Something significant happened last week, which was largely lost in the reporting of Donald Trump’s much-ballyhooed tussle with Pope Francis— something that has little to do with Trump, and everything to do with modern American conservative Christianity, and the waning influence of papal authority over it. Continue reading Trump v. Pope and the Dawn of Post-Papal Evangelicalism
Last week, I blogged about the interplay between authoritarianism and evangelicalism and how it might help explain the sometimes confounding support by evangelicals for candidates like Donald Trump. Today, I’m poking that bear a bit further, abandoning the sideshow that is Trump, and probing instead the notion that how we as a society choose to conceive of God might be the most important issue of our time. I’ll then offer a few suggestions of my own regarding how we might consider approaching such a choice, and why I think it matters so much. Continue reading On Choosing the Face of God
So, a vulgar, twice divorced bigot walks into a private Christian school, brags that he is so popular he could shoot someone, and receives nothing but laughter, applause, and a “we love you!” from the crowd.
It might be a sad bit of satire — the kind that pokes fun at people of faith and isn’t particularly funny — if only it didn’t happen just like that, a few days ago at a Donald Trump rally at Dordt College in Iowa. Continue reading On Trump, Authoritarianism, and Evangelicals
202 days of gratitude, more accurately, spread out over 365 days. That’s the number of days I actually wrote in a gratitude journal over the past year, in an attempt to increase a feeling of gratitude in my life.
Looking at my life from the outside, you might have wondered why I would need to embark on a “gratitude enhancement project” at all. After all, I had it pretty good. Damned good, really. It might have been fair to say, even, that I hadn’t a single legitimate thing in the world to grumble about. Continue reading 365 Days of Gratitude
It was a strange week in social media land. If you somehow missed it, here’s the twenty second version: a controversy erupted after the coffee chain “Starbucks” unveiled its 2015 “holiday” cup. Unlike past years, when the cup was adorned with snowflakes or reindeer, etc., this year’s cup is simply solid red, and devoid of graphics other than Starbucks’ normal logo. A self-professed “social media evangelist” publicly criticized Starbucks in a video, asserting, among other things, that Starbucks changed its cups because it “hates Jesus.” The video went viral, sparking countless others to react to the backlash by mocking those purportedly “outraged” by the cups. So it has gone all week. Continue reading Starbucked: Lessons From the Imaginary War on the Imaginary War on Christmas
I’ve tried writing this post for several weeks now—since attending a rally at the Idaho Statehouse dubbed “Refugees Welcome in Idaho.” It was a nice event. Nothing fancy — just a bunch of people gathering on the Capitol steps for a photo, in an attempt to show support for refugees in Idaho — both those who are already here, and those who will likely be heading here in the wake of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. This seemed like a simple enough story to write—a humanitarian “feel good” piece, if you will—although as I thought and read more about it, it proved to be anything but simple. First, a little context: Continue reading Refugees Welcome
I’ll admit I was slow to the take on this one. I really only started noticing this a year or two ago – this trend in social media and advertising to highlight “non-traditional beauty” and emphasize “body positivity.” But once I started noticing it, I noticed it everywhere, and the movement only seems to be gaining steam. Just today, I read an article entitled “24 Women Bare Their Scars To Reveal The Beauty In Imperfections,” which featured a cover photo of a young, remarkably fit woman pulling up a skimpy knit tank top, as though undressing, revealing two long scars on her abdomen. She was wearing snug-fitting jeans, which nonetheless seemed to be falling off her buttocks, and she looked, well, amazing, which of course was the whole point. Continue reading Six Observations on the Body Positivity Movement by a Liberal Father with Daughters
Sometimes it takes a photo to snap you awake. This happened to me once—a couple of years after our first child was born. I knew I had put on a few pounds since entering family life, but all in all, I didn’t think I looked that bad. That is, until I saw that photo. We were in San Diego, at the beach, and I was playing in the ocean with our daughter. The photo was taken by my wife, and captured me in my true state—not in front of a mirror, sucking in my gut, or cloaked in the casual drape of men’s office attire—but out there in the water, exposed, my white belly slapping the waves like the baby beluga it had become. It was a true wake-up call, and exactly what I needed to in order to start doing something about it. Continue reading On Ronald, Donald, and the Changed Face of the GOP
Well, I swore I wasn’t going to do this. After taking on marriage equality in my first-ever blog post, and somehow coming out with most of my skin intact, I told myself the safest thing to do next would be to write a nice feel-good piece—something everybody could relate to and agree on, that wouldn’t offend anyone. Something involving a golden retriever puppy, perhaps, who teaches a crotchety but decent-hearted old widower how to live and love again—something that could be easily adapted into a one-hour Hallmark Channel special. Continue reading On Religious Freedom
As everyone now knows, last Friday, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision effectively prohibiting states from denying same sex partners the right to marry. It was the culmination of a long series of legal battles, and a key moment in a much longer civil rights struggle dating back several decades. Since the decision was released, the world of social media has predictably erupted – with reactions ranging from celebratory cries of joy and support, to angry shouts of derision and disgust. I’ve watched as people I know, or once knew, weighed in on both sides of the issue–from actions as simple as changing their facebook profile pictures the colors of the rainbow, to posting dire, end-of-the world prophecies. Until now, I’ve mostly kept quiet. Continue reading On Rainbows And Shadows