Over the last few months, “fake news”—fraudulent journalism passed off as factual—has become one of the hottest topics in cultural debate. Though deceptive news stories are certainly nothing new, their power to reach massive audiences (thanks to social media) has only grown over time. In an era dominated by confirmation biases, fake news can rapidly lead to misperceptions of reality. In part, this is due to the fact that no one quite knows who to
This past election season popular evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, penned two controversial articles for Townhall.com, wherein he defended, inter alia, the Christian Trump vote. The article, in a style that mimics a campaign website’s policy position statements, is lengthy and not revolutionary, especially in hindsight. Yet, at the time a particular statement caught my eye. Hopefully, now that we are more than two months into a Trump administration, my analysis and humble refutation of Grudem’s
About a month ago, I shared an article concerning one Christian woman’s positive experience with Planned Parenthood (PP). In this article, the author—who is also the subject of the story—seeks to shed light on a predicament lingering within much of conservative Christianity: widespread ignorance and shame concerning sex, especially among young girls. In this article, the author describes herself as a product of a quintessentially conservative Christian environment. Growing up, she, among other things, maintained
To Enter Gilead Judges 12:5-6 For the refugees of the Syrian crisis. My infant daughter doesn’t have a word for thirst. The words she knows, we make her say. We require what she has. But when she points, panicked with need, we relent. Things were different for Ephraim. The Jordan ford was watched– there was no deliberating. To enter Gilead was pass-fail. When they couldn’t say the shibboleth, they died for it. —Commentary— In the
The Christ you follow determines how you vote. If we want political unity, we need to find our way to a single Christ. Here are four possible paths forward.
If one were to observe Democratic campaigning during the 2016 election, they may well come to the conclusion that the GOP is the only party claiming to speak for Christians. Such a conclusion is particularly bizarre given that a recording of the 2016 Republican standard-bearer braggadociously describing sexual assault was broadcast in primetime. Indeed, these are odd times. Characterizations of either major party in the United States as Christian miss the mark, largely because Christians of all
Growing up in Texas, I was steeped in evangelical culture from an early age. This was incidental more than intentional, given that my own Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod occupies a unique space in the American ecclesiastical landscape: it’s too theologically conservative for the traditional “mainline,” but too liturgical and traditional to fit neatly within American evangelicalism. Yet when you live in the land of the megachurch, you tend to assume that the rest of American Christianity—if
Liberal democracy has fallen on hard times: across the Western world, nationalism is on the rise. (By “liberal democracy” I refer not to the left-right political spectrum, but to a political structure built on participatory democracy, coupled with entrenched individual rights protections and a generally free-market economic system.) From America and England to Hungary and Russia, the liberal-democratic vision of an “interconnected global community” appears to be wavering in the face of widespread cultural blowback.
Our churches preach three different Christs: two with no center and one with no edges. Out of this difference arises our political divide. Is reconciliation possible?
January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. For the first time, the White House released a statement to the press which mentioned neither anti-Semitism nor Jews. Why would the US Government issue a statement on such a day that fails to mention the victims of one of the most grotesque human evils in recent history? Thankfully, Reince Priebus, President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, answered the question for us: “If we could wipe
Though not a Southern Baptist (or Calvinist) myself, I’ve long admired the work done by Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Moore’s ministry has coupled rigorous theology (and an unwillingness to yield to ideological pressures) with willingness to advance a holistic Christian message across traditional partisan lines. Under his leadership, the ERLC has weighed in on criminal justice reform, racial reconciliation, immigration, and respect for Muslims’ religious
Donald Trump has officially been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. For many this is a victory of a forgotten people against an elitist establishment. For the majority of Americans, however, the election of President Trump represents something far different. While fractures along racial and denominational lines within the American church are not new, the 2016 election cycle, and disagreement on President Trump himself, have uncovered new fault lines
Gallons of e-ink have already been spilled over the 2016 presidential election outcome, and barrels more will undoubtedly be required by journalists and scholars in future decades. Until President-elect Donald Trump actually takes office, I have few concrete thoughts about the nation’s future trajectory. One element of the 2016 campaign, however, seems to have been underexplored in the flood of post-election hot takes: over the last ten years or so, some Americans have developed a
“And I saw the holy city, Facebook, coming down out of heaven from Zuck, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2, kinda.) The irony of any attempt to critique our dependency on the twin Babel towers of Facebook and Twitter, is that the number of readers who use those services to discover said critique is somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred percent. To even be in a position to publish such
2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been
I. Cultural Impoverishment A few weeks ago, I visited Montpelier, Vermont for the first time. As state capitals go, the city is positively tiny, with a resident population around 8,000—and it’s one of the most picturesque small towns I’ve ever seen. The state capitol building sits adjacent to the local courthouse, and the Montpelier city hall is just one block away. Walking down the drizzly main street, I passed an Episcopal church, a Lovecraft-themed bookstore,
November 9th, 2020. Can it be? Has it really been four years since that fateful morning after the election when I wrote, “The odds are high that Hillary Clinton will have unambiguously swept the electoral college by the time you read this”? Oh, how that seems such a different life now. I suppose it is. That was the era Before the Administration. I remember that time now only dimly, as if through something, uh, dim.
In the furor and frenzy of the recent presidential election, you almost certainly didn’t hear about third-party candidate Zoltan Istvan, spokesman for the “Transhumanist Party.” Istvan’s quixotic campaign—characterized by its relentless fixation on technological progress as the road to eventual human apotheosis—was almost completely dead on arrival, but the questions he and others have raised have been percolating within culture for some time. A recent episode of the cyber-dystopian anthology TV series Black Mirror also
It is not exactly revelatory to say that the periodical industry is hurting. In the internet era, newspapers are anxious, as the old print business model—advertising revenue buttressed by inexpensive newsstand prices—is quickly being upended.1 A majority of U.S. adults now get their news on social media2, putting pressure on magazines to retain subscriber numbers and keep the doors open. Today, we now have the option to consume vast amounts of free content, coming from
A pair of squirrels is playing tag in the autumn sun: around the fir, across my porch, over my roof. They flirt their tails and chirrup, they thunder boldly through the day, through life. Perhaps I envy them their simple lives—unworried about elections or the future. Yet, the squirrel can’t think about the fact that it is a squirrel. It can’t wonder what the purpose of its life is or if it matters in the