Grade Giver, Grade Thyself

Actually don’t. The optics are off, but end-of-year blogging brings out the worst of the medium:

There is always both wheat and chaff in hurried weekly commentaries. A look back on the past year of my RNS writings reveals plenty of both.

I was right, I think, in my claim that progressive and conservative evangelicals are heading for divorce, though it will never be an entirely clean or complete one.

I was right that America’s national character is eroding — that one sign of that erosion is the nature of our politics and another is the nature of our social media.

My improved peace of mind and retention of good relations with friends and family suggest I was right to abandon Facebook last summer.

I was right that clergy entanglement with American politics is an abiding temptation that regularly makes clergy useful idiots to politicians.

I was right that the (mainly white) Christian right’s embrace of Donald Trump was deeply discrediting to the Christianity that group purports to represent. At least, I believe I was right.

I also think I was right in my regular critiques of the campaign rhetoric and policy proposals of Mr. Trump. Now we all hold our breath to see what kind of president he will actually be.

I was right that differences about ideology, politics, and faith continually tear at the fabric of our society, our churches, and our friendships.

I was right that middle ground on the LGBT issue is eroding.

I was right that the resolution of the Wheaton College/Larycia Hawkins case and her forced departure deeply wounded the cause of Christian higher education, not to mention Professor Hawkins and Wheaton.

It goes on.

Why don’t the smartest people in society not see the problem of self-evaluations? Have they never watched a Coen brother’s movie?

7 thoughts on “Grade Giver, Grade Thyself

  1. Gushee’s problem is deeper than self-examination. From the column: “I was trained in a version of Christian ethics that demanded regular commentary on the day’s news. Hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, I was told. Speak what might qualify as a word from God into the maelstrom of the passing scene.”


  2. Dan, that’s why you don’t need a college degree to be outraged. Read the Bible and react. When fundies do it, it’s bad.

    Funny how those Christian Ethics support John Frame’s case for biblicism.


  3. RE: Frame, that is more reformed inside baseball than I care to be bothered with.
    But Gushee and Russell Moore must have shared the same textbook, though I imagine (have not looked it up) they got their training at different places.


  4. Dan, provocative comparison. I had thought Gushee had a Disciples of Christ background, but I see he graduated from SBTS. In 1987 though, before Mohler arrived. Is Moore indicative of post-Mohler?

    Re: Frame – feel my pain.


  5. DGH, the “Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other” is the default approach to Christian ethics in Baptist circles. Has been for as long as I know, whether “moderates” or conservatives ran the seminaries. Of course, this approach can be used to support either left or right wing public policy. Some scholar somewhere has written a book or two (at least) making the same point about American Evangelicalism in general.


  6. Gueshee–“Now that Donald Trump has been elected, it is the liberal schools that are worried about possible threats to their very survival based on the overweening power of the federal government.”

    So … the overweening power of the federal government has only become terrifying because Trump won? Or has it only become the overweening power of the federal government because the wrong team has access to that power now?


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