Why can’t the Southern Baptists just go back to hating Dungeons and Dragons and metal?

Yesterday I was so busy being appalled over the SBC’s anti-trans resolution that I missed that their new president, Ronnie Floyd, is quite the anti-gay bigot. GLAAD points out that Floyd has written a book with the particularly uncreative title, The Gay Agenda. “Gay agenda,” which is always in caps as “Gay Agenda,” all the more to scare the reader. Here’s an excerpt from the first page, to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with. Subtlety is not the man’s strong suit. The paranoia, however, is strong with him.  See also, this 2003 sermon, also dug up by GLAAD, in which he laments the Lawrence v. Texas decision, because hey, throwing gay people in jail is just spiffy to Ronnie Floyd.  He also uses some of the harshest culture war language that I’ve heard, and growing up in the religious right, I’ve heard far more than my fair share of culture war talk. “It appears now that everywhere you look, everything you read and everything you hear is about the gay lifestyle. Satan has taken his tool of homosexuality, a gross and evil sin, and done a con job on the American culture, making it seem like all is okay when you are gay. I hope you are aware that what was once subtle has now turned into the rage of a lion as brazen and threatening as anything in our culture. I must sound the trumpet loud and clear, praying that we do not run in retreat, but march in the truth of God valiantly. This is not a skirmish or a conflict or a disagreement, but it is a war. The war they have declared against our culture has an agenda and we need to be aware of it.” –emphasis added The worst part is where he empathizes with parents[…]

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Dark day: The Southern Baptist Convention officially condemns trans people

The Southern Baptist Convention managed to double down on their awfulness. The anti-trans resolution they passed today is in direct contradiction with scripture. The word “eunuch” as used in the near east did not just refer to people who were castrated, but also to what Jesus referred to as “born eunuchs,” those who occupied a space outside of the gender binary. Many of those individuals were what we would understand today to be transgender. The SBC today has condemned that which Jesus specifically mentioned approvingly. Not only that, the very first Gentile convert was the Ethiopian eunuch, and while scripture does not distinguish what category he fell into, it cannot be overemphasized that scripture makes it clear that this person, who existed outside the gender binary that the SBC has chosen to so rigidly enforce, was blessed by God to be the first Gentile ushered into the kingdom. While I will acknowledge that the gay thing is open to theological debate, the trans issue is quite clear when you have a basic knowledge of the historical context. The SBC has put their own bigotry ahead of the very words of Christ himself. I weep for our trans brothers and sisters who have been rejected today. 

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Has Tim Keller’s theology always been this terrible?

Have I not been paying enough attention to Tim Keller or is this kind of judgmental neo-Calvinism a new thing for him? In what I’ve read from him, I’ve never agreed with him fully (I think he has a tendency to be sloppy and to take leaps not supported by the text or the historical context), but this isn’t sloppy exegesis or logical leaps. It’s a theology of suffering that equates emotional pain with idolatry. Ignoring the extraordinarily judgmental nature of this post towards those who suffer from anxiety and depression, Keller has created a world where feeling too deeply is idolatry. Emotions are only okay if they are not felt too strongly. Don’t feel too much, don’t hurt too much, don’t weep too much, if you’re a godly Christian you’ll get your emotions under control.  No.  This is beyond wrong. Job expressed deep anguish at his losses. Jesus wept with Martha and empathized with her anguish over the death of Lazarus. The Old Testament is filled with examples of godly men and women feeling deep anger, discouragement, and pain because of what they have experienced. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Many of the Psalms are David pouring out his innermost anxieties, anger, and discouragement, his utter devastation over the trials, the pain, the loss he lived through. We are created to feel, and to feel deeply. It’s part of what makes us human. Tim Keller is not asking us to avoid idolatry, he’s asking us to erase our humanity.

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John MacArthur to parents: Shun your gay kids

Well, not all your gay children, just the ones who are adults (I think, he wasn’t really clear on the adult bit) and who are Christians. If your kid isn’t a Christian, you’re supposed to consider them a heathen and treat them accordingly, and go all out trying to convert them. If your kid is a Christian and comes out to you though, you’re supposed to Matthew 18 them, going so far as dragging them before the church and excommunicating them. And then you’re supposed to cut off contact, don’t eat meals with them, shun them back into the kingdom.  Oh, and he doesn’t actually define “adult,” so presumably this could mean kicking out your kid who’s 18, still in high school and living at home, relying on you for support. Not to mention that even though in the video he seems to be talking about adult children, the title of the video is, “How to Respond to a Homosexual Child,” as is the title of the post on his website. How many parents are going to watch this video and end up kicking their child out? Half of all homeless youth in this country are LGBT, in large part due to parental rejection. How many more kids will end up homeless because of John MacArthur?  Parental rejection, this Matthew 18-style shunning that MacArthur considers Biblical, is a significant contributing risk factor for suicides by LGBT people. How many people are going to end up being “loved” right into an early grave by parents following MacArthur’s advice? At best, John MacArthur’s advice will destroy the relationships between parents and children and do immeasurable harm to the person who is shunned. Doing that to your own child isn’t love, it’s the ultimate in cruelty. And for what? A handful of Bible verses that[…]

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One final thing about the World Vision fiasco

I wasn’t going to say anything else about the World Vision thing. I don’t have any more energy. I’m tired of feeling. I’m tired of the hurt, the anger, I’m tired of caring.  There’s one more thing I have to say. I’m troubled with how some of the people who are critical of World Vision’s reversal are dehumanizing the poor. Well, dehumanizing the poor and dehumanizing gay people, to be precise. It’s as if the poor should be content with second best. They’re starving after all, why not send some gay people to help them? The religious right is being terrible because they won’t even let the homos help people who are starving.  It’s the human equivalent of sending the poor your raggedy t-shirts that you would have cut into rags to wash your car. Not even sending them the nice new t-shirts from the losing Super Bowl team, sending them your worst and expecting them to be content with rags, because after all, they’re poor, they should be happy with any scrap they get. The poor shouldn’t have to be content with second best. Gay people aren’t second best. People who are poor deserve to have the people with the best skills and talents working with them in their communities to help empower them. To give them the tools they need to empower themselves to make change. Not some scraps because if they’re starving they should be happy with anything. Some of those people who have the skills and talents to empower people to escape poverty are gay. They aren’t the second best scraps to send to people who should be content with whatever we give them. They’re the ones who are best equipped with the tools to help people overcome the structural barriers that are holding them back.   We[…]

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Think of the children?

UPDATE: As of this afternoon, World Vision caved to their critics. I don’t blame them, I blame the people who forced them into the position where they had to choose between their projects continuing and keeping their policy change. What happened is shameful and tarnishes the name of Christ. I can’t emphasize just how unbelievably saddened I am about this turn of events and how the evangelical world demonstrated their willingness to use children, poor children, as leverage. It’s a dark day. My point below still stands. 31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the[…]

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Vulnerability

I like to pretend that things don’t bother me, that I’m tough and sarcastic and let things roll off my back, but that’s not really true. I’m not sure how I didn’t know this already, but I discovered tonight that the inaptly named Alliance Defending Freedom helped draft Arizona’s bill, that, unless it is vetoed, will legalize discrimination against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom. There’s nothing in their arguments for the bill that I haven’t heard before. Heck, I heard ADF attorney (and once upon a time HSLDA staff attorney and former faculty member at Bill Gothard’s fake law school) Jordan Lorence make those same arguments when the Federalist Society brought him to speak at UF. In a staggering display of bad theology, in their minds discrimination is what god would want and so when they fight to usher in Jim Crow 2.0, they’re really standing up for religious freedom. I can’t even capitalize the word “god” in that because the god they worship may be a lot of things, but it’s not the one, true God. It’s a twisted perversion of the Gospel that gives a middle finger to everything Christ said and did while He was on this earth. That’s not why I’m sitting here wanting to cry though. On their own, hateful organizations doing hateful things make me angry; I don’t get emotional over the shenanigans at Family Research Council or NOM, I get mad. Alliance Defending Freedom is different. See, they’ve got this program called the “Blackstone Legal Fellowship” designed to train the next generation of lawyers. It’s a program that more than a few of my friends have done or will be doing. I’m probably a coward, for everything I’ve said and done elsewhere, I haven’t ever brought it up. I don’t[…]

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Link Roundup: What others are saying about the continuing saga of my alumni update

I would be lying if I said that the continuing saga of my censored Covenant College alumni update hasn’t been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I try to pretend that things don’t bother me, but the truth is that from getting my copy of the View and finding my update censored, to the communications I’ve had with Covenant, to the stress of wondering what kind of reaction I’d get to going public, it’s been a long month or so.  Thus far, Covenant has been silent in response to my post, I suspect that it’s going to remain that way. Covenant isn’t Michael Farris and Patrick Henry College, with their unique talent of responding the exact wrong way, they’re far more skilled at PR than that. Other people have picked up the story though. My friend Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism mentioned the censorship in her post It Matters Too Much Not to Speak, about the importance of speaking up against homophobic comments, though since at that time I was still holding out hope that Covenant would reconsider, it’s mentioned under a pseudonym. When I decided that I needed to go public, she volunteered to repost it at at LJF, which I greatly appreciate. My original post is also reposted at Believe Out Loud. Many thanks to them for that. What’s more than a little bit surreal and mind blowing to me is that the story got picked up by major gay blog Towleroad. It was kind of crazy to wake up and check my site stats and see that I was getting a bunch of hits from there.  And, last but definitely not least, fellow one-time PCA kid Evan Hurst covered the story for Truth Wins Out. Hurst gets it like only someone who grew up in the PCA could. And, in what is entirely coincidental,[…]

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On belief

It was a confidence that got you byWhen you know you believed it, but you didn’t know whyNo one imagines it will come to thisBut it gets so hard when people don’t want to listen Shivering with doubts that you left unattendedSo you toss away the cloak that you should have mendedDon’t you know by now why the chosen are few?It’s harder to believe than not to –Steve Taylor, “Harder to Believe Than Not To” I’ve written before about how I believe even though sometimes it seems that it would be easier to just toss out my faith and stop caring. Faith is hard. The very idea that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen speaks to the intangible at the heart of the discussion.  Belief is hard, there’s always going to be doubts and questions, and anyone who says that they do not doubt is lying. All of the apologetics books in the world aren’t going to erase doubt because faith is about more than logic. You can’t logic your way into making yourself or anyone else believe in God, the supernatural, the divine, or anything outside of themselves and the physical world. That’s why when Tony Jones attempted to explain why he’s still a Christian despite his doubts, he failed miserably. Aside from the fact that arguing that God must exist because 7 billion people can’t be wrong does nothing to prove that the supernatural entity is the God of the Bible, it doesn’t actually prove anything. It’s like arguing that McDonald’s must be good because billions of people eat it. Hemant Mehta is right, it may possibly be the worst argument anyone has made for belief in God.  Humanity has been wrong about a lot of things. Wildly wrong. So[…]

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Covenant College censored my alumni update

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8, KJV When I was asked at the start of last spring semester whether I would be interested in assisting on research for an amicus brief in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court later that spring, I jumped at the chance. Not only is it something that I’m personally and professionally proud of, as having the opportunity to play even a miniscule role in a major case is something that most people don’t get, it was something that I believe as a Christian was the right thing to do. Do justice. Love mercy. The brief I worked on dealt with the way that the laws negatively affect children raised by LGBT parents, and how those laws negatively affect LGBT youth, their sense of self and their ability to imagine a future for themselves. More specifically, I worked on a team with several other law students to coauthor a survey to capture the voices of LGBT youth and young adults, and our paper is cited in the amicus brief. The responses that poured in were heartbreaking. Kids sharing their stories of growing up and realizing they were different, and the fear and worry about whether their future relationships would be treated as legitimate by the government, feeling that they were lesser because of the law. Yet, in all that, hope that someday things might change. Kids daring to dream that there might be a future where they could build a life for themselves as equal citizens. I worked to provide justice for those kids. As you can see, my work on[…]

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