J.R. Daniel Kirk on the heart of the gospel (This is not an Official Statement of a stance on an issue)


If the gospel is not allowed to be audacious, then how can it possibly be good news? Audacity — sheer, mind-boggling audacity — is a core characteristic of the gospel. If your idea of the gospel isn’t so audacious as to give you pause, then your idea of the gospel is far too small. [Read more...]

Tony Campolo offers an Official Statement on his stance on the issue of homosexuality

Tony Campolo (photo via Eastern.edu)

This is an Official Statement announcing his change of “stance” on an “issue.” Such Official Statements are a kind of ritual genre in the white evangelical tribe, and that genre both limits what can be said and shapes how it can be said. They cannot be about justice or injustice directly, but only about one’s “stance” toward them. And they aren’t constructed to accommodate or acknowledge actual people, only the “issues” that affect them. This displaces the conversation — removing it several steps from the fierce urgency of now and pushing it off toward some more abstract and ethereal discussion of the relative validity of various possible “stances” and their status within the tribe. [Read more...]

Revisiting the immorality of the religious right’s ‘moral high ground’


The religious right’s assertion that it represented the moral high ground was widely accepted for many years. But once they were challenged to defend that assertion, it proved to be indefensible. That’s why anti-gay ballot initiatives in the United States lost in 2012, and it’s why Irish voters overwhelmingly endorsed marriage equality in 2015. [Read more...]

The Duggar Family Scandal: A reader


Here’s a round-up of some insightful commentary and reflection in response to the Josh Duggar scandal. This is not the first time that prominent religious right figures have been exposed as sexual predators and hypocrites after making a career out of demonizing LGBT people while celebrating their own sexual “purity.” Nor will it be the last. [Read more...]

Culture warriors vs. the common good


“I would hate for people to vote no for bad reasons, for sort of bigoted reasons, for nasty reasons, for bullying reasons,” Donal McKeown, the bishop of Derry, said before the Irish referendum. A culture-warrior could never say that. For a culture-warrior, a vote for your side is simply a vote for your side — no matter what the motive. If the bigots and nasty bullies can help your side win, then you need their votes. [Read more...]

‘Erotic liberty’ — Al Mohler’s new slur is really a sad confession


The phrase “erotic liberty,” as Al Mohler is trying to use it, only makes sense if you accept Mohler’s premise — which is that “erotic” has, and can only have, negative connotations. For Mohler and his Mohlerettes, “erotic” means dirty. It means sex — and sex is a bad, naughty, nasty, filthy thing. For Mohler, in other words, “erotic” means “shameful.” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (5.12)

Candida Moss on the pedagogy of Hell. Libby Anne on “Orgies, Bisexuality, James Dobson, and Evangelicals.” Ronald Osborn on misreading Genesis and mistreating animals. Matthew Frost on the Bible on its own terms. And the Associated Press finds that “Your seafood might come from slaves.” [Read more...]

A closed circle of squares: Hipster costumes can’t make exclusion cool

Skinny jeans, Red Wing shoes, and Brooklyn beards still wouldn't make these guys "cool."

The uncoolness of Q Ideas, I think, stems from its desire to attain insider status — its need for permission and approval and influence. Insider status always depends on a willingness to accept the rules of the insiders, which means a willingness to keep the outsiders outside. And excluding outsiders is the definition of uncool. Excluding outsiders precludes the possibility of coolness. [Read more...]