Matthew 18 abuse needs to stop

"'Let such a one be to you as a Gentile and as a tax collector ...' WTF?"

Matthew 18 has become a refuge for scoundrels. Yes, Jesus taught us to forgive one another — not seven times, or 70 times, but 70 times seven times. But that does not mean that if you steal from me 77 times you’re entitled to recoil in holy offense when I call you a thief. That does not mean I can punch you in the face 489 times and then pretend I’m more righteous than you are because you demand that I stop. [Read more...]

Pay attention to how people describe the Bible


If you want to understand the ongoing “battle for the Bible,” then you need to understand this: The words people use to describe the Bible are often the clearest indication of how those people think of themselves. Listen carefully to the adjectives they use and the attributes they ascribe to the Bible. These are often words that the speaker longs to be associated with. [Read more...]

White evangelicals getting ready to rewrite the Bible. Again.


It has happened before and, as Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux shows, it is happening again. History will, again, be rewritten. The Bible will, again, be rewritten. So write yourself a note and seal it in a time capsule. Remember. [Read more...]

Misstatements of faith: How lying is mandatory for white evangelical institutions (part 1)


You can spend thousands of dollars to study biology or biblical studies at Bryan College. They will take your money. But the professors there are not permitted to teach you either biology or biblical studies, so that money will not be well spent. [Read more...]

Disputed texts

"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery," by Pieter Bruegel

If you regard canon as a magical category that imparts to a text some greater import than the actual words of that text, then I’m afraid that neither the poem nor the Gospel story will be quite as satisfying to you as they might be if their canonicity were confirmable with greater certainty. In that case, I suppose, it won’t matter that both the poem and the Gospel story are good, beautiful and true. [Read more...]

‘Jesus Calling’ is a way of screening Jesus’ calls


But the really confusing and upsetting part isn’t the stuff they find in there that ain’t there, it’s the stuff that is in there that they somehow never see. “Loose the bonds of injustice … share your bread with the hungry.” “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.” Those are messages from God, spelled out right there on the page. [Read more...]

I wave to the people but the wind just blows ‘em down


A five-day work week? That’s a union thing — and unions are evil doncha know. “Jesus wants you heavily armed.” Houston church desperately fighting to get on the wrong side of the gospel. (You thought I was gonna say “wrong side of history”? That too.) After they finished writing the Constitution, the Founding Fathers had a drink or two. “This is a problem.” [Read more...]

No, snake-handling is neither ‘literal’ nor ‘biblical’


Somehow this little fringe sect “marked by strict literal interpretations of the Bible” doesn’t cancel all debt every six years. They are neither pacifists nor genocidal conquerors (both of which — unfortunately for those who would be literal inerrantists — are commanded in various places in the Bible). They do not practice Jubilee, or Sotah, or requiring the one with two tunics to give to the one who has none. Like all who claim such a “strict literal interpretation,” they leave a vast amount of the Bible unacknowledged and seemingly unnoticed. [Read more...]