A Southern Baptist in exile in the Bible belt

Both Alvin McEwen and Rachel Held Evans point us to Joan Garrett's insightful, empathetic portrait of a Red Bank, Tenn., family: "A tempest in my soul: A son's secret brings a Southern Baptist minister to his knees."This is beautiful storytelling and impressive reporting. It is, in other words, what good journalism looks like. Kudos to Garrett for immersing herself so thoroughly in her story, and kudos to the Chattanooga Times Free Press for giving her the time and the room to do so.The … [Read more...]

‘Bible Believers’ who do not know, or care, what the Bible says


Joe Jervis relays a Twitter exchange between Anderson Cooper and some other Joe: For those who can't read that image, the guy tells Cooper that "Jesus calls homosexuality sin and calls them [sic] to repent." Cooper replies, "actually, Joe, factually speaking, Jesus never mentioned anything about gays."It's disappointing that some folks who want to call upon a Bible vs. Gays appeal to authority don't realize that. Many do, of course -- plenty of anti-gay conservatives are … [Read more...]

Omphalos theory fan fiction

The "Omphalos hypothesis" discussed in the previous post is horrifying as theology. The idea that the Creator is also the Great Deceiver suggests some rather appalling aspects of the character of God.But it does make for fertile ground for some potentially fascinating, or at least amusing, storytelling.Think again of that 28,000-year-old Australian rock art or of the 30,000-year-old paintings in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in France. Now, for the sake of our story, let's accept the … [Read more...]

Never Have I Ever, Leviticus edition

Tad's Happy Funtime scores himself against the list of "76 Things Banned in Leviticus."Seeing them all listed out like that does seem to invite a marathon game of "I Never." (Or, depending on regional variations in college drinking games, "Never Have I Ever.")But seeing them all listed out like that also invites a more meaningful exercise: Evaluating the consistency of one's biblical hermeneutic.That's fancy seminary talk for an interpretive framework, or more generally for how you … [Read more...]

Selfish Gentiles and ‘Shellfish Objections’: Timothy Dalrymple vs. the Apostle Peter

Who are you going to side with: the Apostle Peter, or Timothy Dalrymple?You're going to have to pick one or the other, because Dalrymple, an evangelical blogger here at Patheos, is the latest contemporary American Christian to come out against Peter's explanation of his own vision from God.Peter believed that his vision from God was about accepting Gentiles (for starters). Dalrymple says that's wrong. He says that Peter's vision was really just about shellfish.Peter says that God … [Read more...]

A condemnation becomes a recommendation

In Western culture, at least since its Christian formation, there has been a perduring tendency to give too much importance to the morality of sex. The sexual has threatened to take over the moral focus of whole generations of persons. Everything about the “sexual” is considered “moral” or “immoral,” and “morality” is almost reduced to “sexual morality.” All of this is to the detriment of concerns about economic justice, the oppression of whole peoples, political dishonesty, and even theft and th … [Read more...]

Mutuality Week and the burden of proof

I go to check out at the library and the library clerk asks to see my card.Fair demand. Am I or am I not a member in good standing entitled to check out these books? Here we have a controversy, a dispute, an unsettled question in need of settling. The clerk has asked a legitimate question and the burden of proof rests on me to respond.So I give her my library card. That settles things easily. I have met the burden of proof and no longer need to shoulder it. The objection has been … [Read more...]

Who were the apocalypses written for?

At Jesus Creed, Drew J. Strait provides an overview of a new(ish) study from Anathea Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism.This seems like a pretty dense book, aimed at a scholarly reader rather than the general public. But the subject matter relates to something we discuss quite a bit here, at least on Fridays -- exploring what apocalyptic literature meant for the people who originally wrote and read it. What can we say about other Jewish … [Read more...]