Before I begin today’s post, I want to take a moment to wish all my US based readers a Happy 4th of July. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday. As we approach a day in which we celebrate our freedom, may we also remember those who do not possess our freedoms. May we remember the persons trapped in abusive situations. May we consider those being trafficked for labor or sex. May we recognize that our freedoms often come at great cost to others, and may we be convicted of our need to thus deconstruct our privileges and give voice to those whom so many wish to disenfranchise and silence.
I have been asked regularly how I define the GBU categories. Here is my rationale:
Good – Posts with excellent content which contain a positive argument. These posts are not based in critique but in an argument from a positive premise.
Bad – Posts with excellent content which feature a negative argument. These posts are based in critique, and work to expose the darkness while pointing towards the light.
Ugly – Posts that contain content that is simply hateful, disturbing, or otherwise odd and unworthy of praise. I include this to remind us all that Christianity is a complex religion with a great deal of corruption and injustice therein. We must own and oppose these influences within our walls, instead of only ever talking about the evils without.
- Jennifer Ould continues to write excellent posts on her young blog. This time, she has taken time to reflect on her reasons for supporting the LGBTQ+ community. I love the image she uses of learning to accept a God who likes to “color outside the lines.”
- Naghmeh Abedini has issued a heartfelt call for American Christians to embrace and love the Muslim community. She has noted that the acceptance and loves she received as an immigrant to the United States directly influenced her family’s conversion to Christianity. She has called Christians to demonstrate Christ’s love to the immigrants and refugees in our midst.
- I recently came across this post from the website Queer Theology. Here, Brian Murphy reflects on his life as a gay Christian and why celebrating Gay Pride is for so many a deeply Christ-centered act, and provides a vision of hope for progress still to be made. (Content Warning to those offended by strong language).
- The New York Times recently released a study in which they analyzed the reasons why certain persons tend to blame victims, while others believe them. Interesting within their findings, is that the factors they found tend to be part and parcel of conservative Christian belief. It seems that the issues of abuse which plague the Church are systemically linked to the moral principles we instill. What does this tell us about the Gospel we preach, and how might we need to revisit Scripture and consider how we can properly interpret Christ if our message silences and revictimizes survivors of abuse.
- I have been reading Diana Butler Bass’s excellent book Grounded in the last few days and, before I had even finished the introduction to the book, an amazing quote jumped off the page at me. I want to share it with you.
Venerating a God of a vanished world is the very definition of fundamentalism, the sort of religion that is inflicting great pain and violence on many millions of people across the planet and is leading to the rejection of religion by millions of others. Conventional theism is at the heart of fundamentalism…But we now live in a theologically flattened world – we have discovered that we are fully capable of creating the terrors of hell right here ad no longer need a lake of fire to prove the existence of evil… (pp. 5-6)
If you are interested, Grounded is available on Amazon at this link.
- It is truly a strange election cycle. Some interesting new rape charges have been leveled against Donald Trump. It seems that every layer of this man which is peeled away reveals only more of his commitment to self and his willingness to use, abuse, and disenfranchise anyone who opposes him. (Content Warning: Rape and Child Sex Abuse)
- Once again, John Piper has given Doug Wilson a platform from which to spread his hate. This time, he has allowed Doug Wilson to prove just how little skill he has as an exegete by twisting Scripture shamelessly to deny the fullness of the image of God in LGBTQ+ persons. Let’s be clear, the very nature of Wilson’s argument claims that the image of God is fullest in those who keep law best (with Jesus’ help of course). As such, he has created a hierarchy of Christians based on their works which will inevitably place the “other” on the bottom rung. Since those on top most fully hold the imago Dei in this asinine rendering, the people on the bottom are decidedly less in the image of God and – since this image defines essential humanity – distinctly less human. I remind my readers that Jesus Christ is no respecter of hierarchy and anyone who uses such hierarchies to place themselves in a place of privilege and authority is someone who promotes a claim in direct opposition to the Cross of Christ (1 Cor 1:18-31). These men continue to promote injustice and call it Gospel. They should be ashamed.
- In startling contrast to Nagmeh’s call for Christians in the U.S. to embrace and love their Muslim neighbor and to accept and defend refugees, Saeed Abedini has decided to use his platform to promote Donald Trump and says that Trump’s plan regarding Muslim immigration are precisely right. Abedini has recently taken up distinctly anti-Islam rhetoric.
- Tim Challies recently posted this Al Mohler quote on his Twitter page. This is the arrogance of American Evangelical Christianity at its absolute worst. In order for this to be true, persecuted Christians in various countries where access to the Bible is either severely limited or non-existent are lesser as Christians, more spiritually immature because they are not like the American religious elitists. By this standard, Al Mohler asserts himself – a man with a doctorate in theology – as better than others simply by his education. Those who have less experience with Scripture will clearly need his “mature” experience to guide them. This is a sickeningly myopic attempt at preserve personal privilege and power by antagonistically punching-down at anyone not like himself. Mohler quote represents a form of disgustingly ethnocentric and astoundingly paternalistic bibliolatry.