LBCF, No. 127: ‘Fire-breathing Martians’

Writing a bad book — a hastily written, shabbily imagined, incoherent story with wrenching lapses in continuity, hilarious factual errors, and characters that do not behave in recognizably human ways — was the only way for LaHaye & Jenkins to keep their prophecy beliefs intact. Had they tried to write a better book — one in which, at a minimum, there was a semblance of continuity and in which people acted like people — they would have been forced to realize that the thing they’ve been telling themselves they believe is an impossibility.

I’m guessing it’s named after the other Philip

"So who were Saints Philip and James?" The question involved the namesakes of a local Catholic parish, and I couldn't be sure of the answer. There were quite a few saints that shared those names. But I suspect we can narrow down the list, because naming a church after the wrong one of those Philips would just be asking for trouble.

The audacious claim that we are not shaped by history

Every facet of white evangelical Christianity as it exists in America today is based on this unspoken belief. It is the bold claim that defines the tradition, the bedrock of everything that white evangelical Christianity is and strives to be. That claim is this: Hundreds of years of slavery and a century of Jim Crow oppression had no effect on the shape of American Christianity.

Sanctuary and ‘civil disobedience’ (part 1)

Sanctuary is an old idea, existing since ancient times. Over thousands of years, the idea and practice has evolved, but it endures today. And in all that time, in all its various forms in various cultures, one thing has always been true of the refuge provided by the practice of sanctuary: It has been lawful and legal, a legitimate assertion of jurisdiction and not a form of "civil disobedience."

The Resenters: Building Hell in Heaven’s despite

The Resenters rejoice when others mourn and mourn when others rejoice, and their politics of resentment has the crabs-in-a-bucket effect of making things worse for everyone, themselves included — making sure that nothing ever improves, that no problem is ever solved. The politics of resentment can never be for anything. That which benefits others will provoke resentment, even if it benefits all, including the Resenters themselves. They will still manage to resent the benefit to others — mourning at their rejoicing — convincing themselves that they might have benefited more if those others hadn't also been unjustly included in the common good.

LBCF, No. 126: ‘Ben and Glory’

The decision to have Nicolae’s rise to power result from magical deception allows the authors to avoid having to imagine how else such a rise to power might occur, or how a leader not possessing such dark magics might still be able to “deceive many.” This failure of imagination tends to have real-world consequences. L&J’s target audience of white American evangelicals and fundamentalists, you may have noticed, tends to be particularly susceptible to demagoguery and the machinations of Mayberry Machiavellis.

Feeding the hungry is a Good Thing

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would slash federal funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by more than $6 billion. The biggest chunk of that cut would come from “eliminating the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which provides money for a variety of community development and anti-poverty programs, including Meals on [Read More...]

Causes and effects

The very same survey data they've collected might demonstrate something very different from what they're arguing. They say this data shows that church-attendance makes it less likely for people to wind up divorced or addicted or in financial distress. But it's just as possible -- and far more likely -- that it simply proves, instead, that our churches are really, really bad at welcoming people who are divorced, addicted, or in financial distress.