Study: Evangelicals in Decline, Mainline Protestantism Makes a Comeback

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Heralding a “rebirth” of mainline Protestantism would be premature. What does seem clear is that the Evangelical world is roiling. Chickens are coming home to roost, specifically, (mixed metaphor alert) the way that Evangelicals lashed themselves to the Trump mast.

Terminally Earnest? Hard to “Enjoy the Show”

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We want to take seriously matters of justice and human suffering. As we should. But at some point, such seriousness — an excess of earnestness — becomes unbalanced and a little self-important.

Why Is Church Membership in America Falling Off a Cliff?

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Overall, the cultural Christians, those who belonged because it was what you did and might have social benefits, don’t any longer. And in some parts of the country, the Northwest for example, this has entirely flipped. Being part of a church is considered, at best, curious, but often something far more suspect.

Catholic Church’s Mixed Easter Message to Same-Sex Parishioners

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The strongest response to the stern Vatican directive came from Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, who pronounced himself “ashamed for my Church . . . I mainly feel moral and intellectual incomprehension. I would like to apologize to all for whom this responsum is painful, incomprehensible. The pain the Church has caused them is today my pain.”

Pro-Choice Joe Biden and the Catholic Wars

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The Catholic right has revived a cause that goes back to the 2004 election, when Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis said he would deny holy communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a pro-choice Catholic. A South Carolina priest, in 2015, denied the eucharist to Biden.

Christianity Is Not a Religion. So what is it?

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Growing up, I thought Christianity was really — boiled down — about being a good person. Actually it’s not about that.

Different Times: Prayer, Fellowship Across a Partisan Divide

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Our bonding became evident among our Congressional colleagues, who took notice of how our friendships transcended the usual political norms on the House floor. This was before the rise of the Moral Majority and its politicizing of the evangelical community,

Beginnings: The Mythic Origins of Puget Sound People

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History has treated this mythic sanctuary with destructive indifference. But traces of the Native People's origins of the human world can still be glimpsed.

A “Christian Insurrection” at the Capitol?

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Trump’s playbook bears remarkable similarity to Hitler’s in Germany. Hitler wasn’t really a Christian, nor is Trump. But both saw the church as either a potential ally or enemy and tried to enlist it, or neutralize it.

A Year-End Message from an Owl that Calls Your Name

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The native belief is that when a person hears an owl call their name, which the young vicar in the novel does in due course, it means you do not have long to live.

The Star of Bethlehem and how It May Have Existed

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Hellenistic astrology, with its houses, trines and aspects, is highly complex, and with the help of computers to date the risings, settings, and positions of celestial objects, Molnar could accurately determine that in the early afternoon on April 17, 6 BC, the sun and moon and planets were in a unique position relative to the constellation Aries that announced a royal Jewish birth.

A Seasonal Detective Story: Where, Exactly, Was Jesus Born?

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The Gospel of John, written approximately 15 to 20 years after that of Mark, also does not associate Jesus with Bethlehem. Galilee is Jesus’ hometown.

Joe Biden: Drawn Into the Struggle for the Soul of America’s Catholic Church

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Biden has set out to be America’s healer in chief, a role anchored to his Catholicism.

Trump and the Wrong Side of Evil

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One might call efforts to reduce immigration wrong or not, but the separation of parents from their children was different. It was evil.

It Takes Self-Confidence to be a Moderate

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Moderation should never be confused with indecisiveness. On the contrary, a lack of self-confidence in one’s most basic commitments is often expressed in extremism.

White Evangelical Voters: Trump as Spiritual Leader

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This version of evangelicalism—a movement more concerned with masculinity than moralism—helps explain the appeal of Trump, as well as the widespread refusal by white evangelicals to accept the results of the election. In a culture war that demands unflinching commitment, democratic norms are fungible.

Biden: A Different Kind of Catholic for this Moment

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In Joe Biden, Americans have a president who seemingly views policy through his Catholic faith, but in a less divisive way.

What is the Actual Legal Impact of Overturning Roe v. Wade?

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In Washington, the loss of Roe will probably have less impact than the hospital mergers that have placed a number of major Seattle and state medical centers under control of Catholic health-care organizations – in which, following church doctrine, abortions are not performed.

Demons and Devils: Halloween and its Growing Popularity

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There’s something bigger, more malevolent, going on here. Something demonic.

Great Expectations: Please Reconsider

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Politics, at least in a democracy, is the art of the possible and the practice of compromise. It is, and should be, a limited sphere. Which is why I’m good with Joe Biden.

Younger Evangelicals Are Cooling on Trump

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“The president’s perceived lack of ‘Christian kindness’ is already hurting him with faithful Americans in general. According to a recent survey of religious voters..., “the perception that Trump lacks basic Christian kindness is the strongest driver of defecting from Trump in 2020.”

This Year’s Election: Not Just a Political Argument

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The starting point in dealing with such an adversary is to admit our own powerlessness. The powerlessness of our usual methods and mindset. It’s a starting point, not an end point.

Winners, Losers and Suckers: A World Shorn of Grace

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Taken to an extreme, the meritocratic ethic is a moral framework that is harsh, self-serving, and self-deceiving. Rather than binding people together, it separates people from one another.

A Progressive Church Tries to Deal with Its Whiteness

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A mentor's advice: “In predominately white congregations people believe God needs them. In predominately black churches, people understand they need God.”

The Chief Best Lesson: What Happens When You Don’t Stand By Leaders

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The Council’s job was to back up the leader they had hired. Instead, they undermined Chief Best. Jim Pugel had it right. Good leaders don’t grow on trees.

The Great Realignment: A Protestant Revolution Brewing?

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"My guess right now is that post-Protestantism will burn brighter than the religious right as a moralistic flame within the liberal order, but then pretty rapidly burn out."

A Confession: My Bogus Plea-Bargaining in the Church’s Confessional

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I had I stolen 25 cents off my father’s dresser, although, arguably, this represented a payment in lieu of benefits I would have obtained had the children of the house been allowed to bargain collectively. Though ardent Roosevelt Democrats, my parents flouted the Wagner Act in their own home.

Sin and the Nature of Structural Racism

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Can it be true that, “I am not a racist,” in the sense of using racial slurs or treating people as less than ourselves because of the color of the their skin? And yet that I am a racist because racism is demonic power that pervades American society (and not just American society).

Baker’s Dozen Fantasy: Trump Opens a Bible, Finds Actual Moral Teachings

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With an eye on his Evangelical base and Bible in hand, Trump pulls off another of his astonishing pivots.

Betrayal of the Elites: When A “Non-Profit” Hospital Administrator Makes $10 Million a Year

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Elite status no longer connotes responsibility. It no longer carries with it the expectation of giving up something to serve in a role of leadership. Nowadays, to be elite is not a “privilege implying obligation,” said author Martin Gurri, “it is a prize.” It means you are the big winner and you get all the toys.