“His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a short time, but no longer. They are humbled then gathered in like everyone else; cut off like heads of grain.” – Job 24
One day this will be me too. The harvest come, the scythe swung, my bounty offered up. What will it look like, this life? What will I have to offer — what good toward the world which bore me and the people who bore me up?
“Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. If any think they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.”
– 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
A group of Evangelical leaders released the “Nashville Statement” on gender and sexuality last month, sparking a host of outrage (and the formation of response statements like Christians United). What may be less immediately obvious, however, are the groups behind Nashville’s drafting.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood drew signatories for their release from organizations such as The Gospel Coalition, the Southern Baptist Convention with its seminary and college (Boyce), Together For The Gospel, and a variety of schools, churches, and public figures. The CBMW itself appears to be cross-pollinated by mutual publicity and financial ties to many of these. Notably present within the list of signatories are the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, both deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
File this one under TMI. It’s super intimate and not something I yell at strangers, but it’s just us here so I’ll let you in on a secret:
My faith gave me issues.
As a developing adolescent I routinely heard sexual expression outside of marriage was anathema. Masturbation was an affront to my Creator; only within marriage were my sexual feelings legitimate.
So I prayed. I asked the Source of all living things to kill this part of me, to castrate me in the pursuit of holiness. I created an internal liturgy and recited it for years: remove this from me. Temptation was strong, but I believed God was stronger and could bring me to marriage spotless, untouched. Then marriage would solve all of my problems and, more importantly, validate this deeply meaningful portion of my personhood. Read more “I tried to pray my sexuality away”
Ancient literature once chronicled the history of Mammon, a conniving god whose allure of wealth concentrates power and inspires devotion, but few speak of it as openly as Jesus or Milton — at least in this area of the world since its invisible hand took hold of a fledgling nation.
I have been thinking a lot lately about why I call myself a progressive Christian. It could be that I’m getting close to ordination in a progressive denomination, or that I’ve spent the past two years hosting a “post-evangelical” podcast, or maybe it’s this election and the distance that I feel from the conservative church I once called home, a distance I feel sharply whenever I scroll through a Facebook news feed.
At any rate, I’m thinking and so I’m writing. (and, secretly, I probably hope to close the growing distance a little)
I’m progressive because Jesus said his followers would be.
Not in those terms, of course, but clearly.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is depicted comforting his disciples in preparation for his departure “to the Father.” He promises not to leave them orphans, commands them to trust in the miracles he did whenever they doubt his words and, with a hand under their chins (as I imagine it), he lifts their heads and says, “Verily truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father” [John 14:12].Read more “Greater than Jesus”