Tag Archives: progressive evangelical

Denying the deniers

August 20, 2011

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Deniers of climate change, including many Republican Presidential candidates, often cite statistics promoted in The Great Global Warming Swindle, which premiered in Britain in 2007. I’ve encountered them myself in several e-mails. Peter Sinclair’s video illuminates the pseudo-documentary’s distortions. It turns out that sun activity is not spiking current temperatures; the Earth is now hotter than the balmy Middle Ages; and volcanoes do not belch more CO2 than factories and cars.

It’s intriguing: Sean Hannity branded people like me “communist.” Not that facts matter, but I’m an evangelical Christian and a Baptist pastor. I would be among the first bound for the nascent American gulag after the Revolution. But even more relevant, I’m advocating the same concern for climate change as did George H.W. Bush. Was the World War 2 hero a closet communist? And what is “communist” about environmental concern? I don’t want collectivization. I just want green environmental stewardship, which Republicans of previous eras had always championed.

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No fair being unfair — to anyone

August 10, 2011

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Ringing clarion calls for fairness can be a cinch: Find sympathetic people, unearth someone who delivered them a sucker punch, then scream “foul!” Voila. We’re righteously indignant. But what if the punch slammed someone with whom we adamantly disagree? What if a news organization cuffs a tea party leader? Is not unfairness still unfair?

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Video of the month, August 2011: Rich Nathan: A Both/And Church

August 9, 2011

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Rich Nathan, pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio, discusses false contradictions and why it is necessary to be both-and Christians.

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Surprise-surprise: Fox was very bad

August 8, 2011

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So our president funds his own 50th birthday bash, invites a slew of guests from all races and ethnicities, and has everything but hip-hop music played. How does the blog owned by Fox News cover it? Look at the picture below. Look at it again. Feast your eyes on the cheap shot par excellence. Fox Nation finds scandal where there is no scandal and litters it with racist hints as subtle as earthquakes. No doubt they’ll respond to objections with that we’re-just-kidding look.

The real scandal, of course, lies in an alleged “news organization” that fronts for a propaganda machine. I wonder if the Fox owner Rupert Murdoch is finished answering questions on that phone hacking scandal in Britain …

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An Open Letter To My Progressive Evangelical Kin: Remember Who We Are

July 25, 2011

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We’ve been played.

My inner skeptic roared when HarperOne launched its pre-release publicity campaign this winter for Rob Bell’s Love Wins: “With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly hopeful – eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And, ultimately, Love Wins.” That’s raw bait, nurtured and bred for remonstrating bloggers, tweeters, and columnists and their free publicity. And they chomped. John Piper issued his now-famous tweet, “Farewell Rob Bell” with a link to a critical Justin Taylor review, and John MacArthur delivered one of his typical broadsides. All unwittingly read their lines from the marketers’ script. Some progressive evangelicals raced to Bell’s defense and, on cue, cried that many hadn’t read the book. Nor had many of them, but they still snarled at the critics while reciting their buzz words: “dialogue,” “understanding,” and “conversation.” Who can disagree? Except that the snub-like calls for civility reeked of incivility: there was constant second-guessing of motives. Few addressed the merits.

Surely the publicity stunt was a cynical ploy. Of course I liked Bell – especially his innovative NOOMA videos – and anyone needling finicky heresy watchers can’t be all bad. But I refused to buy the book. Don’t we see that script? Doesn’t everyone know how this play ends? We’ll discover harmless shibboleths cloaked in hip, “with-it” lingo. Eggs will drip from the faces of the heresy watchers while HarperOne laughs its way to the bank … Right?

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A shocking, real-life drama: calmness and tranquility may be round the next bend

July 18, 2011

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Run – do not walk, but run with blistering, heart-attack speed – to the mall’s Rock-em Sock-’em Religious Magazine Store and pick up the latest copy of Christianity Today. There’s hope. Gobs of it. Sanity is making a come-back even amid the shrill cry of the shrinking religious right (“I’m melting!”).

First is the cover story profiling the new Focus on the Family boss. Read the tag line: “Why Jim Daly doesn’t care whether you know who he is or whom he supports for president.” Say whuh? The organization is returning to its original purpose and calling: Nurturing godly families and helping children. No one says Focus employees will be wearing Che Guevara T-shirts (although the old formal dress code has dropped to “business casual”), but at least they won’t implicitly christen the GOP as “God’s Own Party.” Daly’s own compelling personal saga of alcoholic parents and foster-care abuse gives him empathy for the downtrodden.

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Hollering “Everything’s Fine!” in a crowded movie theater …

July 16, 2011

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Michael F. Bird has stolen the knife, waved a magic wand, transformed it into a feather, and twisted it. Bombshells have become cotton candy and grenades explode flower petals. I feel the love.

Some background: D.A. Carson and N.T. Wright have lobbed donnish salvos across the Great Pond. Carson, a New Testament professor at Illinois’ Trinity Evangelical Seminary and a lion of the ever-vigilant Neo-Reformed Movement, sniped at Wright when reviewing The Future of Justification by John Piper (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), which questioned Wright’s interpretation of the Apostle Paul: “John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior.” Wright, a British Anglican cleric and scholar, took umbrage in his weighty reply, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (Downer’s Grove: IVP Academic, 2009): “The implicit charge that the Pauline theology I have articulated might lead people to put their trust in ‘anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior’ … is seriously misleading.”

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Video of the month: July, 2011

July 13, 2011

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Old Testament Scholar and author Pete Enns engages NT Wright in a series of Youtube videos. Here, Wright briefly discusses how European evangelicals often lean to the political left and how we need to learn from everyone on the theological spectrum.

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Video of the Month: Parenthood and mercury poisoning

June 29, 2011

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The Evangelical Environmental Network has launched a campaign alerting everyone that one in six babies are now born with high mercury blood levels. Tracey Bianchi, author of Green Mama, published by Zondervan, explains the dilemma and what we can do about it in this video. We’ll cull cyberspace in the future and feature a “Video of the Month.”

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A theological/sociological/anthropological Kim Kardashian interval

May 22, 2011

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This weekend was the weekend of the un-moment, the weekend of the non-event event, the weekend in which television hosts and writers frazzled themselves over a looming non-incident everyone knew would not occur – and, when it did not happen, bloggers blogged about how a predominantly silent clique should think twice before it fanned the flames of panic again. Never have so many talk-headed so much for so long about something they all knew was nothing.

I speak, of course, of Harold Camping’s prediction that the so-called “rapture” would sweep born-again Christians off the Earth and into the sky on May 21. I write this on May 22 – and I’m totally non-surprised to be here a day after my un-disappointment. What’s more, I preached at my church of mostly born-again Christians this morning. Almost all were there (a few had the sniffles; a couple temporary heathens played hooky; no one was in the clouds). We all knew Brother Camping was the equivalent of the bearded doom-and-gloom guy with the sandwich board in LA’s Griffith Park – or the poor soul who bundled up in winter clothing in August and marched the city streets where I once lived, screaming, “REEEEEPENT! THE LAWD IS COM-ING!” We’re aware of Acts 1:7: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority,” and, like many evangelical Christians, we doubt all this talk of the “pre-tribulation rapture.” We think Left Behind should be left behind.

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