December 14, 2015

Advent Religion: Bonus Link

You remember I said some Bible stories were entertainingly silly? Balaam and the talking donkey.

December 13, 2015

Advent Religion: That Reminds Me Of Jesus

There is a particular style of preaching – this one isn’t confined to evangelicals, I’ve definitely seen it done by Anglicans – which involves taking anything you can think of and somehow making it about God. You can make the analogy as strained as you...

December 12, 2015

Advent Religion: Smells and Bells

You’ve probably picked up on the way not every Christian counted as Christian. Shall we pull on some of those threads? It would be too simplistic to say that anyone outside our denomination was Doing It Wrong. That wasn’t true at all. There were a...

December 11, 2015

Advent Religion: The Drugs Don’t Work

As a teenager growing up in a strict Evangelical church and household, I didn’t listen to much music. I wasn’t really allowed to. It wasn’t a rule, as such, but I knew the music of the world wasn’t meant for me. It was something between...

December 10, 2015

Advent Religion: Morality Resides in the Genitals

This is where it gets heavy. Sex is not the whole of morality as taught in my churches of origin. Nor is it the whole of morality as practised by those churches. It was however a particularly fraught and restrictive topic. As a teenager, the...

December 9, 2015

Advent Religion: Heroes and Villains

There are lots of good stories in the Bible. There’s the cute bits, like Noah’s Ark, and the thrilling bits, like Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and the entertainingly silly bits like Zacchaeus climbing the tree. We liked to tell the stories, preach about them,...

December 8, 2015

Advent Religion: Literalism

Here particularly let me reiterate: I am speaking of my experiences in a couple of specific churches. I am confident they represent a real strand of Evangelical thought and practice in this country at this time. They do not represent any kind of authority on...

December 7, 2015

Advent Religion: Leadership

The surest way to be “in leadership” in those churches was to be a white middle-aged man with a wife and at least one child, preferably two or three, none of whom were in trouble. That qualified you to be a deacon, which was roughly...

December 6, 2015

Advent Religion: The Bible Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It

Someone asked about proof texting, so let’s talk about the Bible for a bit. A proof text is a snippet, usually a verse or two, sometimes even part of a verse, that is used as evidence for a point of doctrine. When you have a...

December 5, 2015

Advent Religion: Love Feast

Even in the churches who fall down on applying it – like the ones I grew up in – the talk about church meaning people is not empty. It is sincerely meant. We really did believe that the place was not sacred, and the forms...