Orthodoxy and ignorance

Mike Todd, writing about Rob Bell's Love Wins and the (over)heated condemnation it has received, offers an insight into this fierce defense of rigid orthodoxies that collides neatly with our most recent Tribulation Force discussion. In particular, he explains why it is that real, true Christian heroes like Rayford Steele and Buck Williams cannot learn, change or grow.Here's Mike, writing about "Love Hell, Conciousness and the (Current) Impossibility of 'Church Unity'": If your spirituality is … [Read more...]

Constantine is dead

If there were an award for seeking out the bare-minimum lowest common denominator of Christian morality, I would nominate the new ecumenical document, "Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct." Christian missionaries should renounce all "deception and coercive means" of winning converts, according to an agreement released Tuesday by a broad coalition of evangelicals, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican.… the document [also] denounces proselytizing w … [Read more...]

Quench not the Spirit

Rachel Held Evans responds to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution affirming belief in "conscious, eternal suffering" for all non-Christians, i.e., Hell.She quotes from Rustin J. Umstattd, a theology professor at Midwestern Baptist seminary, who criticizes author Rob Bell for not realizing that we Christians, apparently, are not supposed to listen when our conscience starts screaming in protest: It is clear that Bell is not comfortable with the idea that billions of people may … [Read more...]

Jim Wallis and Believe Out Loud, Part 2

When I worked for Evangelicals for Social Action -- a progressive evangelical group in the same general orbit as Sojourners -- one of our big supporters liked to tell the story of his first encounter with Ron Sider and Sider's book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.He was furious. He read just enough of the book to grasp Sider's main theme, that the Bible commands believers to share what we have with the poor. This is, Sider notes, a massive, pervasive and central theme of the Bible. The … [Read more...]

How to make sure your daughter grows up to marry Russell Brand

It seems every media outlet other than Vanity Fair did a story on Vanity Fair's interview with Katy Perry. Most of these described the pop star as "slamming" or "blasting" her strict sectarian upbringing.I thought she was actually pretty gentle in her criticism, considering.I know many people who grew up in the kind of morally fraught subcultural bubble that Perry was raised in and most of them are nowhere near as generous as Perry is in that Vanity Fair interview.There's a spectrum of … [Read more...]

"What will replace it has not yet become clear"

From Brian McLaren at the Huffington Post: It's obvious neither the voices of the poor themselves nor ours raised in solidarity with them are being heard by most of our fellow evangelicals.Instead, they seem to be tuned in to Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and others like them. They've discovered that by speaking boldly in black-and-white terms, they can sway evangelicals to their bold way, their complexity-free truth, and their highly profitable life.In my travels, I … [Read more...]

Mike Warnke and Marriage Equality

Mike Warnke was a con artist. He traveled the country for years, packing the pews of evangelical churches with his message of salvation from Satan, selling thousands of books and records while hauling in millions in donations for the children he had supposedly rescued from the clutches of Satan-worshipping abusers.Warnke arrived in churches like Harold Hill from The Music Man -- as charming and charismatically beguiling as any con artist could be. "You've got trouble right here in River City," … [Read more...]

Should I not be concerned?

Or we could look at it this way. What we're really talking about here in our dispute with Team Hell isn't just "What about Gandhi?" -- it's also "What about Ninevah?" Scores of evangelical pastors and authors have condemned Rob Bell for asking "Will billions and billions of people burn forever in Hell?" and for expressing discomfort at the idea. But Bell's question echoes this earlier question: And should I not be concerned about Ninevah, that … [Read more...]