Meaningless Priorities

Selective Political Piety

Priorities Reconsidered

At first glance, Mr. Cruz has things in order. At first glance, you’d think that these priorities are well-ordered and meaningful. But are they? Can Mr. Cruz’ priorities stand up under questioning?

Suppose a Christian becomes persuaded by the case for restorative justice. And she embraces true neutrality toward international relations. Say she is a Mennonite and refuses military service. Now she refuses to vote as do Brethern and some Presbyterians. Nor does she do jury duty. Do we still accept her as a true, Bible-believing sister in Christ?

Say a man believes that loving our enemies means receiving them into our communities. He believes that earth’s resources are for the people of the world, that God never meant for private ownership to translate into political power, and that socialism more than capitalism satisfies God’s intent for society. Are we still to accept her/his Christian confession?

What Minimum Requirement

Our friend is no ‘conservative,’ but can she be a true believer in Christ? Or must his politics be jettisoned to be a good, Bible believer? Can a good Republican hold such positions? Can a Christian be a socialist and a good American? If not, what minimal policy combination does God require? Where is the cut-off? Exactly what Biblical texts mandate this?

In Mr. Cruz’ world, Bible obedience means political conservatism and is required to be a good Republican. If you’re not a good Bible-believing, conservative Republican, how could you ever be a true, American patriot?

Christian, conservative, Republican, American: do they really differ, OR are they equivalent terms which reflect on the same thing from different perspectives? Can Mr. Cruz distinguish these points? More to the point…

If he did, where would his crowd be?

Recognizing Randy Beckum

Randy and Lorie Beckum

Recognizing Randy Beckum

I don’t preach everything I believe…but I also don’t preach things that I don’t believe.

With this, Dr. Randy Beckum began a controversial chapel message that some suspected cost him his vice presidency at Mid-America Nazarene.

Randy Beckum approached political heresy by saying that…

“We have to be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity.”

Moreover, he had the unholy audacity to say…

“… our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation … Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.”

And he committed ultimate, political blasphemy saying:

Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.

Beckum’s message quotes Mt 5:38-48, Lu 9:51-56; 22:47-51, Jo 18:10-11, 1 Pe 3:9, Ro 12:14-21 and Lu 23:34. I’ve not checked, but someone claims this message is 60% Scripture and 40% Dr. Beckum’s observations. The problem? Dr. Beckum set Scripture directly atop some heart allegiances. That is to say, he did what responsible expositors are supposed to do.

Crucial as its preachers are, Fundamentalism cannot exist without broad support. I have encouraged people to stand up to abuses perpetrated by pastors on IFB congregations. Yet at MAN, community reaction worked against a man with whose vision I am very much in sympathy.

Things could have been handled better. Dr. Beckum should have informed the administration of his intention to address this in his homily. But then, that may have led to attempts to dissuade him from acting on his conscience. Either way, his ability to act as VP of Community Formation likely was compromised by alienating part of the community with which he was working. The administration had no easy fix.

As former fundie Benjamin Corey saw it, Mr. Beckum’s problem was that instead of railing against contemporary music or dress codes, he dealt a stinging slap to the behind of a most sacred American Christianity cow. Dr. B. Corey wrote:

‘Dr. Beckum has now learned, you cannot talk about what Jesus taught regarding enemy love [emphasis his]. That is off-limits and heresy.’

Randy observed that ‘the earliest Christian creed was very politically incorrect and dangerous; Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not…’ It still is.

Friday Challenge: Crazy Quotes!


Friday Crazy-Quotes Challenge!

Remember when Pat Robertson issued a fatwa on Hugo Chavez’ head?

While he has come up with some beauts, Mr. Robertson is hardly the only guy out there given to make such enlightened statements.

The challenge this Friday is to reach into the annals of history and recall some of the more ‘brilliant’ statements produced by fundamentalists across the years. For extra credit, offer your reaction to them…

This challenge needs to run several times over some months. After I collect 30+ or so fundie quotes, I will make a list and figure out a way to display a fundie quote of the day.


Recognizing Larycia Hawkins

Courage Self-Righteously RevilingLarycia Hawkins, Advent and Muslims

Perhaps it is a fault of modern times. Aeons ago, we had time to reflect when stuff happened. You finished your work and then wrote a letter. If you felt the same Friday, you took it to town to post it or to publish it.

Today when stuff happens [as stuff always does], social media is ready to broadcast our first thoughts on anything to the world. Of course, our first thoughts are often our stupidest. Reflection? Hell no — publish now!

Perhaps that’s why Franklin Graham Facebook page shows this screed deriding Wheaton’s political science professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins.

“Can you believe this Wheaton College professor who says she’s going to wear a hijab for the holidays this year to show solidarity with Islam? Shame on her! She said that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Well she is absolutely wrong—she obviously doesn’t know her Bible and she doesn’t know Islam…”

Others Disagree

Seventy-eight professors affirm Hawkins’ conformity to Wheaton’s doctrinal statement. And the Faculty Council unanimously requested that Hawkins be retained. Twenty Wheaton trained political scientists have also written the President and board of their alma mater an open letter pleading for political science professor Hawkins’ reinstatement.

‘We implore Wheaton College to find a way to allow Professor Hawkins to continue her service to the college and its students as a tenured professor…’

Who to Blame

Miroslav Volf is a leading theologian of our day. How is this relevant to the Hawkins case? In a NYT article, Volf wrote:

“Appealing in part to arguments in my book “Allah: A Christian Response,” Hawkins asserted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She did not insist that Christians and Muslims believe the same things about that
one God. She did not state that Islam and Christianity are the same religion under a different name, or even that Islam is equally as true as Christianity. She did not deny that God was incarnate in Christ. Neither did she contest
that the one God is the Holy Trinity.”

The NYT article was published Dec. 17, 2015: one day after Mr. Graham’s let-fly. This leads to the observation that had he only slept on his grand insight overnight, Mr. Graham might have read Volf’s sane and sober statement the next day and then prevent anyone from connecting his outburst to Volf’s reasoned and measured statement.

Oh yes, Volf also had this to say about the Hawkins case:

“Her suspension is not about theology and orthodoxy. It is about enmity toward Muslims.”

How this relates to Mr. Graham’s statement is left for others to decide.

Wheaton’s first, tenured African American female professor, Larycia Hawkins is now facing dismissal. A statement by her is found here.

Salaam — Peace — Shalom

Fundamentally a Gender-Caste System

Christian Fundamentalism, life in a gender-based caste system.

A Gender-Based, Caste-System

This post consists of excerpts from a heart-breaking yet hopeful account of a daughter of the Patriarchy movement. Gradually, she made her way out of the caste-like rearing she experienced because of her gender.

“Before my life as a wife and mother, I was a stay-at-home daughter. As part of the Quiverfull / Patriarchy movement, my parents believed that my place as a female was to be a keeper-at-home, a “helpmeet” for my husband, and a homeschooling mother to many children. To best prepare me for this God-ordained role, I started helping out at home from an early age…”

“God wanted us to dare to live differently. His plan for women involved getting back to the family principles the home was founded on. Girls needed to be brought up knowing instinctively how to care for babies and keep house. They needed to be taught to be quiet, submissive, and modest and pure. The only way to do this, was to keep separate from the world. So my parent homeschooled and kept me from doing much of anything outside of our family circle…”

“Sometimes I wished that I had the chance to study more than just cooking, cleaning and sewing, and I did ask my parents if I could take some classes while living at home, but I was reminded that it would only be a waste of time and money to go to college when none of that education would apply in the home. A college atmosphere could take my focus off the Lord, and fill my head with thoughts of career and rebellion.”

“I wish that my parents could have seen my potential and honoured my dreams and goals enough to encourage me to develop them for myself. Instead they saw how I could serve them, and kept me from growing up as long as they could, setting my starting point far behind the average woman out there. I wish that I had been able to live my life in natural stages of childhood, adulthood, and motherhood. I have so much more peace in my current life as a stay at home mom now that I realize it’s not going to last forever like I was told it would.”

Read the full account here…

Why I Wish I Had Gone To College