Commentary General

Evangelicals could learn a few lessons from Paul

patrobertsonfranklingrahamI’m beginning to wonder how long we’ll ever go in this country without an evangelical leader making some controversial remark or getting in trouble for something controversial they said in the past.

A few months ago, it was Pat Robertson (far right) and his explanation of what caused the earthquake in Haiti, and more recently, Billy Graham’s son, Franklin (near right), was in the news for having his invitation to speak at the Pentagon prayer service rescinded because of some comments he made about Islam. While I understand the thinking and the zeal that justify their rhetoric, I must say that there are far better ways to address the world, and you would find them nowhere else than in the scriptures.

Reflections on the "Alien"

AlienLast week I watched the new release Thor (2011), and this morning I awoke reflecting upon the “alien.” Over the years I have grown more and more frustrated with how, as a culture, we represent our engagement with “aliens.” And, now, I will finally put my ideas on electronic paper and submit them to the feedback of the generous and keen readers of Liberal Evangelical.

A Christian Patriot

Commentary logoWhat does it mean to be a Christian in America? These last few weeks, with presidential campaigns in full gear, this has become an unavoidable question.

This important ethical question is too often reduced to caricatures: withdrawal from politics on one side and assumption that the church is the fourth branch of government on the other. In my own life, neither of these positions captures where I am. I love Jesus; as an old spiritual goes, “You may have all this world, give me Jesus.” But I’m also proud of America; or more specifically, I am proud of the founding ideals of our nation and the vision of freedom that we lift up. For lack of a better word, I am a Christian patriot. And it is a phrase that I need to explain, if only for myself.

COMING OUT – Liberal and Evangelical

commentary logoFeeling Different

In seminary, I knew I was different, but I didn’t have a name for what I was. I was the product of an unusual union of Christian traditions, and this left me feeling out of place. My early faith formation took place in small evangelical house churches where being born-again, faith healing, speaking in tongues, and the daily battle with the devil over my soul were paramount to the Christian life. At this same time, I was an active member of the First Congregational Church in Fairport, New York. This was a very proper church in the center of town that was concerned about the poor, prided itself on its youth and church school programs, and was always wary that the slate roof might spring a leak and cost a small fortune to repair.

When Narrative Identities Clash: Liberals versus Evangelicals

commentary logoCulture Wars, Seminary Styles, Congregational Politics

If there is one thing North American Christians at the beginning of the twenty-first century think they understand, it is the divide between liberal and evangelical in the church. Polarized ecclesiastical publications tell their stories from the left or from the right, constructing competing denominational identities that clash in the consciousness of members. If a denomination has only one important publication, it avoids the issue with quaint desperation, trying to keep everyone happy. Mainstream media relentlessly draw our attention to “religious culture wars” and lavish attention on high profile court cases on controversial moral issues.