Tuesday, April 30, 2013


A friend pointed me toward this article about evangelical homeschoolers who want to teach evolutionary theory to their children.  It's easy to forget, when the media focus on the loudest voices (typically the strident, anti-science fundamentalists), that the evangelical realm is a diverse one (and I have forgotten that on occasion).  Even at my strongly conservative Christian college there was (and is) no uniformity of opinion on this issue, though those who accept evolutionary theory were (and likely still are) a small minority compared to young- and old-earth creationists.

And, as this letter writer pointed out to John Shore, not all young-earth creationists are narrow-minded fundamentalists, and not all of them have an extreme political agenda.  Just as LGBT individuals can be found scattered across nearly every demographic spectrum, so too we need to allow every individual we encounter to be just that - an individual.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


First up, a call for bridge building between Christians and non-Christians.  It will take a lot of work from both sides of the aisle, but respectful dialogue is not impossible.

Second, a tale of the sad reality of the way many evangelicals still treat those who fail to conform.  While it's not that bad everywhere, the legacy of fundamentalism still taints many churches and organizations.

Finally, an interesting observation about the positive side effects of LGBT equality.  Justice is not a zero-sum game; it has a positive impact on everybody.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Margaret Thatcher's recent passing provided a stark reminder of the highly polarized nature of our political culture.  To those on the right she was (and is) a patron saint, one of the great heroes of the late twentieth century.  To those on the left she was (and is) a demon, a villain who callously trampled the working class and the poor.  Love or hate her, the Iron Lady evoked strong emotions in just about everyone.

Granted, the same could be said about many politicians present and past, a fact that helps underscore the peril of entangling the church as a body in the political process.  In politics, anyone who votes against us is an opponent to be fought.  We are continually trained to view our neighbors in simplistic terms as allies or enemies.  Politicians who take the "right" stances are our heroes, whether they really deserve our respect or not.  Politicians on the "wrong" side are the embodiment of evil, again regardless of what they are really like.  A politicized pulpit can quickly become a forum that dehumanizes friend and foe alike by reducing them to two-dimensional caricatures.

Lost in the melee is the fact that we are all human beings who bear the image of (and are equally loved by) God, that we are all complex, gloriously messy three-dimensional persons whose lives cannot be reduced to a label.  Forgotten is Jesus' instruction that the Republican is my neighbor as well as the Democrat, and the Apostle Paul's reminder that even the most righteous among us is not superior to anyone else.

That's not to say that Christians living in a democratic society can (or should) avoid politics entirely, but if ever there was a time for followers of Christ to remember the command to be "in the world but not of it," the political process provides it.  Whenever we find ourselves claiming that we are "loving" our neighbors by passing laws that force them to do what we believe to be the right thing, it is perhaps time to release our death-grip on the reins of power and remind ourselves what our real mission is supposed to be.

And whenever we begin to see our political leaders as larger-than-life icons (good or bad), it couldn't hurt to pause and refocus until we can once again see them as human beings.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Life Soundtrack 34

Stronger Than That, by Cliff Richard

Never officially released in the US (to my knowledge), this song found its way onto the playlist of my local Christian radio station back in the late 1980s.  Cliff Richard's Christian faith had been receiving publicity in the evangelical subculture at the time, which made him a celebrity of sorts in Christian music circles, even though his albums were difficult to obtain in the U.S. at the time.

The song itself could be placed in the "God or girlfriend" category that Christian music fans are well acquainted with - it works equally well as Cliff singing to a girlfriend or as God speaking to us.  Whether that was his intent or not, that's what landed the song on at least one Christian station.

Rediscovering the song now, it would also work well for a same-sex relationship facing disapproval from relatives and neighbors - an interpretation Cliff Richard himself would undoubtedly disapprove of, given his repeated denial of the rumors that have circulated regarding his sexual orientation.  But because of those rumors it's an intriguing notion.