Smart people saying smart things (6.20)


Flannery O'Connor, in The Habit of Being I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky. Christian Piatt, "Five Reasons Churches Need to 'Come Out' on LGBTQ Rights" Perhaps you’re still wrestling with the “gay issue” because of your understanding of scripture. As long as … [Read more...]

The ivy taps on the window pane


• The state of Iowa may well elect a U.S. senator who believes in -- and fears -- Nicolae Carpathia, the fictional Antichrist character in the World's Worst Books. Tim LaHaye's John Birch Society paranoia and ignorance about what the United Nations actually is are now so mainstream that a major party candidate for national office openly uses Left Behind as a foreign policy manual: Out here in Real World Land, Agenda 21 is a nonbinding international initiative aimed at promoting sustainable … [Read more...]

Conversion to what? Conversion from what? The unanswered questions of ‘Great Commission Baptists’

Southern Baptist Name Change

The Southern Baptist Convention begins its annual meeting tomorrow in Baltimore. The SBC, Jonathan Merritt notes, is the "largest Protestant denomination" in America, with about 16 million members. Thirty years ago, that last sentence would've been perceived as fightin' words. Who you calling a denomination? For Baptists from any of our many conventions and associations, the d-word has long been an epithet -- a pejorative accusation aimed at those who have forgotten what it means to be … [Read more...]

I am always praying through my vanities


• Big day around here: Younger daughter graduates from high school tonight. We're very, very proud of her, even if we're dreading the half-hour rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" this evening's ceremony will involve. (If I ruled the world, I'd give Elgar's anthem a rest and have graduates process to something more upbeat. "Lovely Allen" maybe.) • Molly Worthen asks, "Did the Southern Baptist 'Conservative Resurgence' Fail?" (Short answer: By the SBC's own metric of baptisms and new … [Read more...]

Is Owen Strachan’s Bro-formed theology heretical?

The founding manifesto for the "biblical manhood" group is called "The Danvers Statement." That's never not funny.

Owen Strachan is president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Take a moment to appreciate what that entails and allow that to season what follow here with a bit of pity for the guy. Strachan has a difficult and thankless job. Whether he is the last to preside over that "complementarian" interest group or the second-to-last hardly matters. His role, at this stage in the organization's history, is to oversee its final waning days, attempting to steer it to the softest landing … [Read more...]

If young people are not leaving evangelicalism, then no one is joining it

I all these people are "coming forward," and no one is leaving, then shouldn't evangelicalism be growing?

I was initially so taken aback by the weirdness of Daniel Darling's straw-man attack on Rachel Held Evans that I didn't say much about Darling's odd misuse of statistics. And it is weird to see Darling presenting the old bogus opposition of charity and justice, reframing the rejection of justice as "too nice." I mean, when we look at the many, many passages of the Bible Darling wants us to ignore -- everything demanding justice -- it seems odd to regard those passages as flawed due to an … [Read more...]

‘Having the goodwill of all the people’

Frederick Douglass' problem, according to Daniel Darling, is that he was too "nice."

As the community that would eventually become the "church" began in the book of Acts, Luke says, "And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved." That description doesn't seem to apply to white evangelicalism these days. That's not surprising if you read the rest of that chapter in Acts, and everything leading up to that consequence of "the Lord added to their number": All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions … [Read more...]

‘Duck Dynasty’: November wines, December whines


November headline: "Christian organization cancels 'Duck Dynasty' event because Robertsons have wine deal" Despite his devotion to dinner time prayers and Christian values, "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson has been axed from speaking at a benefit in Bristol, Tenn. for the faith and bible-driven organization, Family Ministries. Why? Wine. The famous family announced its latest business venture last week: Duck Commander Wines. In conjunction with the winemakers of Trinchero Family … [Read more...]