‘To keep oneself unstained by the world’

Purity is the main thing here, after all — retaining the unsullied perfection of our undefiled religion. The whole orphans and widows bit is really just thrown in there as an afterthought for those who feel kind of weird just sitting around, avoiding the world, stayin’ pure and undefiled. But clearly it’s optional. Extra-credit, maybe, but not required. And really it’s just too dangerous to risk it. [Read more…]

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‘Therefore, we are saved by hope’

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.” [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (7.2)

Sonia Sotomayor on lawless police; Ben Moberg on Orlando; Loretta Lynch on being seen; Alex Massie on the consequences of hateful rhetoric; and Carvell Wallace on the “Negro Motorist Green Book” and the meaning of home. [Read more…]

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‘Religious outreach’

While Donald Trump’s evangelical outreach continues to flail — “We’ve gotta spiritize this country!” — another election year brings about the quadrennial ritual of articles fretting about the need for “religious outreach” by Democrats. Remember, though, that Hillary Clinton’s long history with her United Methodist Church and her involvement with its women’s groups doesn’t count, because mainline Protestantism doesn’t count. “Religious outreach by Democrats” only counts if it involves obsequious overtures to white evangelicals. [Read more…]

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Donald Trump’s B-list ‘evangelical advisory board’

Donald Trump’s list of names is interesting both for who it includes and who it doesn’t. I’m not talking about the conservative white evangelicals who have, commendably, been fierce critics of Trump, but about the absence of the names of some prominent white evangelical Trump-supporters and GOP-before-GOD culture-warriors. Why did those folks duck this list? [Read more…]

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We’ve gotten better at mourning. That’s a sick form of ‘progress’

The enormous change in public response might be more encouraging if the unit of measurement weren’t so horrifying. It is, undeniably, evidence of progress that our communities, our media, our politicians and churches have gotten better at publicly mourning the mass-slaughter of gay men. It is damnably indefensible that violence against LGBT people remains such a constant that it can serve as such a measurement of cultural attitudes over time. [Read more…]

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The sins of the fathers

“Few people had more influence on Billy Graham than Bell,” reads the Wikipedia entry for Nelson Bell, Billy’s father-in-law. And the more you know about Nelson Bell and the journal he founded to promote and defend segregation, the more disturbing that sentence becomes. [Read more…]

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Calling out in transit

The male leaders of the Roman Catholic Church are now mumbling about maybe, some day, ending the late-developing innovation of a ban on women deacons. We can’t talk about that without talking about Paul’s first-century letter to the church in Rome, which was carried by a woman deacon and greets, by name, a long list of women leaders in the church. Also: Londoners get to vote; all change is incremental; a sexual predator is also a financial predator; and I am really old. [Read more…]

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