Maybe God doesn’t expect people of faith to agree on everything. Maybe God wants us to feel cross-pressured, uncertain and confused. If we are to grow in love we must listen to people who see through other windows because they live in other rooms.
How can post-evangelical Christians talk about a loving God when the God described in many biblical texts appears to be otherwise? We must explain why, evaluated by the standards of Jesus, God comes off so badly in much of the Bible.
We want our children to come of age hearing the same message of civil religion in church, at their “Christian school” and on Fox News. For those who live in this kind of environment, reparations talk sounds like heresy.
In the Southern Baptist Convention no one has the power to tell local Baptist congregations who they can and cannot ordain to ministry. When abuse comes to light, the church sends the offending pastor on his way with a glowing letter of recommendation because congregational morale would suffer if the truth came out.
Jerry Falwell Jr. is fine with Jesus setting up his Sermon on the Mount kingdom when he returns on the clouds of glory. In the meantime, however, Jerry Jr. has a different kind of savior in mind. Somebody big, mean, nasty and profane, the kind of guy the baddies can’t push around. Donald Trump looks like that man.
The coming generation will have no morality apart from a stout belief in God. Progressive Christians can’t afford to trash the Apostles’ Creed unless we’ve come up with a fitting substitute.
If I thought Nazi-era Germany was an aberration I could probably move on; but in Donald Trump’s America, who can think that? The Church of Jesus Christ is confronted by an anti-Gospel once again. The German Church never acknowledged her complicity with the National Socialists, and the white churches of America are equally resistant to truth.
John McCain was no saint, but he pointed us to the better angels of our nature and many of us loved him for it. He treated enemies like friends. And in a messy and divided world like ours, that may be as good as it gets.
Southern Baptists’ carrot-and-stick evangelistic strategy was perfectly suited to a denomination that was born defending slavery, that came of age in a season of Jim Crow segregation, and that had spent the previous 20 years dismissing the civil rights movement as a communist plot. If the Southern Baptist hell was real, evangelism must be the first and only mission of the church.