Meteorologists explain the direction of the wind


"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," Bob Dylan said. And we also shouldn't need moral theologians with formal training to tell us that the leadership of our churches should consist of "individuals who are neither perpetrators nor enablers of abuse."But apparently we do.Bill Lindsey directs us to that bit of advice from the theological faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Dylan's home state of Minnesota. "St. Thomas faculty join refrain for Twin Cities … [Read more...]

‘It’s a hard world for little things’


"One Million Moms" -- the media watchdog arm of the right-wing Christianist American Family Association, whose name is inaccurate by several orders of magnitude -- is upset with the latest ad from Guinness because it features the great old hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms": Guinness & Co. is currently airing a commercial for its beer with a popular gospel hymn as background music. The song "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" is played during the entire ad and even though there are no … [Read more...]

A scientist sets an example for the church

I do not know much of anything about "the evolution and ecology of microbes and genomes," or much of anything about Dr. Jonathan Eisen, who specializes in that field. But Eisen seems to be a mensch.The UC Davis professor was recently invited to give a prestigious endowed lecture series and, as Upworthy would say, What He Did Next Will Surprise You. I do not think I have ever given a named lecture before. Then I made one fateful decision -- I decided to look up who had spoken at the lecture … [Read more...]

‘I am not the monster that I once was’


• That'll preach: Gordon S. Wood marvels at the way Danielle Allen approaches the Declaration of Independence. Wood praises Allen's Our Declaration for its insight, accessibility, careful reading of the text and personal intimacy. He seems astonished by her reverential and revelatory engagement with the text, but there's a word for the expository process he describes. It's a sermon.Sounds like Allen's book may be useful not just for students of history, but for students of homiletics as we … [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

Luke 8:1-3 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. … [Read more...]

I see your face, I see you staring back at me


• Today in poorly worded job application questions: "Did you ever just think of taking any money from a place where you worked without actually doing it?"I believe they want applicants to say No. They don't seem to realize that can mean two very different things.• RIP James Garner. I'm too young to remember Maverick, but I always liked The Rockford Files (I clicked on the video Erik Loomis posted just to hear the theme song, then got sucked in and watched the full episode). Nobody was bet … [Read more...]

We’re having some work done


Hey, so, Patheos is upgrading our WordPress and some tech stuff to improve load times, etc. That starts today at 4 p.m. EST and should be (fingers crossed) done by tomorrow at 11 a.m. In the meantime, I can't post, schedule posts or log in to WordPress lest I derail and delay the process. Basically, this kind of situation:Disqus will still work though (for usual Disqus-equivalent meanings of the word "work"), so feel free to continue visiting and talking amongst … [Read more...]

A good joke can change the world


I have always believed that a good joke can change the world.Now we have proof that it's true: "Office Space helped rid the world of 'flair.'" “About four years after Office Space came out, T.G.I. Fridays got rid of all that [button] flair, because people would come in and make cracks about it,” [Mike] Judge recently told Deadline. “One of my ADs asked once at the restaurant why their flair was missing and they said they removed it because of that movie Office Space. So, maybe I made the wor … [Read more...]

Idiot plots, purity culture, and the cruel gods of farce


Roger Ebert's movie glossary defines an Idiot Plot as "Any plot containing problems that would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots." Hemant Mehta eyes the trailer for Christian-brand comedy The Virgins and doubts that an Idiot Plot can be redeemed simply by attributing the characters' idiocy to religious devotion."I grow restless," Ebert said, when the misunderstandings driving a plot "could be ended by words that the screenplay refuses to allow [the characters] t … [Read more...]

Tears for the perpetrators. Anger at the victims.


Amy @ Watch Keep highlights a rare story of a local church responding appropriately to finding an abuser on its payroll.John Sluder was an associate pastor at Believers Church in Auburn, Alabama: His arrest in May got him kicked out of the church where he had been for 30 years.  Lee County Sheriff's detectives say the two adult victims came forward in April to report they were abused in the early 1990's.... [Attorney Ben] Hand represents Believers Church where his father is the pastor. H … [Read more...]