‘What became of the Christian intellectuals?’

When looking for the next Niebuhr, or for the next nationally influential Christian public intellectual, for some reason, Martin Luther King Jr. doesn’t count. This is never explained. We can guess at one very bad reason for why this might be so, but I suspect it’s due to another, slightly less-bad reason. I’m guessing it’s because Jacobs doesn’t think King fits neatly into the standard mold for what he imagines a “Christian intellectual” should be. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (2.24)

Sarah Posner on why apocalyptic American Christians are not “friends of Israel.” Heather Havrilesky on true romance. Julie Rodgers on Wheaton. Edmund N. Santurri’s crash-course on Reinhold Niebuhr. And Broderick Greer guides us into Lent. [Read more…]

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A sallow-eyed look at the slow descent of David Brooks

David Brooks expects poor people to learn moral lessons from people like him. It has never occurred to him that people like him might need to learn moral lessons from the poor. Thus when he writes for himself and for people like himself, his columns read like a knock-off of Ecclesiastes, but when he writes about other (non-wealthy, non-white) people, his columns read like a glib, ignorant knock-off of Proverbs. [Read more…]

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Niebuhr and Aristotle and Jay Smooth

You can learn a lot about ethics and human nature from reading the collected works of Reinhold Niebuhr, plus the Nicomachean Ethics, and, say, Stanley Hauerwas and Alasdair MacIntyre. Or you can just watch this five-minute video from Jay Smooth, which sums it all up and stitches it together quite nicely. [Read more…]

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Again, ‘liberal theology’ is not theology as done by people with ‘liberal’ politics

I did not become an LGBT-affirming Christian because of some scholarly research on the best way to translate “arsenokoitai” or because I learned to interpret Romans 1:26-27 in the larger context of the surrounding sentences in Romans 1:18-2:16. Nor did I come to see the full equality of women in society and in the church as a Good Thing due to the excellent exegetical work of folks like Scot McKnight in interpreting 1 Timothy 2:12. All of that is fascinating, but ultimately beside the point. [Read more…]

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War: Because, hey, what’s the worst that could happen?

As jaw-droppingly awful as it is to realize that Bill Kristol hasn’t learned anything from his complicity in the biggest, deadliest blunder of a generation, it’s just as awful to realize that many others haven’t learned anything from that mistake either. [Read more…]

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Why milllennialism is misleading the church

Don’t get me wrong — I think post-millennialism is a flawed theology. But if the Second Coming of Jesus is going to influence how Christians respond to injustice, I don’t want to hear us invoking pre-millennialist pessimism and saying that “Some things are not going to change until Jesus comes.” If that’s the only other option, then I’d prefer the post-millennial view: “Jesus isn’t going to come until some things change.” [Read more…]

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Whovians and Whedonites, Niebuhr and Game of Thrones, plus other random geekery

A Whovian watches “Firefly;” Niebuhrians watch “Game of Thrones;” horrible gendered T-shirts; the “shadow biosphere;” how ghost stories helped rediscover real history; and could the next Doctor be an American? [Read more…]

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