And I dreamed I was dying

Another manufactured-housing community, another irresponsible landlord, another 49 families facing eviction and displacement. Same story, different day. Plus: Garry Wills on evangelicalism; the chemistry of Trump’s America; alt-right Warnkes go after Guy Fieri; and A.Q. Smith does a pretty good Ron Sider impression. [Read more…]

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Why we can’t have Nice Things (cont’d.)

I still retain my evangelical impulse to look at any massive social injustice and think: We need another Great Awakening. We need revival, repentance, and conversion to a new way of life. But when that thought comes to me now, I don’t invest much hope in it. [Read more…]

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Why we can’t have Nice Things

Want single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care? So do I, and so does a majority of the American public. But a big chunk of that public will stop wanting this for themselves if getting it means that people of color have it too. So that desirable, necessary goal will remain elusive and impossible until we change that. [Read more…]

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Who is my neighbor?

The question, as always, is an attempt to find a loophole or an escape clause. Whenever we ask “Who is my neighbor?” what we really mean is “Who is not my neighbor?” or, less tactfully, “Can’t you please just tell us that there’s somebody we’re allowed not to love?” [Read more…]

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Sunday favorites

“It is foolishness and a public madness to fill the cupboards with clothing and allow people who are created in God’s image and likeness to stand naked and trembling with cold, so that they can hardly hold themselves upright. Yes, you say, he is cheating and he is only pretending to be weak and trembling. What! Do you not fear that lightning from Heaven will fall on you for this word? …” [Read more…]

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‘Every rung goes higher and higher’

Today’s protest anthem and Saturday morning open thread comes courtesy of Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band. We are brothers, sisters all. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 128: ‘That beats all’

Last Monday, a third of the planet vanished faster than you can blink, without a trace, without an explanation. The entire world has seen something “that no one can explain.” There are no more children anymore and no one knows how or why or what happened. Compared to the confounding, incomprehensible, world-altering Event, a couple of guys tripping and dying scarcely registers on anyone’s personal list of unexplainable happenings. [Read more…]

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Rayford Pence and ‘the Billy Graham rule’

“Is there anything sadder – and ultimately more repellent – than a clean-minded pornographer?” That was Pauline Kael reacting to Kubrick’s “Clockwork Orange,” but it’s also an apt description of the so-called “Billy Graham rule,” which fosters the creepy obsessiveness of the habitual cheater and attempts to re-brand it as vigilance. [Read more…]

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I guess we’ll have to wait and see

Let’s relax and take a deep breath with an almost completely Trump-free post, featuring the music of the Old 97’s, a new documentary on Reinhold Niebuhr, and the sense of recognition that comes from realizing that comedian Pete Holmes is a Gordon College grad and a recovering evangelical (that explains a lot). [Read more…]

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Sanctuary and ‘civil disobedience’ (part 2)

This is the difference between Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. Parks effectively and strategically practiced civil disobedience. She broke an unjust law, submitting to her arrest and prosecution, and thereby helped to spark a public debate and a mass movement that ultimately changed and corrected that unjust law. Harriet Tubman broke an unjust law — many unjust laws — but she was compelled not to get caught doing so, for her own sake and for the sake of those she rescued. [Read more…]

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