An ‘old Cherokee story’ and other lies from the pulpit

“Which wolf will win?” “The one I feed the most.” I heard this story dozens and dozens of times from pulpits and in small groups and around campfires. Sometimes it was attributed to an old Indian, sometimes to an old Eskimo, sometimes it was an old African speaking to missionaries on the Dark Continent [sic]. Nope. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (2.12)

Kali Holloway on “How Delusional Nostalgia Is Killing the White Working Class” (i.e., why Trump is winning). Walter Brueggeman sides with the Gospel against the Bible. Margo Kaplan asks and answers a question about how we treat IVF clinics. And Daniel José Camacho on how multicultural churches can wind up reinforcing racism. [Read more…]

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This generation has far too many ‘Ezras’ already, thanks

Ezra was such an abusive, wrong-headed jerk that whole chunks elsewhere in scripture go out of their way to repudiate his ideology and behavior. That’s why Ruth is in the canon. It’s why Ruth is in every story of David and why Ruth is in the genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels. [Read more…]

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Pray that you will be among those ‘left behind’

To promote their Rapture mythology, “Bible prophecy” enthusiasts turn to Matthew 24, as read through the filter of the Scofield Bible and the lyrics of a Larry Norman song. But Larry and Scofield very clearly get that passage wrong. They’re reading it backwards. In Matthew 24, getting “left behind” is a Good Thing. [Read more…]

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Maybe God is trying to tell you something

I’d advise Trump to stick to some nice, safe evangelical church this week — somewhere that doesn’t use the lectionary shared by most of the world’s Christians. I’m sure he can get his new fundie friends to recommend some local church that would be better-suited for him. Someplace more hospitable to Trump’s central campaign theme of inhospitality.
Some nice, safe white evangelical church, in other words, where Trump won’t have to worry about encountering a God who might be trying to tell him something. [Read more…]

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Two Corinthians and Three Isaiahs

“Third Isaiah” is, in fact, fightin’ words in many white evangelical churches and institutions — even though the reference is not at all controversial (we might even say “innocuous”) among most evangelical clergy. This, again, reflects the gulf between what I’ve sometimes called the evangelical “faculty lounge” and the general evangelical populace. Evangelical leaders know many things that they cannot speak of outside of the faculty lounge. [Read more…]

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Stonehenge, Yucca Mountain, and the Bible

How long can history and memory be preserved without any written record? And, even if we stipulate that some vestigial memory might linger after many centuries, is there any way to separate those legitimate memories and histories from all that has accumulated around them? It’s a tantalizing problem. We want to know more than we do — maybe more than we can — about the ancient past, but the record of it just isn’t there. What we have, instead, are ciphers and puzzles, with few clues to understanding them. [Read more…]

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That time when five women sued God and won

Everybody is familiar with the story of Noah in the Bible, but many people don’t seem to realize that the Bible actually gives us two Noahs — two different stories about two very different people named Noah. That’s odd, in part, because the story of the other Noah appears three times. And because it’s a way better story. [Read more…]

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