Money, Hell, and ‘Kirk Drift’

That engagement may initially be hostile, but that hostility compels me to pay attention. It gets me to the point of, “Oh yeah? Well, we’ll see about that!” And, as embarrassing as that misplaced hostility may later prove to be, it has the salutary effect of compelling me to see about that, which means it can render me, perhaps for the first time, capable of seeing about that. [Read more…]

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Captain Kirk, the Green Woman, and the Bible

She must have been one of Kirk’s romantic conquests, right? If you had asked me that, I’d have told you, yes, of course, everyone knows that. J.J. Abrams even included a funny reference to it in the 2009 movie reboot. But as Horáková points out, that’s wrong. James T. Kirk never even met that green woman. The text doesn’t always say what we are sure it says. [Read more…]

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Tales from the Dark Side

The same challenge Jenkins is tackling here faces any Christian who attempts to consider what is widely and popularly believed to be the Christian doctrine of Hell. It’s almost impossible for us today to talk about — or even to think about — any idea of Hell that isn’t thoroughly intertwined with and shaped by a host of folklore, legends, pop-culture storytelling, tabloid sensationalism, and pseudo-academic malarkey that’s every bit as weird and bogus as the belief that poor Charles Walton was ritually sacrificed in 1945 in a “witch killing” intent on ensuring a bountiful harvest. [Read more…]

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The Fall of the House of Graham (ongoing)

The transition from Billy Graham to his son Franklin Graham is a microcosm of the past 40 years of white evangelical Christianity in America. For Billy, the primary thing was always proclamation evangelism. That was the core of his identity. For Franklin, the primary thing is always the culture wars — anti-feminism, white supremacy, and the lucrative demonizing of the Other. That is the core of his identity. [Read more…]

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Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 67: ‘Selective literalism’

The point of all three of Jesus’ stories, of course, is that the kingdom of God is made up of those who do good, not those who do evil — and particularly not those evildoers (weeds, goats, Dives) who ignore the needs of the poor. To read such stories and ignore this point is perverse. To interpret them as primarily about the specific mechanics of the End Times — the role of Abraham and angels, the heat-setting of the fiery furnace — is even more perverse. [Read more…]

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Slaves in the hands of an angry white God

The New York Conspiracy of 1741 probably wasn’t a conspiracy at all. While there’s little evidence to suggest that any significant “slave revolt” had been planned, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that white New Yorkers lost their collective minds in a fearful frenzy that led to 18 hangings and 13 people being burned at the stake in the streets of Manhattan. [Read more…]

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Sometimes so strange, sometimes so sweet

The resignation of Wheaton College president Philip Ryken wouldn’t completely unsoil the sheets there, but it might be a good start. Plus: Municipal broadband beats however you’re reading this; Ted Cruz has some hideous friends; the Webby Awards apparently still exist; and yes, of course I’ll link to a piece on “Buffy” and the folklore of Hell. [Read more…]

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Advent Calendar, Day Five: Magnificat Is Coming to Town

“The kids in girl and boy land,” the song says, “will have a Jubilee.” But this promise of a coming Jubilee isn’t for everyone. Alongside that promise there’s also a repeated warning, almost a threat — “You better watch out.” This mix of a promised Jubilee and a repeated warning echoes the very first Christmas song or Advent hymn ever written. [Read more…]

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