Procrustes will see you now.
You might have seen this this article in Christianity Today about making room for intersex people in the church. The writer, Matthew Anderson, reviewed a book on the subject by author Megan DeFranza to see if it would be a good resource for today’s conservative evangelical churches. Anderson’s conclusion? Nope, not really. DeFranza didn’t do enough to affirm the church’s position on gender binaries, traditional marriage, and sexual ethics. It was too much of a slippery slope.
Here’s the part that, for me, induced convulsive facepalming: Continue reading
When I was in college, I took a public speaking class. One of the last assignments of the semester was to make a 10-minute persuasive speech on a self-selected topic. While most other students chose to do their speeches on abortion and capital punishment, I chose the topic of “oppositional culture” in the African American community. For those of you who don’t know what that is, oppositional culture refers to the way in which black people resist conformity to many aspects of the dominant (i.e., white) culture to avoid being seen as “acting white” by their peers. It is a very controversial theory that has too often been used to overgeneralize the experience of black Americans and blame them for low social and economic achievement.
I delivered this speech to a mixed group of peers at a major urban university. It was probably the dumbest and most frightening thing I’ve ever done. On my list of life regrets, it’s probably in the top five, despite two black classmates thanking me afterward. The problem was, I had the wrong frame of context for truly understanding such a complex topic. At the time, I didn’t know about racial profiling or wage discrimination or redlining or “white flight” or the Tuskegee experiment or urban lead poisoning or historic attacks on black churches. If I had, it would have been a very different speech.
But as scary and offensive as it was, that speech was a major first step in my attempt to understand racism and race relations in America. I now believe that I had to stand up in front of my peers and let my ignorant words dribble out of my ignorant mouth so that the truth could find room to register in my brain. I had to rile people who would get in my face and say, “You don’t get it” in order for me to ‘get it.’ And to be honest, I’m still in the process of “getting it.”
Most of us know the story. Last year, a Colorado baker was taken to court because he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing that such an act would violate his “religious beliefs” against gay marriage.
You’d think that nearly a year after the ruling (in which the baker was found guilty of discrimination), that most people would have forgotten about it. But no. I still see articles and hear comments pop up on ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ and how it’s such a shame that our government doesn’t seem to care about protecting them these days. (Protecting them meaning that they can be exercised whenever, however, and with whatever consequences that result.) The phrase took center stage in the Hobby Lobby birth control case, and again when a photographer in New Mexico refused to photograph a gay wedding.
However, the more I hear the words ‘deeply held religious belief’ bandied about, the more uneasy I feel. I wasn’t sure why at first, until I had read through the umpteenth article on the subject. And that’s when I realized that the so-called “beliefs” being defended weren’t actually rooted in scripture.
I believe that if someone is going to make a case for a ‘deeply held religious belief,’ then said belief should be backed up with a clear biblical mandate. And those saying it is against their religion to sell wedding favors to gay couples don’t have a scriptural basis for that position.
I can prove it. Continue reading
Some people aren’t going to like what I’m about to say. Because it goes straight to the heart of a very pernicious attitude that is only expressed in certain company. An attitude the Church doesn’t like to address because it would be “too uncomfortable” for the well-dressed membership and the leaders who may be entertaining it in their own minds.
I’m talking about racism. Continue reading
Normally, I don’t get terribly riled when people express viewpoints different from my own. I believe that truth is sometimes expressed in multiple dimensions and that most people have something reasonable to say. But once in a while, even these panties get into a twist. And it happened just the other day – in the comments section of my post on Matt Walsh. This is what one commenter wrote:
“So as a Christian should you just be nice and quiet when the culture of abortion and homosexuality is basically force fed to you? I don’t think Jesus would agree. In today’s culture those who actually support Christian values are attacked much like the days of Jesus. Matt has the courage to engage the battle.”
Let me explain how this simple statement took me from zero to rage dump. Inherent in this comment is the belief that Christians in America are facing persecution from gays and abortionists. Being steeped in evangelical culture, I hear this sentiment expressed all the time. CEO of Mozilla resigns due to protests over his support of Prop 8? Persecution! Reality TV shows starring Christians get canceled when said Christians make anti-gay remarks? Persecution! Christian teens are told to stop bullying their LGBT classmates? Persecution!
I wish I were joking.
Let me just state for the record, I am seriously the wrong person to choose for a Christians-in-America-are-persecuted rant. As an employee of an international church-building organization, I get to hear every single day about the very real persecution of Christians that is happening in other parts of the world: Continue reading