The Hate Behind the Nashville Statement

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.

I sincerely doubt all of the Nashville signatories would agree to the kind of work engaged by the ADF, which has included the criminalization of non-heterosexuality, and the FRC, which defames gays and lesbians. I say I doubt this, because signatory pastors like Francis Chan claim an increasingly compassionate, thoughtful, and loving approach toward those with whom they disagree (whether that’s actually true or not).

However, it could be that the CBMW and its more controversial signatories are not-so-strange bedfellows Read more “The Hate Behind the Nashville Statement”

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I tried to pray my sexuality away

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”

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Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon

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[1] — at least in this area of the world since its invisible hand took hold of a fledgling nation.

The Worship of Mammon | Evelyn De Morgan 1909

This last election, however, was revealing. Wealth had several horses in the race, with one telling Wall Street bankers it’s important to be two-faced, yet none were as ardent or thoroughbred as Donald John Trump, the Trump brand being synonymous with immodesty.

That the “make a lot of money… don’t run for politics” president pays homage to Mammon above all else is hardly a secret; it’s the fervor with which his Evangelical base cast its lot for him, whose leaders continue their unpopular support for him, that truly surprises. Those who otherwise follow the “you can’t serve God and Wealth” Jesus backed Trump hoping he would be good for the economy and make America wealthy again. Not economically just, mind you, wealthy.

America is already a wealthy nation. The lie that the United States is poor Read more “Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon”

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Greater than Jesus

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”

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Guest Post: Our Christmas Hope – An Advent Reflection

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday during the winter? Have you ever wondered why we celebrate his birthday at all? It is not as if we know Jesus’ actual date of birth.

All we know is what the gospels reveal. We know that at the first Christmas, “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). Shepherds in the Middle East only pasture their flocks at night when it is warm out. During the winter, it is too cold. Instead of being in the fields, the sheep like being snuggled together toasty warm in a nice pen. This means that more than likely Jesus was born in the warmth of the late spring, the summer, or the early autumn. This is Read more “Guest Post: Our Christmas Hope – An Advent Reflection”

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