Weekend Reading: 9/29

blog-writing

by John Ellis

Below are links to some articles and blog posts that I found interesting and/or edifying over this past week. Hopefully, you’ll find one or two that you find interesting and/or edifying, too.

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The End of White Christian America Is a Good Thing

americanflagand3crossby John Ellis

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. Psalm 12:1-2

This past Sunday, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington hosted a lecture by Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Institute and the author of The End of White Christian America. Dr. Jones’ lecture was an informative statistical look at the shifting demographics in America as well as his diagnosis of what propelled President-elect Donald Trump to victory in the face of those shifting demographics. The Q/A session following the lecture was a mix of handwringing from the aging, mostly-white, liberal crowd balanced by Dr. Jones’ dry (in a good way) massaging of the frantic questions back to salient talking points.

I attended the lecture at the behest of my senior pastor. As it began, I contemplated a variety of angles I could take in order to write an article for PJ Media. But, as Dr. Robert Jones spoke, it became clear that what I wanted to say wouldn’t resonate well with the majority of my readers at PJ Media. Entering the lecture, my view of evangelicals in America was already dim; leaving the lecture, those thoughts had begun to collate into a cogent idea. An idea that probably won’t find favor with those who voted to make America great again.

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Why I Am Vocally #NeverTrump


never-trump

by John Ellis

Late summer of 2015, I asked some political insider friends if I should be concerned about Donald Trump. They replied, “no.” As we now know, they were wrong[1]. Since then, obliterating any semblance of decency and decorum in politics, Donald Trump has ridden the wave of alt-right anger to become the GOP nominee[2].

During that time, I have written seventeen #NeverTrump articles, including this one. My first #NeverTrump article was published on January 23. Over these last ten months, I have been encouraged by some, implored to write even more #NeverTrump articles by a few, and applauded by friends and strangers alike. On the flipside, I have also been roundly booed, called a traitor (and worse), and received death threats. Many, on both sides of the debate, have wondered why I am so vocally #NeverTrump. Friends (and strangers) have scolded me for being so vocal. Often, the scolding will take the form of something like, “We get it, John. You don’t like Trump, but you’re not helping anyone by constantly writing about it.”

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Progressive Proof-texting: Rich People and the Eye of a Needle

eye-of-the-needle

by John Ellis

The charge of proof-texting is one of the sharpest pejoratives inside Progressive Christianity’s rhetorical toolbox. It’s often used to support the accusation of legalism. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not denying that Progressive Christians have a point; conservative Evangelicals are not immune from the temptation to pull a passage of Scripture out of context in order to support a specific pet issue.

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Support the Devil, Vote for Trump!

donald-trump-president-2016-make-america-great-againby John Ellis

Jerry Garcia once opined that, “choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” While there is much truth in his statement, it has rightfully earned the pejorative of platitude because it’s incredibly difficult to actually apply. I mean, saying it is easy; doing it, not so much.

For one thing, and specifically from a human standpoint, what constitutes “evil” is often a moving target. For example, disagreeing with Obamacare doesn’t require tagging the health care plan as evil. Likewise, being committed to free market theories does not mean that the individual hates poor people. But, since the 2016 Presidential Election is barreling straight towards a Donald Trump shaped sink-hole, I’m scared that many in our country have skipped the quandary articulated by Garcia and have, instead, decided to willfully dive head-first into a black hole of obvious and actual evil.

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Torres: Running from Faith

torres-sprinter-1500x1500

by John Ellis

The most annoying thing about my mom was her refusal to argue with me. Whenever I would point out all the devastating effects that would resort from the physics-defying stopping of the sun in Joshua 10:12-13[1] or attempt to discuss the apparent contradictions in the Bible[2], my mom would gently reply, “John, I’m not going to argue with you. I just want you to know that I love you, God loves you, and I’m praying for you.”

Her gentle kindness and love smoldered within me for years. God eventually used my mom’s grace as a means to reveal Himself to me; but, in the interim, I spent years running, chasing, and hiding. Never quite sure what I wanted, I believed that I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want what my mom had – faithful submission to God. That belief propelled my journey, and ultimately consumed me. Thankfully, that swirling reactionary period of my life did strip-mine an artist’s voice out of me. Similarly, Mackenzie Scott’s (Torres’) rejection of the faith of her parents and her childhood helped produce one of 2015’s best albums, Sprinter.

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A Theology of Art

creation

by John Ellis

Within the Church, artists often feel like islands unto themselves, particularly among many conservative Evangelical churches. Which is unfortunate, especially considering that the first time God introduces Himself in the Bible it’s as an artist[1]. It’s also unfortunate because it means that brothers and sisters in Christ are then tempted to find community elsewhere. And considering that many in the broader artistic community are antagonistic towards the Christian faith, Christian artists run the risk of feeling like they have to choose between their church and their art.

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