As seems to be a developing trend, I really don’t know what to make of this week. After watching the RNC this week, it is hard to see hope for Evangelicalism and I am now, more than ever, glad I have walked away from the often vitriolic and exclusionary theological rhetoric that seems part and parcel of the Evangelical church as it exists in the US.
It seems to me about time we move past blatant antagonism and an Us vs. Them mentality, and begin to discover what it means to be in Christ instead of against our neighbor. As seems to be my mantra lately, I urge all to remember that we are called to love all people in the example of the crucified people – not just the people we like or who “belong” to our identity establishing social circles.
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.
- Carolyn Custis James has written an excellent post looking at the centrality of women to Paul’s church planting ministry.
- Marg Mowczko has written two posts outlining the scriptural case against Eternal Conscious Torment. For those looking to understand why so many – myself included – reject ECT theology, this series serves as a good intro.
If you are looking for a thorough examination of the evidence, this book is the best I have found. Whether one agrees with the author, this book empowers the reader to form their own opinion.
- Jennifer Ould has written a brief post on her journey toward embracing the LGBT community and advocacy for them in the Church. I resonate with the journey she describes here on so many levels.
- Police shootings are out of hand. This disturbing trend does not appear to be getting any better, nor does it appear that judiciary officials or legislators care to hold them accountable when their use of force is entirely excessive, reactive, and disturbingly and inappropriately lethal.
As this article discusses, these incidents seem to coincide with a dehumanizing attitude among some police officers. While these attitudes are certainly not universal amongst all officers, it is a problem which needs to be addressed.
- Emily McFarlan Miller has outlined the division and controversy that has follows the election of the United Methodist Church’s first openly LGBT bishop. Rev. Karen Oliveto, an openly married lesbian, has been made history in being elected to this position. I am happy she has been chosen, and pray this brings hope for change in the official positions of the UMC towards LGBTQ+ persons.
- While speaking at the RNC, Jerry Falwell Jr. showed his support for Trump by making a “yo mama” joke about Hillary Clinton. So, just in case you wondered why so many are declaring this election cycle a death knell for conservative Evangelical Christianity, let this serve as exhibit A.
And in case you needed an exhibit B, here is Ben Carson defending the fact that he said Hillary Clinton worships “Lucifer.”
Christianity has a hate problem, and it is playing out on the nation’s biggest stage.
- The shooting of Charles Kinsey by a North Miami police officer was utterly inexcusable. Kinsey is a mental health therapisst who, at the time he was shot, was attempting to help an autistic man who was playing with a toy truck in the middle of the road. Police received a 911 call claiming the autistic man had a firearm.
When police arrived, Kinsey lay down in the road, put his hands in the air, and attempted to explain the situation to the police. Instead, an officer fired three shots, hitting Kinsey in the leg. The police then handcuffed Kinsey and left him bleeding for 20 minutes while they waited for an ambulance.
The police have now issued a statement which includes the rather absurd excuse that they were trying to protect Kinsey from the autistic man who – remember – was playing with a toy truck. So, apparently, while aiming for an autistic man playing with a toy truck, the officer entirely missed and hit Kinsey in the leg, while he was laying on the ground with his hands up.
We have a policing problem in the US, where officers entirely too often resort to potentially lethal violence in situations where no threat is posed, or where deescalation seems a much better options.
- In case you wondered whether there was any integrity to Donald Trump’s platform, he ever so considerately decided to answer the question. In fact, when looking at his speech at the Republican Nationals Convention, the lies were laid on so thick one would be pressed to actually find truth at all.
And in case you were fooled by Trump’s claim to care about the LGBT community, this single well-crafted sentence should be enough to convince you otherwise.
- There was yet another attack on police officers, leaving three dead, this time in Baton Rouge.
Before we start the antagonistic rhetoric, remember to base our rhetoric in well-reasoned and well-reasearched opinions, and not in empty rhetoric of those who sow hate. Hate leads to violence, and when we promote hate we fuel the machine and the death toll can only climb.