Marilynne Robinson vs. evangelical tribalism

“We live in a time when the claiming of a religious identity has become more important than abiding in what that truth implies,” Marilynne Robinson said last month at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. That “claiming of a religious identity” and the elevating of it above the meaning, content or substance [Read More...]

One more point on biblicism

I want to mention one more problem that arises from biblicism, or biblical literalism: It fosters conflict. It fosters really nasty conflict — the kind that starts with the belief that The Other Side must be evil and then goes downhill from there with little hope of resolution. Biblicism invites this kind of conflict because [Read More...]

Christian Smith on biblicism

Books & Culture just posted a review of the latest from Christian Smith, a sociologist who has produced some of the most insightful and useful studies of American evangelical Christianity. Smith’s new book tackles a subject essentially important to evangelical culture and faith: biblicism, or biblical literalism. He’s against it, as is clear from his [Read More...]

The fans might hate the movie

The good news for any filmmaker planning to do a Civil War movie is that you can tap into a pre-existing fan-base of enthusiastic Civil War buffs who are sure to generate plenty of buzz for the project. The bad news is that this same fan-base might just kill your movie if you don’t get [Read More...]

The 'Battle for the Bible'

Roger Olson on “When did evangelicalism start to go wrong (right)?” The Battle for the Bible launched an evangelical heresy-hunt that reached epic proportions within just a few years.  …  One by one, evangelical and Baptist denominations and institutions imposed inerrancy statements on their employees and faculties.  Fuller is one evangelical seminary that did not [Read More...]

Pulpit glurge and ghost stories

“Glurge” is not unique to church, but churches tend to cultivate their own native varieties of it. Skimming through Snopes’ Glurge Gallery reacquaints me with several familiar stories that I’ve heard many times over the years in church or at youth group campfires or retreats. Stories of angelic intervention like “26 Guards” weren’t common in [Read More...]

Christian privilege invisible to privileged Christians

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt writes about “Invisible Christian Privilege“: To many Christians their immense privilege seems invisible. They don’t understand how much of our society panders to their unspoken power. The churches on every corner, the holidays and celebrations structured around Christian dates, the pandering of politicians, the ceremonial deism that acts as [Read More...]

Testamints, tattoos and holy underwear

Not every “Christian T-shirt” is worn as a witnessing tool or a tribal symbol or a culture warrior’s warning shot. Many of the sorts of things sometimes regarded as “witnessing tools” mainly serve a different function. They’re devotional. The popular “WWJD?” bracelets, for example, are not meant primarily to be a “witness” to others, but [Read More...]