Building bridges (actual, literal bridges)

Building bridges (actual, literal bridges) May 29, 2012

Here’s an illustration that also illustrates why I’m a lousy religion blogger. The illustrious Scot McKnight writes about “Cracks in the Bridge“:

From a distance the bridge looks healthy, even attractive. Up close, and under the eyes of a careful observer, the bridge has cracks. If the cracks are attended to in the right way at the right time, the bridge can sustain itself — even get stronger. If not attended to, the cracks can bring the bridge down.

Marriage is the one-and-only relationship in which the cracks of each of our characters become obvious.

See that segue?

McKnight is a top-notch religion blogger, so he sees cracks in a bridge and ties it together with popular religion writer Tim Keller’s new book on marriage, crafting an insightful discussion of love and grace that’s grounded in practical advice for actual families. That’s what a good religion blogger does. That’ll preach.

Me, I see cracks in a bridge and I think of cracks in bridges.

I think of the National Bridge Inventory and the $550 billion shortfall in necessary spending for the maintenance of America’s bridges and roads and how, right now, with the bond market begging our federal government to borrow more at ridiculously low or negative rates, it’s just inexcusable that we’re not launching a major reinvestment in the country’s infrastructure — an investment that Paul Krugman says could go a long way toward putting some of our millions of unwanted workers back to work.

I’ll probably try to tie all that back in to basic morality — noting that our generation’s free-riding on the infrastructure our grandparents built and our constant preference for tax cuts for ourselves instead of safe, decent bridges for our grandchildren reflects a epic moral failing, a stunted selfishness, a sin — but that sort of discussion is not the sort of thing that gets one included in the cool lists of the “Top 200 Church Blogs.” Too much Krugman, not enough Keller, I guess.

OK, then.

* * * * * * * * *

Rachel Held Evans and Richard Beck are in, they’re in for good, so they’ve decided they might as well go the whole hog.

Which is to say that two of my favorite bloggers recently wrote about the greatest conversion scene in literature:

And that’s as good an excuse as any to link back to a relatively early post from our excursion of Left Behind: “L.B.: The Rise of the Anti-Huck.”

* * * * * * * * *

President Barack Obama famously described his gradual path toward support for marriage equality as an “evolution.” At Internet Monk, Craig Brubeck describes his own evolution-in-progress in a post titled “‘But’ Out of God’s Love“:

In our objectively absolute, modernist evangelical’s way-of-the-worldview, love is an excuse for mushy thinking and diluted theology. When it comes down to it, we suspect it’s an attempt to minimize sin and therein God’s wrath and justice. In our guts, we know the guilty are just trying to avoid their rightful come-uppance.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I know whereof I speak — because I’ve been among the greatest of evangelical sinners in this regard … for decades.

Brubeck stares in a mirror and reflects on his reflection. It’s an honest, lovely, humble and hopeful essay.

“If Christianity is not all about love,” he writes, “it is nothing other than one more impotently human religious construct — a loud and annoyingly clanging cymbal.”

It’s almost the exact opposite and antidote to that nasty “Do as you’re told, young people” post I linked to last week — the one in which David French ordered Millennial generation evangelicals to fall in line and vote Republican as all true Christians must, lest the firmness of their stances on tribal social issues be called into question.

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