Evangelicals Still Struggle with What To Say To Gays

At Leadership Journal, part of the shrinking stable at Christianity Today International, there’s an article by Stanton Jones, the provost of Wheaton College. Well, it’s not really an article, it’s an interview Stan had with a gay parishioner. Well, it’s not really an interview, but a made-up interview that Stan didn’t actually have, but is instead a “composite” of many conversations he’s had with gay men.

In the “interview,” a young, gay man asks Stan for some pastoral help in getting through the Bible verses (aka, clobber verses) about homosexuality. Stan toes the evangelical party line, saying that the Bible is clear on this matter and should not be questioned, but that doesn’t make “Todd” a bad person. Traditional hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner stuff.

There’s some other stuff, too, about how he carried out a “study” — which he admits wasn’t scientific, but he authoritatively quotes anyway — of gay persons who wanted to change their orientation. He also trots out the usual evangelical tropes about “society today” and how it says that sex is the only thing that matters, etc. (He’s clearly never seen Pompeiian wall paintings.)

But it really gets cray-cray when he insinuates that gays struggle with depression and suicide, not because they are marginalized and persecuted, but because it’s inherent to their immoral predilection:

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Watch Sarah Pulliam Bailey Destroy The Atlantic

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey, writer for Christianity Today, is one of my more favorite writers in the evangelical-journalist community. Like me, she was emailed a downright absurd article posted on the Atlantic‘s website last week, linking KONY2012 to the emergent church movement.

In our world, the Atlantic is supposed to represent good, serious reporting. And Christianity Today is supposed to represent slanted, non-objective reporting.

Well, read Sarah’s piece if you’re ready for your categories to be upended. She completely pwns the Atlantic at Get Religion:

Earlier this week, a reader sent us a “slightly alarmist” piece from The Atlantic on a Christian sect driving Africa. Can you guess what might be “The Upstart Christian Sect Driving Invisible Children”? Wait for it: the emerging church. That’s right. The movement that no one is talking about anymore.

I asked Tony Jones what he thought of the piece, given that he has been one of the leaders of the Emergent Church Village, and he had some strong words.

I read the Atlantic piece on KONY and the emerging church, and I was dumbfounded. Firstly, I found the article nearly indecipherable. But even more troubling was the supposed connection between Invisible Children and the emergent church movement is ludicrous. But then, when the reporter referred to Mark Driscoll as a liberal, we all knew that he had no idea what he was writing about. That should be enough for the Atlantic to take the article off their website, and fire the editor who greenlighted it.

Why does Jones feel so strongly about this piece? Walk with me through bits and pieces to find out why it’s such bad journalism.

Please read the rest of Sarah’s paragraph-by-paragraph deconstruction of the Atlantic article here: Correction please on The Atlantic’s lol Kony report » GetReligion.

Need Another Reason To Be NOT Thankful for Evangelical Leaders This Week?

Tony Perkins

Well, Tony Perkins is happy to oblige.  Last week on James Dobson’s radio show, Perkins said the following about President Obama and the Obama administration:

I have no doubt, as you look back over the last two and a half of years of this administration, that the President has used his bully pulpit—he has done public policy but beyond the public policy that he’s pushed for—that it’s created an atmosphere that is hostile toward Christianity. And we’re seeing this played out all across this culture. And the courts have been emboldened by this. And now you see the military doing it as well. There’s no end to this as long as you have someone who is the Commander-in-Chief, who is the president of this country that has a disdain for Christianity.

This was reported by Christianity Today.  As you might expect, some hateful comments toward Obama show up under the short article.  That neither surprises nor disappoints me.

But here’s what does disappoint me: The editorial board of Christianity Today, the supposed keepers of a more thoughtful, centrist evangelicalism, have not spoken out against Perkins.  While they won’t hesitate to chastise those to their left — Brian McLaren or Jim Wallis, for example — they seem loathe to drop any bad ink on Perkins, Piper, Driscoll, or anyone to their right, regardless of how offensive and antithetical to the gospel are the words or action of these leaders.

Here’s hoping that CT will use this coming election year to call the far-right wing of evangelicalism to a more civil rhetoric.

Why Mainline Christians Don’t Care about Rob Bell

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Rob Bell is leaving Mars Hill Bible Church, which he founded, in Grandville, Michigan. He’s moving his family to California and developing a television show for ABC.  Knowing Rob as I do (I don’t), I’m guessing he’s also working on a movie script, a tour, and probably a time machine.  He’s a person of unique aptitudes.  Thinking that he would stay indefinitely in a parish church situation is akin to thinking that Steve Jobs should have been the manager of an Apple Store.

Zach, a mutual friend of Rob and me (see, I’m only one degree of separation from Rob Bell!), has written a provocative post in the face of criticism that Bell’s departure has received from conservative Christian leaders like Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren.  Zach writes,

In a nutshell, more conservative folks seem to be more skeptical when a successful, well-known pastor decided to leave their churches behind.

Then he continues,

Nowhere have I seen any prominent liberal voice object to Bell moving on. (If so please point me to it)

Well, I’ve got an answer for Zach:

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