More Evangelical Islamophobia

I asked Bishop Solomon (Lutheran) about the threatened Bible burning. He wasn’t concerned.

Last September, Brian McLaren called on evangelicals to choose whether or not they would continue with their Islamophobia. In a post that garnered nearly 9,000 comments, he cited emails and articles meant to gin up evangelicals in their fear of Muslims.

So it was interesting to me, as I round out my week in a majority Muslim country, to read this headline, screaming out from the front page of the American evangelical rag, The Christian Post:

Malaysia ‘Bible-Burning Festival’ Over Use of ‘Allah’ Threatens Country’s Stability

Here’s what’s interesting: unlike the reporter of this article, I’ve spent the last week in Malaysia. Indeed, I’ve spent it with Christian pastors of many stripes, with the Lutheran bishop and the Methodist district superintendent, and at the leading Malaysian seminary.

And no one is the least bit interested in the Bible burning.

[Read more...]

Responding to Mark Driscoll with the Bible

In my New Year Predictions, I noted that Mark Driscoll had generally kept his pie hole shut recently. That ended with a tweet this week:

A high-profile Seattle clergyman delivered a jarring note as clergy across the country delivered best wishes to President Obama at the launch of his second term in the White House.

Mark Driscoll, founding pastor at the Mars Hill Church, tweeted: “Praying for our President, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”

It has been retweeted more than 2,700 times.

He repeated the comment on Facebook and got more than 7,800 “likes.”

To this verbal diarrhea, I have just one response. It comes from the Bible, that book that Mark supposedly reveres so highly. It comes from Jesus, the manliest man he’s ever followed:

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lauren Winner Is in Prison

I’m guessing those cat eye glasses set off the metal detectors.

Lauren Winner has the semester off of teaching at Duke, but she’s teaching a seminary-level class in a women’s prison (so much for a sabbatical). Her experience in prison is changing the way that she read the Bible, as she writes in this week’s lectionary post at The Hardest Question:

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:14-21

For Sunday, January 27, 2013: Year C—Epiphany 3

I am writing this from the classroom of a women’s prison in central North Carolina. The classroom is in a trailer, kind of like the trailer in which you might have had overflow classes at your middle school.

I come here each week to teach a course on prayer. I never ask the students why they are in prison, but by now I know: some of them are here for killing abusive husbands or partners. Some are here for drug crime. Some are here for failing to intervene in a husband’s sexual abuse of their children. Some are only here for a year or two; others have been in the prison system for decades.

And here comes Jesus, quoting Isaiah, coming to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.

Read the rest: Visiting Prisons.

Evil Is (Not) [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

I posted Tanya’s Question That Haunts a week ago. It’s taken me too long to get to it, but that’s fine because it gave all of you more time to post amazingly smart comments.

The timing of this question is poignant because, as several commenters noted, coming off of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we may be more keenly aware of evil in our world than other times. That is, a mass shooting of 6-year-olds seems to us even more “evil” than bombs dropping in Palestinian neighborhoods or the gunning down of a dozen adults in a movie theater.

But why is that?

[Read more...]


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