Smart people saying smart things (4.20.17)

Wise words from Te-Nehisi Coates, David Dark, Fred Rogers, Ijeoma Oluo (and her brother), Molly Worthen, and from a former president who used to offer hope and inspiration at annual Easter prayer breakfasts. [Read more…]

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‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

“Folks ’round here love their families,” the Very Nice man says. “We value hard work and honesty.” And the Very Nice man seems Very Nice, until you realize that what he’s actually saying is that he and his community imagine that other people in other places do NOT love their families and that “those people” do NOT value hard work and honesty. Once you realize this is what they want and need to believe about everyone else, the Very Nice man and his Very Nice community no longer seem quite so nice. [Read more…]

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The Pearly Gates are never, ever closed

The Pearly Gates of Heaven are a cliché image in popular culture. Every time a famous person dies, newspaper cartoonists churn out variations of the Famous Person at the Pearly Gates cartoon. The same Pearly Gates scene gets recycled endlessly in movies, TV shows, advertising, and more jokes than we could ever get written down. But in all of that pop-culture imagery and in all the religious folklore built around it, we tend to get one detail of John of Patmos’ vision completely backwards. [Read more…]

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Are there 10 righteous sneetches in Sodom?

This is a bit of a mess, mixing Dr. Seuss analogies and the weirdest story from the book of Genesis, along with a discussion of how #notALL #notALL arguments are the ugly kind. All in service of a question we can’t yet answer: Can white evangelical Christianity be redeemed? [Read more…]

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Christian colleges and ‘Christian’ nationalism (part 2)

The conversation between historians Adam Laats and John Fea on the relationship between evangelical colleges and Christian nationalism is interesting on its own, but it’s also a terrific model of how to have such a conversation here in the realm of “social media” where the mutual respect and candor they’re showing isn’t always the rule.* [Read More…]

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When trouble comes to town

Some Thursday night odds-and-ends, including: Why the Cubs’ win will provoke an identity crisis for their fans; Beyonce at the CMAs; Amy Grant singing from a hymnal is insufficiently Christian, “bookstore” claims; and yet more reasons why Ken Ham had to leave Australia to promote young-Earth creationism. [Read more…]

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This is where we draw the line

“(We Don’t Need No) Color Code,” is a raucous, righteous middle finger directed at Bob Jones University from Steve Taylor’s 1984 “Meltdown” album. It’s a fun, foot-stompin’ anti-racism song. The album’s producer, a long-time CCM recording whiz, even joins in on the call-and-response chorus. That guy? Turns out he was also a member of the KKK who eventually went to prison for his role in an attack on a Nashville synagogue. [Read more…]

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Shenanigans: Evangelical identity and the evangelical brand (part 3)

Say, “Most evangelicals support Donald Trump” and they’ll say it’s unfair to deny the vast diversity of political and theological views that constitute the broader whole of evangelicalism. Say, “It’s possible to be both evangelical and gay” and suddenly you’ll find that such diversity is not allowed. They’ll inform you that it’s impossible to be both gay and evangelical, and impossible to be both gay “affirming” and evangelical. [Read more…]

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