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Monday, October 26, 2020

Great Expectations: Please Reconsider

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

“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

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

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

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

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?

"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

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

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

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

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.

Trump’s Dangerously Political Plea To Open Churches

While it’s nice to be dubbed essential, the source is wrong. God calls us to worship, not a President or other political leader. Moreover, gathering in a church building is not the only way for people to worship.

The Long, Slow Fade of Mainline Protestant Churches

In an essay titled “Awakenings,” the novelist and essayist, Marilynne Robinson, spoke of the Calvinist and Reformed theological tradition, which informed Lincoln and his transcendent framing of the Civil War. Of that tradition, she writes, “I no longer see much trace of it in America today."

Weird Times, ‘Weird Christianity’

Saul Bellow: “It is hard to see how modern man can survive on what he now gets from his conscious life — now that there is a kind of veto against impermissible thoughts, the most impermissible being the notion that man might have a spiritual life he is not conscious of which reaches out for transcendence.”

Reclaiming Religion: Biden’s Charleston Speech

At that AME church, the Bidens heard the call to rise again and go on, and the promise that, by grace, they could. Now Biden issued that same call to the nation.

Biblical Literacy, Now Lost, Was a Key Source of Lincoln’s Greatness

Adam Gopnik has written that Lincoln “had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in biblical terms.”