Affirmative action

Acts 6:1-7 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.Therefore, friends,┬áselect from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint … [Read more...]

If you believe in ‘inerrancy’ you have to pretend that all the other people who believe in ‘inerrancy’ do not exist

"That other guy is lying. I alone have the one, true, inerrant Word of God."

"Complementarians" do not like Rachel Held Evans -- mainly because complementarians do not like other complementarians. They have to attack Rachel because she listens to all of them, and tries to respond to all of them. And they can't bear that, because that exposes the one thing they can't survive acknowledging: the wide diversity of "complementarian" views. That word refers to the idea that men and women have "complementary" roles, with men divinely ordained as leaders. It's basically a … [Read more...]

Hell and soteriology Part 1: Bill O’Reilly’s accidental insight


Chris Skinner, a biblical scholar who blogs at Peje Iesous, got a good laugh at watching Fox News host Bill O'Reilly getting schooled by Notre Dame New Testament prof Candida Moss -- "Scholar v. Blowhard on Jesus (Or: Candida Moss Shows How Schockingly Ignorant Bill O'Reilly Actually Is)." Skinner piles on, deservedly, highlighting and underscoring several of the ways this brief interview exposes O'Reilly's utter incomprehension of what he's talking about. Skinner is right about the … [Read more...]

The parable of the shrewd Goodwill cashier


This is a story from last week: Collier County (Fla.) deputies say 19-year-old Andrew Anderson was an employee at a Goodwill store in East Naples -- he was arrested for giving out discounts. ... The 19-year-old was an employee at Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in East Naples -- giving out discounts to customers he thought were in need. "People would come in on bicycles -- wearing all of the clothes they had, coming in with $2, $3 max," Anderson said. Not thinking anything of it, … [Read more...]

Today’s TV show, tomorrow’s ‘everybody knows’

Katrina Van Tassel might have had second thoughts if this were Ichabod Crane.

The Headless Horseman, according to the new Fox television show Sleepy Hollow, is none other than the first of the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" from the book of Revelation. That premise calls for an indefensible exegesis both of John's Apocalypse and of the short story by Washington Irving -- two of the many texts enlisted and reinvented to serve the show's convoluted premise. The Wikipedia entry linked to above refers to the show as "a modern-day retelling" of Irving's story. Nonsense. … [Read more...]

‘Dracula’ and the Bible


NBC television has a new 10-episode miniseries this fall called Dracula. It's based on the famous vampire from Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic novel. I've never read Stoker's novel. I'm not sure I could. I'm not sure any of us could. It's still in print and readily available -- you can download a free ebook version here, or read it online if you like. But those of us sitting here, in 2013, will still have a very hard time reaching back to 1897 to read the book as Stoker intended it to be read or as … [Read more...]

Slavery, segregation and biblical literalism (cont’d.)


In his review of Carolyn Dupont's Mississippi Praying, a history of white evangelical support for segregation, John Turner arrives at Dupont's unavoidable conclusion and balks a bit: "While I agree with Dupont that one cannot simply blame a 'culture' while absolving a 'theology' ... I hesitate to label 'evangelical theology' the problem." Why not? Evangelical theology certainly didn't prove itself to be the solution. Turner notes that, "One could take a rather literalist approach to … [Read more...]

Three strikes against white evangelical theology


I've only read John Turner's reviews and not the book itself, but Carolyn Dupont's history, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975, seems to revisit the same theological conflict Mark Noll traced in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis. And, according to Turner, Dupont explicitly embraces the explosive conclusion that Noll sidesteps in his earlier history of an earlier time. Here is John Turner's summary of this argument: According to … [Read more...]