— Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 —
Don’t call it a pullback; we’ve been here for years.
The recent profile in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a generational change in terms of the way evangelicals approach cultural and political engagement: toward a gospel-centered approach that doesn’t back down on issues of importance, but sees our ultimate mission as one that applies the blood of Christ to the questions of the day.
The headline, as is often the case with headlines, is awfully misleading. I am not calling, at all, for a “pullback” from politics or engagement.
If anything, I’m calling for more engagement in the worlds of politics, culture, art, labor and so on. It’s just that this is a different sort of engagement. It’s not a matter of pullback, but of priority. Keep Reading…
— Thursday, October 10th, 2013 —
Hip-hop artist Flame, a Dove, Stellar, Grammy nominee, and graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate Boyce College, recently released his seventh album, “Royal Flush.” Flame joined Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, to discuss the opportunity Christian hip-hop artists have to be salt and light in the music industry, and how hip-hop can be an avenue for gospel witness.
— Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 —
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and one of the most influential voices in American conservatism, recently wrote an article in The American Spectator critiquing conservatives for having lost their perspective on the issue of immigration. Here, Norquist joins Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, for a wide-ranging discussion on immigration based on Norquist’s recent article, including the need for reform, moving beyond the political impasse, and the dignity of all persons made in the image of God.
— Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 —
In an interview with La Repubblica, in response to a question about whether there is a “single vision of good,” the Pope said, “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place,” and “The Son of God became incarnate in the souls of men to instill the feeling of brotherhood.” When the reporter commented, “Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me,” the Pope also said “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.” Keep Reading…
— Thursday, September 26th, 2013 —
It’s a little book by a dead man from the last generation, and it just might be the road-map for the future of American Christianity. I’m referring to the late theologian Carl F. H. Henry’s 1947 book “The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism.” This slim little paperback’s importance might not seem obvious in a digital whirling world of contemporary Christians, but the issues Henry raised over sixty years ago are more relevant than ever. Keep Reading…
— Thursday, September 19th, 2013 —
The Inaugural Address of Russell D. Moore as President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
September 10, 2013
As I look out in the room I see this cloud of witnesses, people who have meant so much in my life, every stage in my life, and I give thanks for every one of you and what you mean to me.
The Word of God says this:
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Keep Reading…
— Thursday, September 12th, 2013 —
This morning’s Wall Street Journal reports what, at first glance, Christians would receive as good news. We don’t see an increasing number of couples opting to live together before marriage.
“The decades long climb in the share of American couples living together outside of marriage has come to a halt,” the Journal reports, citing a study of census data by a sociologist at Ohio State University.
In a time of cultural indicators away from marriage and family stability, this seems like a welcome trend toward so-called “traditional values.” Eh, not so much.
The WSJ article by Neil Shah reports that the stall in cohabitation rates might not be because Americans are seeing the importance of marriage and chastity. Instead, the article suggests, the problem might be with the “leave” part of the Genesis mandate to “leave” father and mother and to “cleave” to one another. Keep Reading…
— Friday, August 30th, 2013 —
What do you mean when you say the word “we”? Who are you primarily talking about? Your team? Your generation? Your political affiliation? A friend of mine asked that question not long ago, and listening to a Johnny Cash song I was reminded of the question once more.
This song, “The One on the Right Is on the Left,” is a playful song that tells the story of a folk group that falls apart because of “political incompatibilty.” But it points, I think, to a larger issue—the way many of us find our identity not in Christ but in our political affiliation.
Listen with me, then, as we think about this song, and how the gospel calls us to engage the culture, but to view issues with a prophetic distance, as “we,” the body of Christ, find our identity, not in a party platform, but rather, an empty tomb.
— Monday, August 26th, 2013 —
This week the nation marks fifty years since the 1963 March on Washington. The most famous moment of that historic event is, of course, the speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., now one of the most iconic speeches in American history. The refrain of that speech is one that is so embedded in the American memory that most people know the speech simply as the “I have a dream” speech. There are some things about that speech that I think could inform Christian preaching today.
The primary lesson we need to learn from this speech is the way it spoke to the conscience. Part of the gravity of this speech came from its location, before the monument to the Great Emancipator. Part of the gravity came from the surroundings, a mighty throng of men and women and children gathered in the nation’s capital to ask for the cashing of that metaphorical “check” of equality guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence. But a great deal of the power behind this speech came from the way that King was pressing a claim onto consciences. Keep Reading…
— Friday, August 23rd, 2013 —
Hillary Clinton famously said, in the midst of questions about her husband’s fidelity, “I’m not some Tammy Wynette, standin’ by my man.” Wynette was offended, prompting an apology from the future Secretary of State to the Queen of Country Music.
Clinton, of course, meant no insult to Wynette. Her point was that, whatever the problems in their marriage, her relationship was about love and commitment, not about a doormat wife who doesn’t know when to leave. It’s clear now that Hillary Clinton is no doormat. But the same isn’t so clear in others of the public scandals we’ve seen flashed across our television and digital notebook screens. Keep Reading…