• Peter Enns has been one of my favorite bloggers on Patheos’ evangelical channel, and I’m sad to see him go, even though he’s a Yankees fan. But I’m also excited to see what he has in store for us at his new site — peteenns.com, “The Bible for Normal People.”
At the top of Enns’ new site he features a rotating set of quotes from his books, including this one from The Evolution of Adam: “The root of the conflict for many Christians is not scientific or even theological, but group identity and fear of losing what it offers.” That gets at why I think it’s a good thing for him, and for his readers, that he’s getting out from under the Official Classification of “evangelical” — whether here on Patheos’ channel or elsewhere.
“Evangelical” is a bounded category, not a centered one, and thus its boundaries are perpetually policed in a way that promotes “group identity and fear.” That requires its members to expend an inordinate amount of time and energy defending and demonstrating and performing that group identity — which never seems wholly sincere, and, even worse, makes for frightfully dull reading. So I’m happy to see Pete Enns slipping off to a forum where he won’t be required to do that and can, instead, continue writing the challenging and interesting things he’s been offering us on a regular basis.
• “Hear rightly, man! — for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name.”
• Saw this yesterday on Twitter.
Funny — but I’ve actually spent a good bit of this week recharging on a Jersey beach, reading theology. (Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us, by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. Not light beach reading, really, but challenging and very good so far.)• A small Canadian press has produced a new book of essays: Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. I may have to order this, if only to read the chapter on Mike Warnke.
Tonight is the first official debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, and much of the non-Trump-centric parts of that debate will focus on the recent Operation Rescue videos attacking Planned Parenthood. In other words, you can’t understand American politics in 2015 unless you understand Mike Warnke and the millions of religious voters who desperately wanted and needed to believe the stories he told.
• Here is your occasional reminder that Sandy Rios and her organization, the American Family Association, is really, really racist.
• Doctor Science writes about Smallville and “Tragedy as a TV genre” — and in doing so, articulates what it was that hooked me, then disappointed and lost me, about that show. What initially seemed to be a tragedy about young Clark and young Lex turned into a soap opera about young Clark and young Lana.
Even that soap opera would’ve been more compelling if it had embraced a deeper sense of the tragic (we all knew, after all, that Lana wasn’t Lois). But, as Doctor Science says, “the idea that a broadcast TV series — on a second-rate network aimed at teenagers — would actually be trying to present tragedy is preposterous.” Still, it didn’t have to sink into such an archetype of “The Terrible Girlfriends of Superhero TV Shows.”
• Former Florida governor and Republican candidate for president Jeb! Bush put his foot in it this week, saying he was “not sure we need a half billion dollars for women’s health issues.” Bush’s campaign quickly walked that back, issuing a series of statements that Bush “misspoke” when he said that.
I’m sure he did. But I don’t think he mistakenly said something he didn’t mean, I think he mistakenly said out loud what he actually meant. This is the kind of “misspeaking” that tells us exactly how he intends to misgovern should he ever get miselected.