By all means, let’s discover as much as we can about why Stephen Paddock fired blindly into a crowd. By all means, let’s enact any safeguard that might make it more difficult for this kind of thing to happen. But let’s not pretend that it won’t happen again, because it will. Gunshot and death will not always be the outcome. Sometimes, there will be more, not fewer victims. In fact, other kinds of mayhem went largely unnoticed around the world… Read more

In the wake of Hugh Hefner’s demise this week, the BBC solemnly promised, “we’ll discuss whether he empowered women or turned them into sexual objects.” Damon Linker at The Week led with the question: “Was the late Hugh Hefner a friend or a scourge of feminism? The honest answer is: Both.” And those are just two examples of the pseudo-sophisticated efforts that the press and the media made to introduce sage conversation into the obituaries for the twentieth century’s leading… Read more

  I believe in freedom of speech and, therefore, the right to protest. Unless anarchy, revolution, or self-aggrandizement are the goals, I also believe that at the end of any and every protest, the only way in which to achieve the goals of that protest is to define the legislative objectives one wants to achieve, frame it in language that is actionable, win approval for its content, and apply the law. The reverse, however, is not necessarily true: Legislative goals… Read more

Much of the literature on the fundamentalist – modernist controversy of the 1920’s and 30’s is described as the struggle of fundamentalists against modernity — its science, its ways of thinking, approaches to Scripture, and, in particular, the theory of evolution. But what we don’t talk about very much is the way in which the desire not be thought of as fundamentalist has shaped mainline Protestantism. If you read the history of that period, you will discover that big donors… Read more

Over the years I’ve seen and read a number of articles about professional boundaries and their application to work in the church. Much of that literature is very helpful and stakes out areas where abuse and exploitation are all too possible. One has to be grateful for the reminders that literature provides and the protection that it offers for those who might be vulnerable in one way or another. The literature on boundaries also serves to remind people who work… Read more

There should be a special place in purgatory for people who use theology to bludgeon their neighbors. And they almost always surface at times when tragedy strikes, ready to pronounce on its significance – for others, of course. As Kimberly Winston notes, when Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, John McTernan who runs USA Prophecy attributed the storm’s impact to God’s anger over “’the homosexual agenda.’” Franklin Graham blamed Hurricane Katrina on orgies in New Orleans and Buster Willson… Read more

Do you want your church? When I went to seminary in the seventies, the church was a given. I don’t recall the language of church growth and church planting figuring prominently, if at all, in the conversations we had, and we certainly weren’t talking about “the decline of the mainline church” or “the end of the Protestant Reformation.” My classmates were a conscientious lot and, in truth, I suppose we worried more about doing a good and faithful job than… Read more

Plainly and without question, both the hatred and prejudice expressed last night in Charlottesville and the attack on counter-protesters today are murderous acts.  Neither the words nor the actions of these self-styled supremacists are protected by the Constitution.  Nor is there any way in which to justify behavior of this kind as even remotely “Christian.”  Indeed, the religious and patriotic patina wrapped around the rhetoric of this group is reminiscent of the entirely cynical manipulation of the Gospel by Adolf… Read more

Note: The following guest article is by my friend, Ashley Mowers.  I invited Ashley to respond to last week’s article on generational differences for reasons that will be immediately obvious.  Ashley is Community Life Architect at National Institute for Community – Community Life Program.  She is also an adjunct professor at Judson University and she begins working on a Doctor of Philosophy at St. Andrews University in Scotland next autumn.  You can follow Ashley at any of the following:… Read more

We have the good fortune of living in a world in which an ever-greater number of generations share the world at the same time. Advances in nutrition and medical care have increased our life expectancy. But what we have failed to do is to begin re-thinking the way in which we think about mentoring, aging, and sharing the tasks that lie ahead of us in creating a stronger, healthier society. Read more

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