Talking to Republican friends at the Trumpian crossroads

I’m not interested here in what’s “savvy,” or in playing some kind of 11-dimensional chess game. I’m thinking here, instead, of all the Very Nice People I know in white evangelicalism, Republicans all, who find themselves at a crossroads — forced to choose whether they will follow this path even all the way to Donald Trump. I am not thinking here in the abstract, but of very specific individuals — people I know and like, people I respect despite our deep political disagreements, people I’ve learned from and people I admire. I’m thinking of friends, relatives, neighbors, church-members, teachers, authors, writers and correspondents. [Read more…]

Needed some sand in my flip-flops

I’m back from an impromptu mini-vacation down the shore — tan, rested and ready for September (once I go out and buy a new Trapper Keeper). Here’s some stuff I came across on my spotty Wildwood wifi, including: RIP Gene Wilder; the Family Research Council’s white supremacy spokesmodel; and what we can learn from press coverage of Colin Powell’s charitable foundation. [Read more…]

Sunday favorites

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'” [Read more…]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 96: ‘Humbert Steele’

My guess is that, as ever in Left Behind, the real unreliable narrators here are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. They want to show us that their hero is fallible, and that his new faith requires him to face the consequences of the bad choices he made earlier. They also — unintentionally, accidentally and unawares — give us a portrait of Rayford as vain, selfish, misogynist and controlling. And often the least flattering aspects of Rayford’s character are revealed when the author’s seem to be trying to show us something they think is admirable about their character. It’s like reading Nabokov, but with the added twist of the authors sharing in the narrator’s solipsism and self-delusion. [Read more…]

Now we get moose and squirrel

Yes, it’s a picture of Donald Trump with Boris and Natasha, because we shouldn’t forget Trump’s scandalous links to Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian despots, even if those aren’t among the top 10 or top 20 worst things about Donald Trump. Plus some other stuff, including: Clinton Foundation, under a microscope, looks clean; EpiPen and Insulin makers gouging consumers (and insurers); Mat Staver, law professor; and religious liberty in white America. [Read more…]

Postcards from the culture wars (8.24)

“Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.” [Read more…]

‘You’re better than this’ vs. ‘You should be ashamed of yourself’

So you’re sitting there across from the kid who’s just done something dumb. Your role here is scriptural — not in the sense that it’s according to the scriptures, but in the sense that you’re needing to say something that will be “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” You’re concerned, in other words, not just with what this kid did, but with what this kid is becoming — with the different kinds of person this kid could potentially become. [Read more…]

Here’s what you do when an erratic bigot hijacks your party nomination

From Honolulu Civil Beat: “I want it understood by the general public and the media that the recent inflammatory comments made by candidate for Congress (CD2) Angela Kaaihue do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our Party and its members,” Fritz Rohlfing said in a statement issued late Friday. “Her vulgar, racially-bigoted, and religiously-intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse.” [Read more…]

Trust me, I’ve tried all the other religions. All of them.

This is a thing that a lot of evangelical Christians do and that we really need to stop doing. It’s an attempt to tell your story in a way that discounts and dismisses every other story. That’s always a bad look and it comes from a bad place. It’s the impulse that is unable to celebrate anything without simultaneously disparaging everything else that is not that thing. And it’s an attempt to bolster what you’re saying about what you do know by claiming to also be an expert about everything else. [Read more…]

Sunday favorites

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” [Read more…]