Time for the ‘let the churches handle it’ crowd to fish or get off the pot: 1.3 million unemployed lose their lifeline


So this happened: "A Lifeline Just Ran Out for 1.3 Million Unemployed People." On Saturday, federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire, leaving 1.3 million people without the support they’ve been relying on as they have searched for new work for about six months or longer. The federal program kicked in for those who exhausted their state-level benefits, which usually run out at around 26 weeks. But Congress failed to reauthorize the program before the end of … [Read more...]

Haiti should not be the model for America’s future

Haiti, one year after the earthquake. Photo by Mario Tama via Bag News Notes.

Right-wing Christianists tend to reject SNAP or unemployment insurance or Obamacare or Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, foreign humanitarian aid, public education, the CDC, the NIH, the FDA, TEFAP, LIHEAP, and HUD, saying "let the churches handle it." I appreciate that the main purpose of this slogan is internal -- it's something they say to prevent themselves from listening and hearing, not something they've thought through or that they really expect to be persuasive to those back … [Read more...]

Reformed seminaries ought to understand Reformed political theology


The good folks over at Internet Monk are reposting Michael Bird's Aussie evangelical response to the reflexive antipathy white evangelicals in America show toward universal health care. We discussed that here last week in a post called "American evangelicalism is defined by political tribalism." Bird and British theologian N.T. Wright are both perplexed by how their fellow followers of Jesus arrive at -- or, really, start from -- a position opposed to universal health care. These guys would … [Read more...]

American evangelicalism is defined by political tribalism


David Crumm at Read the Spirit asks Anglican bishop and theologian N.T. Wright why he doesn't like Fox News. Wright responds with a sharp critique of the political tribalism that shapes white evangelical Christianity in America: I’m not talking about Fox News in any detailed way and I’m not claiming that everything they tell you is wrong. I’m just referring to the well-known political viewpoint that comes through Fox News and I’m saying: We should be careful about listening to that … [Read more...]

No, private charity can’t handle it alone


Support your local food bank or your church's food pantry. Better yet, support your local food bank and your church's food pantry. What's that? Your church doesn't have a food pantry? Then start one. Go visit the Episcopalians or PCUSA or United Methodists, they can show you how -- those "mainline" Protestant types are good at this sort of thing. (Ask them about Crop Walks, too, and about Church World Service, while you're there.) Habitat for Humanity is amazing. There's probably a local … [Read more...]

Subsidiarity illustrated: An inescapable network of mutuality


This is a pretty terrific PSA from New Zealand dealing with sexual assault (so please be warned that it may be triggering for some). I came across this via Tobias Rodriguez at Feministing, who provides a good discussion of "bystander intervention as another means to end sexual violence." And it is that, as the video powerfully shows. But this idea applies far more generally. In a sense, "bystander intervention" is an oxymoron. Once you intervene, you are no longer a bystander. The truth … [Read more...]

‘We’re all responsible for one another’


Darrell Dow: "Disaster Relief" When we look down at this scene what would we see Jesus doing amidst the chaos and heartbreak? Can you see him standing at a shelter handing out food and blankets? Easily. In your mind’s eye is he healing the sick and comforting the frightened? Of course. Can you picture him opening the church doors and welcoming in people who need shelter? Without a doubt. But can you even in your darkest imaginings think of him standing off to one side sermonizing about how … [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things

Chris Heard: "Interpreting Genesis 1 'literally'" This is, rather, a plea that we follow Augustine and divest ourselves of the notion that interpreting a text literally means taking it as an historically accurate account of things that happened in time and space. If the text isn’t an historical narrative, then treating it as an historical narrative is not properly a literal interpretation. Now, I realize that discerning an author’s intention in this regard can be tricky — but not as … [Read more...]