January 15, 2020

Contrary to some Christian pundits since the days of the Moral Majority, cultures seldom give up on having moral values. What they do is exchange one set of values for another. This is a poor trade when the new set of values is less concrete than the old set. “Go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7AM” is a better New Year’s resolution than “get in shape” because it’s something you might actually do in real life.  Sadly, as Americans enter the third decade of the 21st century, the new set of values we’re adopting is as vague… Read more

November 25, 2019

I recently learned that there is a debate about the nature of drunkenness. The old school scientific description of what it means to be sloshed is called “disinhibition.” This theory suggests that the heedless and impulsive attitude of a person who’s had a mug-too-many is caused by alcohol’s power to shut down the brain’s inhibiting mechanisms. “Liquid courage” silences our inner traffic cop, making behavior that would usually seem foolhardy or even life-threatening look inviting. Hence those 1AM ex-texts, bar… Read more

November 18, 2019

There’s a delightful scene in 2012’s “Avengers” where Marvel’s man-out-of-time, Captain America, blurts out his glee over finally catching a cultural reference when he’s usually left with no clue. I think we all feel that way sometimes, and lately more than normal. In a moment of frustration over realizing that a movie I had intended on seeing had already vanished into that interminable no-man’s land between its theatrical run and appearance on Netflix, I tweeted: At some point you just have to… Read more

November 7, 2019

I’m actually 31. This column is adapted from a Facebook post one year ago. It was well-received, and I still think my observations about young adulthood hold true. So I offer them here in a more organized form: 1.) You become who you will be for the rest of your life around age 25. They say the brain continues maturing until midway through a person’s twenties, and I believe this, based on experience. I don’t think who I am as… Read more

October 25, 2019

Divested of its apocryphal Pagan origins, Halloween isn’t the beast our fundamentalist Sunday school teachers described. It’s no accident that our celebration of the spooky happens in the autumn, when signs of life all around us wither and fall to the earth. Read more

August 22, 2019

In the internet melee following the recent shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio, the predictable arguments about guns, video games, and the NRA were interrupted by the emergence of a new catch-all explanation. This meme, shared mostly on right-wing social media pages, goes like this: mass-shooters all have one thing in common, and it’s not the gun used. They have all been on psychiatric drugs, most often antidepressants, meaning these medications must be causing mass-shootings. To borrow an overused neologism, this… Read more

July 29, 2019

Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” and inarguably the biggest name in so-called 1990s evangelical “purity culture,” announced on Instagram last week that he and his wife are divorcing. Shortly afterward, he renounced the Christian faith. This comes after several years of apologizing for his early work, which some say harmed them or drove them away from Christianity. Anyone who believes a word our Lord Jesus said should mourn this news, whether they had a strong opinion about “I… Read more

July 10, 2019

This piece was originally published at BreakPoint.org on August 22, 2016.  Late last month, the World Wide Web quietly celebrated its 10 thousandth day of existence, making it almost exactly my age. This information space makes up the vast majority of the Internet, which, though technically much older than the Web, didn’t become popular until my lifetime. At this juncture, the two terms are synonymous for most people, and no one knows or cares what “HTTP” stands for anymore. The point is,… Read more

July 2, 2019

See the end of this article for a response I received from Greg Johnson (Lead Pastor, Memorial Presbyterian Church, which hosted Revoice 2018). Last week was the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), my own denomination. For those who don’t know, the PCA is America’s largest conservative Presbyterian denomination, originally composed of Reformed congregations that split off from the liberal PC(US). We’re the Presbyterians who don’t ordain women, who affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, who condemn abortion,… Read more

June 18, 2019

There’s a scene in the 2004 adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, “The Notebook” in which Ryan Gosling’s character tries to get Rachel McAdams’ character to stop playing games with him and clearly tell him what she wants out of life. “What do you want?” he asks repeatedly. “It’s not that simple,” she insists. I feel like Gosling nearly every time I read the latest condemnation of “purity culture” by ex-fundamentalists who say they still want all the benefits of Christian… Read more

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