OK, then what else would we call it?


This quality of being literally priceless — of being beyond the realm of sale — is a recognizable concept and, as such, it requires a term, a word that allows us to refer to it. Language finds words for things. Here is a thing that requires a word. If Wendell Berry’s word — “sacred” — will not do, then what word should we be using? [Read more...]

If nothing is sacred, then everything is for sale


“Sacred” does not mean that something “is beyond question.” It means that something is beyond price. To say that nothing is “sacred,” then, is to say that everything is for sale. This is not just a deeply cynical thing to say about the world, but a bitterly cynical thing to say about oneself. [Read more...]

Please throw the little fish back


“You go to jail if you believe in God and stand fast for your beliefs,” televangelist Pat Robertson said. Robertson is not in jail. Do the math. Also: A Canadian “mugshot;” police still think toxicology justifies shooting unarmed citizens; and why I won’t be convinced until I see a “blood moon” on Rosh Hashanah. [Read more...]

Chasing the race and the races run you down

Kim Davis was found in contempt of court on September 4 -- 57 years to the day after other white evangelical Christians in the South defied a court order they believed contradicted their religious views.

Some random thoughts as we settle back in after Protecting Your Signature Day, including: the reviews are in on Kim Davis’ Orval Faubus impersonation; the 450th anniversary of the founding of our Christian Nation; Owls eat Lions; and “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.” [Read more...]

Scenes from the class war (9.8)


“You have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?” [Read more...]

Choosing to panic: Moral ‘panics’ require volunteers


Academic studies of moral panics emphasize the function of demagogues, “moral entrepreneurs,” and credulous media accounts. Those all play a role, but they all play largely the same role — that of recruiting volunteers. Without a critical mass of such volunteers volunteering — choosing, deciding — to play along, then would-be demagogues and moral entrepreneurs can never be anything more than cranks. [Read more...]

Sunday WTF?


“Aliens residing among you shall ascend above you higher and higher, while you shall descend lower and lower. They shall lend to you but you shall not lend to them; they shall be the head and you shall be the tail.” [Read more...]

Baptism is always a political act


Believer’s Baptism requires the separation of church and state. More than that: Believer’s Baptism defiantly asserts the separation of church and state. It declares and demands and demonstrates the separation of church and state. [Read more...]

Postcards from the culture wars (9.4)


“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” [Read more...]

‘Can the Evangelical Left Rise Again?’ No. But thanks for asking.


I appreciate the recent wave of attention being paid to my former tribe, but there’s a reason that articles like this all sound like the presenter giving out a Lifetime Achievement Award to some emeritus trustee at some local nonprofit’s annual dinner, or like someone dedicating the historical marker to honor some worthy, but largely forgotten, event from the past. That tone — fond, but past-tense, a bit like an obituary — is entirely appropriate. [Read more...]