Archives For March 2011

Part of being an American is saying that you love freedom.

We sing songs about freedom.  We worship freedom.  We wear denim jackets and bandanas and say “freedom isn’t free.”  We all love freedom, and we’ll fight tooth and nail anyone who tries to stomp on freedom.  We fight terrorists because terrorists are enemies of freedom.  We’re also certain that the political party we don’t belong to is out to take our freedom.

But we don’t really love freedom.  I used to think that the differences between American political parties were deep and cavernous.  But they aren’t.  Every Federalist, Jacksonian, Whig, Democrat and Republican has not really loved freedom.

I used to think I was a libertarian.  But then I realized that I hate freedom too.  Continue Reading…

Does helping Japan after the earthquake count as “social justice.”

Social justice.  What a stangely controversial phrase.  Glenn Beck hates the phrase.  He says Christians should run away from churches that talk about social justice, because it’s code for socialism.  Probably not a surprise that a bunch of people are taking a fast from Glenn Beck for Lent.

American Christians have always tied their politics to their faith.  But it’s getting harder and harder for Christians to associate with other Christians from across the aisle.  And it’s not just Glenn Beck.  Some Christians are being labeled as “pushing the boundaries” of Christianity, and social justice is more and more the line in the sand.  In other words, good Christians soldiers, stay away from the people on the wrong side, because they probably aren’t even really Christians.

I’ve never tried to persuade you of my politics.  In fact, I’ve never explicitly stated what my politics are, because I find it more entertaining to make fun of both sides.  Today, I’ve got something to say to both left-leaning “social justice” Christians, and the conservatives who love them.  By the end of this post, maybe I’ll finally achieve my dream of making everyone disagree with me.

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Getting Punched Felt Good

March 11, 2011

After a few big posts, I’ve only got a handful of words on my mind today that I want to share with you.  But the few words are really good.

Wednesday night, I drove to downtown Kansas City and attended the Episcopal cathedral’s Ash Wednesday service.  I didn’t take anyone with me.  No one but my wife knew where I was.  I haven’t attended this church regularly in a decade and a half.  It was kind of like a secret “Me and God” activity, like a father and son day where no one else is allowed to come along, except I didn’t bring my baseball glove. 

I think pastors need those “secret” activities once in a while.  Something where they aren’t the leader, and no one knows them, and they don’t have the ritual memorized so maybe they fumble a bit with the bulletin like a church noob.

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A week ago, the Christian internet broke.

A week ago, I said I wanted to be a universalist.  (Which doesn’t make me a universalist.  Just a wannabe.)  And the flow of visitors and comments continues.  Lots of high fives, and lots of people questioning my sanity.

I’m not going to rehash what I said last week, or comment again on universalism, Rob Bell, or anyone else.

But, in the space of a blog post, few people can write a theological masterpiece, and I need to set something straight today.  Because even though I want to be a Universalist, I’m also partly a Calvinist.  Not a whole one.  More like a two and a half point Calvinist.  The kind of Calvinist that would be burned at the stake by John Calvin.  But you already know my feelings about him.  I believe the word I used to describe him was “wang.”

A lot of the universalism-bashing has been done by self-described “Calvinists” or “Reformed” Christians.  They’re the guardians of the “elect” aren’t they?  The thing is, if Calvinists really believed the five points of Calvinism, we still wouldn’t agree on universalism, but we’d have a lot less to argue about when it comes to universalism.

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Meet the Authors

March 7, 2011

You know, half the stuff of this blog isn’t written by me.

But you already knew that.  Because it’s written by readers like you.

One of the things I’m proud of about this blog is that the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written here have been matched, even outnumbered by all of you.  I have been constantly encouraged, challenged and humored by you for over two years.

Yet, with the exception of just a few of you, I have never met the kind of person who comments here.  I’ve been swapping comments, blogs and emails with some of you for two years, but we’ve never talked face to face.  Each of you has a story, a life, a struggle, a triumph that I think must be infinitely more interesting than my own.  And I want to hear them. 

I don’t know of any other bloggers that have done this, so it makes me feel more awesome than usual for thinking of it.  I think of myself as a bridge builder, and I want to meet the people that show up here each week.  I want to meet this community face to face.

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Surprise!  Love Month isn’t really over.  Today is a special encore day.

I had planned to feature Dr. Jennifer Wright Knust last month, but due to technical difficulties, I’ve got her on the blog today.  Why am I featuring her?  Because she’s written a decidedly controversial book, Unprotected Texts, in which she asks if there is really such a thing as “biblical” sex.  Does the Bible give us clear instructions on marriage, family and intimacy?  She’s also a professor at Boston University, an ordained American Baptist pastor, and a mother.  With a book that is sure to cause debate, I knew I had to take a closer look.

You might love what she has to say.  You might hate it.  You might find yourself agreeing with her more than you care to admit.  You’ll have to read on to find out.  We’re also giving away free copies of the book, so you can make up your own mind about it.

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