Don’t let the rain make you unhappy

“An Unbelievable Story of Rape” by Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller has been awarded a Pulitzer prize. This is correct. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. Also: UC Davis and the Streisand effect; trespassing vs. civil disobedience; James Dobson worries about demographic purity; and a pop-music artifact that makes me smile. [Read more…]

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NRA: A church without a plan

What do you suppose all these people do for a living? That’s a complicated subject here in the post-Rapture world of the Great Tribulation. Everyone can’t be like Buck and Rayford — with a spiffy new job working directly for the Antichrist. So what do all these other people do? [Read more…]

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What if we learned about the Bible from the people who got it right?

The victims of injustice tend to have a far better theological track record than the defenders, perpetrators, and beneficiaries of it. We should try learning from them for a change. Perhaps it would be better to learn about the Bible from the people who got it right than to continue learning about the Bible from people who insist on getting it wrong. [Read more…]

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Sunday favorites

‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. [Read more…]

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A generation which knew not Joseph

When it comes to the biblical story of Joseph, I’m with John Calvin. Joseph exploited the hungry and enslaved the entire world to curry favor with a tyrant. And that, Calvin concluded, was simply indefensible. “It is certain that all contracts which are not formed according to the rule of charity are vicious in the sight of God,” the reformer wrote in his commentary on Genesis. [Read more…]

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Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 77: ‘Hospitality vs. sales’

Contemporary American-style evangelism is made even stranger by the fact that it seems devoid of content. It’s become a turtles-all-the-way-down exercise with no apparent real bottom. Evangelism means, literally, the telling of good news. Surely there must be more to this good news than simply that the hearers of it become obliged to turn around and tell it to others. [Read more…]

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Gravity always wins

Ted Cruz fought a losing legal battle in defense of a Texas ban on the sale of dildos, arguing that the government has the right, and the duty, to prohibit masturbation. Basically he wants to shove so much government up in everybody’s business that there’d be no room in there for anything else. Also: -30- for ALL CAPS from the NWS; the hack gap and hailstorms; and the hermeneutics of English majors. [Read more…]

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Give us Barsabbas

We meet Joseph Barsabbas in an odd little story in the first chapter of the book of Acts. The eleven disciples decide they need to pick a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Barsabbas is the guy they almost picked, but didn’t. He’s the patron saint of the short straw. [Read more…]

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The politics of white resentment (a slice of local history)

Here’s a slice of very local politics from the 1970s that starkly parallels our national politics in 2016. This is from my daughter’s research on a Philly public housing battle during the Rizzo administration, but it illustrates the way that baldly racist segregationist policies get euphemized and repackaged as supposedly race-neutral policies today. [Read more…]

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I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one is doing something that doesn’t rhyme

Gordon Klingenschmitt is the kind of far-right fringe nut-job who gives most other far-right fringe nut-jobs the heebie-jeebies. But like dozens of other delirious religious extremists, Klingenschmitt isn’t too extreme for Ted Cruz. Plus: Mary Hunt on “The Joy Love Club;” the Volcano Gambit; cloud-based childhood memories; and a funny (real-life) version of Marmaduke. [Read more…]

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