June 28, 2024

This article is a near-verbatim transcript of a sermon I delivered on June 23, 2024, at the Commonwealth Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. It’s the first installment in a two-part testimonial of my pilgrimage into and out of the heresy of Christian nationalism. The text was modified only slightly for easier reading Understanding Christian Nationalism I want to start by sharing my understanding of “Christian Nationalism.” To do this, I’ll refer to a friend and colleague who is an expert... Read more

March 29, 2024

Buzzing the Bible The country is abuzz with Bible talk. That’s the best I can say about Donald Trump’s new product endorsement, the God Bless the USA Bible, selling for $59.99 before shipping. A family member who routinely buys Bibles in bulk suspects the wholesale cost of Trump’s large-print, faux leather book is $4-$5 per unit. That’s a handsome return. From information on the Bible’s webpage, Trump has a deal with the promoters that compensates him for his praise of... Read more

February 26, 2024

The implications of the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling on the legal child status of frozen embryos are not only anti-child, anti-family, and anti-science, but they may also constitute a form of legalistic Christian heresy, not to mention antidisestablishmentarianism. (I’ve always wanted to use that word in this column!) In a concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker relies on a Christian Nationalist dominionist theology to imperil many Alabamians’ only path to parenthood. My History With Alabama’s Parker Court Back in 2005, I said... Read more

February 5, 2024

Unique Power of Religion Human history proves religion can be one of the most potent forces for good—or evil. Because it engages with the transcendent, religion looms large over us, dwarfing much of what is earthly, temporal, and material. In my estimation, this makes religious voices unique, commanding, and timeless. Regarding human relations, religion can be an unparalleled uniter or divider. I saw it acting in both modes this week while attending the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit in Washington,... Read more

January 6, 2024

Wow—what a January 6. It seems fitting that January 6th is now (in the United States) both the observance of the Epiphany when the Magi beheld the Christ Child—and, for Americans, the commemoration of the terrible attack on the U.S. Congress three years ago. Two Contrasting Days Why? Because Jesus was born at a similar time of social and political turmoil, when tyrants oppressed minority populations, pompous autocrats abused and exploited their constituents, and false messiahs spawned violent rebellions. In... Read more

December 28, 2023

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, I used Donald Trump as an example in many sermons. Those mentions were not complimentary, however. What I saw Trump was then is what I see him as now: a perfect example of what it means not to live as a Christian. Trump and I Go Way Back In the last ten years, I’ve met Donald Trump in person twice, but he has played in the background of my life and formation as a minister... Read more

December 18, 2023

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently ruled in favor of a public school teacher fired for refusing to use male pronouns for a transgender student. Lower courts had dismissed the teacher’s lawsuits against his former employer, but the state’s highest court reinstated his right to sue them. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian conservative public interest law firm representing the teacher, hailed the court decision as a significant victory for religious freedom. The teacher asserts using the male pronouns... Read more

November 5, 2023

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence has been a curiosity from the time Donald Trump selected him as running mate in 2016, through his enormously consequential role in the January 6 electoral vote count and its aftermath, to his bumpy bid for his party’s nomination for the 2024 election. I think the entirety of Pence’s political career parallels the turbulent and deleterious course of the American evangelicalism that Pence claims as his personal faith and that he relied on throughout... Read more

October 12, 2023

A Talk Delivered To The National Unity Gathering, National Council Of Churches, Nashville, Tennessee, October 10, 2023, By The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck Thank you, one and all, for your presence in this session and for supporting the National Council of Churches and its work to repair the world. The gracious invitation to be with you, extended by the Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, our esteemed Chief Operating Officer, leaves me humbled. My Penitential Visit To You A few of you know... Read more

October 5, 2023

The agonizingly unanswered question haunting so many Americans is, “Why do they stay with Trump?” In my context, “they” are generally the Republican politicians and religious right leaders who support the ex-president despite his chaotic, unseemly, profane, and possibly criminal behavior. It’s a vexing and even maddening quandary. But I think I know part of the answer. One Key is The Keys To The Treasury The Bible warns, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Love of... Read more

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