If we confess our sins

At this point in the sermon, pastors often balk and attempt to do the impossible — to provide an example of their personal “sin” that is not actually shameful or hurtful or distasteful. They’ll bring up some minor matter of akrasia, some petty foible or embarrassment. They’ll confess to once saying a dirty word when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer, or to being impatient in traffic. Their personal illustration, being something trivial, trivializes the entire sermon. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Anxious, overbearing parents glad for return of ‘Brio’

Brio is back. Focus on the Family is resurrecting its magazine targeting the teenage girls of white evangelicalism, because if anyone has his finger on the pulse of what’s hip and cool for teenagers, it’s long-time religious-right patriarch, spanking enthusiast, and proven false prophet James Dobson. Those who remember reading Brio back in the ’90s fall [Read More…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Why we can’t have Nice Things (cont’d.)

I still retain my evangelical impulse to look at any massive social injustice and think: We need another Great Awakening. We need revival, repentance, and conversion to a new way of life. But when that thought comes to me now, I don’t invest much hope in it. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

I’m guessing it’s named after the other Philip

“So who were Saints Philip and James?” The question involved the namesakes of a local Catholic parish, and I couldn’t be sure of the answer. There were quite a few saints that shared those names. But I suspect we can narrow down the list, because naming a church after the wrong one of those Philips would just be asking for trouble. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

The audacious claim that we are not shaped by history

Every facet of white evangelical Christianity as it exists in America today is based on this unspoken belief. It is the bold claim that defines the tradition, the bedrock of everything that white evangelical Christianity is and strives to be. That claim is this: Hundreds of years of slavery and a century of Jim Crow oppression had no effect on the shape of American Christianity.

[Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Causes and effects

The very same survey data they’ve collected might demonstrate something very different from what they’re arguing. They say this data shows that church-attendance makes it less likely for people to wind up divorced or addicted or in financial distress. But it’s just as possible — and far more likely — that it simply proves, instead, that our churches are really, really bad at welcoming people who are divorced, addicted, or in financial distress. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

The Pearly Gates are never, ever closed

The Pearly Gates of Heaven are a cliché image in popular culture. Every time a famous person dies, newspaper cartoonists churn out variations of the Famous Person at the Pearly Gates cartoon. The same Pearly Gates scene gets recycled endlessly in movies, TV shows, advertising, and more jokes than we could ever get written down. But in all of that pop-culture imagery and in all the religious folklore built around it, we tend to get one detail of John of Patmos’ vision completely backwards. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

A super-massive black hole and why I don’t like worship music

Many of the songs and choruses that make up our “worship music” claim to be about God, but the language they use to describe God is indistinct from the language we might use to try to describe the super-massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Many of these songs could be sung, without changing a word, by a Sagittarius A* death cult. [Read more…]

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook: