That time I was the evil opposite of Neoliberalism

I was supposed to learn what “Neoliberalism” means back in the early 1990s, in seminary. Alas, I stopped reading that book on page 51 when I came across the author’s example of the epitome of all that Neoliberalism opposed. That turned out to be, well, me. [Read more…]

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NRA: A grief ignored

As the lone church elder presiding over the viewing of his late friend Bruce Barnes, Rayford Steele has the opportunity to minister to a congregation racked with grief. But that’s boring. So instead, “Rayford let his mind wander” and he and the authors ignore the grieving in order to awkwardly cram in some strange exposition. [Read more…]

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Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 82: ‘yes I said yes I will Yes’

Re-read those personal testimonies but imagine that the topic is not religious conversion. Imagine that each is, instead, one of those little video interludes in “When Harry Met Sally” in which some charming old couple is recounting how they first fell in love. This is, after all, what all such testimonies are: people recounting how they fell in love. Disregard that love and such stories are meaningless. They become merely accounts of people going through the motions without context. They become pornography. [Read more…]

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The sins of the fathers

“Few people had more influence on Billy Graham than Bell,” reads the Wikipedia entry for Nelson Bell, Billy’s father-in-law. And the more you know about Nelson Bell and the journal he founded to promote and defend segregation, the more disturbing that sentence becomes. [Read more…]

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Bowling with Jesus

Would Jesus bowl? That question has been asked and answered. Even among the fundiest of the fundies I grew up around, bowling was never condemned as an impermissible form of “worldliness.” We bowled. And we prayed that God would guide the ball to help us nail that 7-10 split. [Read more…]

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Billy Graham and the rise of the religious right

Syndicate theology brings together some leading religious historians to discuss Billy Graham’s legacy in a thoughtful, collegial exchange. Samantha Bee helpfully covers some of the same territory, albeit with a few more jokes about butt stuff. [Read more…]

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NRA: Buck’s clever plan

Buck hopes that his lying to Verna and preventing her from speaking to the greatest evangelist in the world will lead to her accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. That would make life so much easier for Buck and the rest of the Tribulation Force. If Verna only converted like they had, then maybe she’d at last agree to help keep all their secrets secret. And maybe she’d start wearing some heels once in a while. [Read more…]

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Love > tolerance; but (love – tolerance – subsidiarity) < love

Take away all indirect responsibility and all of our more direct, more proximate responsibilities become enormously more challenging. If we begin to treat those direct responsibilities as exclusive — as precluding all of the indirect responsibilities — then we’re soon going to find that it’s impossible to manage them. Without the network of mutuality, we’re on our own for everything — which is to say, we’re screwed. [Read more…]

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Sunday favorites

“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” [Read more…]

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The Fall of the House of Graham (ongoing)

The transition from Billy Graham to his son Franklin Graham is a microcosm of the past 40 years of white evangelical Christianity in America. For Billy, the primary thing was always proclamation evangelism. That was the core of his identity. For Franklin, the primary thing is always the culture wars — anti-feminism, white supremacy, and the lucrative demonizing of the Other. That is the core of his identity. [Read more…]

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