proves, instead, that our churches are really, really bad at welcoming people who are divorced, addicted, or in financial distress. [Read more…]

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On Satanic baby-killers: From TruNews and Full Frontal

Wacky fringe broadcaster Rick Wiles here is simply saying the quiet parts loud. He’s saying directly what the rest of white evangelical culture says indirectly — what that culture believes, and what it requires its members to believe. What Wiles offers is a distillation of that belief — the central, bedrock foundation of contemporary white evangelicalism — in its starkest form. [Read more…]

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How did a ‘heart for missions’ lead to contempt?

The “10/40 Window” used to be a big deal in mission conferences at white evangelical churches. Nowadays, white evangelicals seem to view these countries differently. The “10/40 Window” is the region from which white evangelicals want to ban refugees and immigrants. It’s the region white evangelicals want their chosen president to carpet bomb, invade, and steal oil from. [Read more…]

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‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

“Folks ’round here love their families,” the Very Nice man says. “We value hard work and honesty.” And the Very Nice man seems Very Nice, until you realize that what he’s actually saying is that he and his community imagine that other people in other places do NOT love their families and that “those people” do NOT value hard work and honesty. Once you realize this is what they want and need to believe about everyone else, the Very Nice man and his Very Nice community no longer seem quite so nice. [Read more…]

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The Pearly Gates are never, ever closed

The Pearly Gates of Heaven are a cliché image in popular culture. Every time a famous person dies, newspaper cartoonists churn out variations of the Famous Person at the Pearly Gates cartoon. The same Pearly Gates scene gets recycled endlessly in movies, TV shows, advertising, and more jokes than we could ever get written down. But in all of that pop-culture imagery and in all the religious folklore built around it, we tend to get one detail of John of Patmos’ vision completely backwards. [Read more…]

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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…]

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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…]

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