Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 1)

The faction defending the status quo is — correctly — portrayed as the “conservative” side. They’re fighting to prevent change. They embody the definition of conservatism by standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!” And thus, because they are in that sense conservative, they also tend to portray themselves and to be portrayed by others as being religiously conservative. Thus positioned as the representatives of religious conservatism, they are therefore also perceived as the defenders of true religion against the liberals and the anti-religious. Everyone else therefore has “a religion problem.” Everyone except them. [Read more…]

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‘Of Asher, Pagiel son of Ocran’

What had happened was that I’d made it all the way to Numbers. I was doing it — reading the whole Bible all the way through, start-to-finish, just as we’d been urged and encouraged and admonished to do. And I was reading it devotionally, a little bit every morning, prayerfully and with pen in hand, meditating on its meaning and application to my daily life and my daily walk and God’s Plan For My Life. Yet no matter how much I prayed or meditated, there just seemed to be a lot of days when I didn’t find anything that seemed terribly profitable for doctrine, or for reproof, or for correction, or for instruction in righteousness. [Read more…]

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Reading 66 books in one year

The start of a new year brings us a wide variety of read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plans. Some of these are more sophisticated than others, but ultimately all such checklist approaches boil down to basic arithmetic. Our Bibles have been conveniently chopped into 31,102 verses, divided by 365 days in a year. So then it’s just a matter of slicing it into little 85.2-verse chunks for daily consumption. This is a very strange, unhelpful way to read a book. [Read more…]

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Jesus never read ‘The Bible’

“How can we know the way?” Thomas asks.

“Read the Bible,” says the evangelical preacher down the block from me.

“Read the Bible as absolutely true and authoritative, in every word,” says Tim Keller.

But that’s not what Jesus said. Not at all. [Read more…]

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The clarity of a dead end

Here we are. The wrong road that white evangelicalism has stubbornly been following has led us here, to 2016, and the election of Donald J. Trump thanks, largely, to the overwhelming support of white evangelicals. This is not an aberration, but a culmination. This is where that road takes you. It’s where you’re bound to end up if you drive long enough using only the segregationists and the wealthy donors as your GPS. [Read more…]

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Are there 10 righteous sneetches in Sodom?

This is a bit of a mess, mixing Dr. Seuss analogies and the weirdest story from the book of Genesis, along with a discussion of how #notALL #notALL arguments are the ugly kind. All in service of a question we can’t yet answer: Can white evangelical Christianity be redeemed? [Read more…]

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The personal character of public figures

“White evangelicals don’t care as much about corruption in political leadership as they used to. A Public Religion Research Institute poll released in October reported that white evangelicals have dramatically revised their opinions about politicians’ personal morality, in recent years.” Politicians’ “personal morality” stopped mattering once we had a president who couldn’t be attacked on the basis of his personal morality. It stopped mattering when it ceased to be politically useful. [Read more…]

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The unjust piety of ‘safe evangelical environments,’ from Oney Judge to Larycia Hawkins

“She says that the stories told of Washington’s piety and prayers, so far as she ever saw or heard while she was his slave, have no foundation. Card-playing and wine-drinking were the business at his parties, and he had more of such company Sundays than on any other day. I do not mention this as showing, in my estimation, his anti-Christian character, so much as the bare fact of being a slaveholder, and not a hundredth part so much as trying to kidnap this woman; but, in the minds of the community, it will weigh infinitely more.” [Read more…]

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