Reads of the Week
1) Bad Theology Can Kill You by Zack Hunt
"You may have heard the tragic news over the weekend that Pastor Jamie Coots, a snake handling pastor who starred in the reality show Snake Salvation, died after he being bitten by a snake while handling it during a recent church service. The story quickly spread in large part because of our fascination with the odd and the taboo…and you don’t get much more odd or taboo in the church world than handling snakes. And if my Facebook and Twitter feeds are any indication, the story was also an opportunity for the rest of us to show how superior and sophisticated our theology is by mocking Pastor Coots and his kind across all social media channels for the inevitable result of their redneck ignorance."
2) Sermon on Jesus Rolling His Eyes (and also divorce) by Nadia Bolz-Weber
"I thought, how the hell is it that the church can manage to take a text meant to protect people and make sure violence is not done to them, and then use this same text to do violence to so many for so long? I don’t know what to say. I just know that it is real. And if Jesus rolled his eyes when having to re-orient his disciple’s understandings of things, I can only imagine his reaction to what has been done with his teachings about protecting people."
3) The Cost by Rachel Held Evans
"It’s painful to see your beliefs mocked in the media and satirized on TV. There’s a cost to sticking with your values when they strike others as old-fashioned or strange. It hurts like hell to be the butt of jokes at your office or called a "bigot" or "extremist" on your college campus when nothing could be further from the truth. It takes guts to raise your hand and challenge the professor in a secular classroom or walk away from a compromising situation when it may mean damaging relationships that have been hard-won. And it's got to sting to be called a fundamentalist by other Christians (like me) when you're just trying to do the right thing and do it in love. It must hurt to be subjected to the rolled eyes and the know-it-all attitude we progressive-types can conjure as well as anybody."
4) This is what actual ‘religious liberty’ looks like by Fred Clark
"In doing so, Wright Allen also shredded the warped notion of “religious liberty” as a defense of religious privilege now being advanced by pseudo-intellectual Christianist chauvinists. Those chauvinists — from the billionaires of Hobby Lobby, to the U.S. Catholic bishops, to the Manhattan declarers — have been trying to redefine “religious liberty” to mean a “monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments” for their particular strain of religion. It’s not enough, they say, for us to be free to marry as we like — if we are not also free to prohibit others from marrying as they like, then we are not free. It is not enough, they say, for us to be free to reject the use of contraception — if we are not also free to prohibit others from using contraception, then we are not free."
5) What Jesus Said to the Transgendered Woman by John Stonecypher
"Back to Facebook Jesus… One of his awesome-est followers was a transgender woman who never failed to come to Jesus’ aide when the Pharisees came trolling. Her sexuality just hadn’t been a topic of discussion yet. But I knew it was coming. I tried to prepare myself to have an answer when the question came. Something theologically nuanced and artfully worded; I’m pretty good at that…"
On Preferential Options by Maria Gwyn McDowell
Inhabiting Fear by Jen Luitweiler
For the Moms with Wild Ones by Flower Patch Farmgirl
Tweets of the Week
"*IRS auditor pushes glasses up, straightens papers*
'Mr. Jay-Z, I hate to bother you, but I ran the numbers & came up with 107 problems.'" - @earfdae
"When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop." - @robfee
"Dear Huffington Post, that was no where near the best goat video I've watched today. Signed, Disappointed Goat Video Watcher" - @_lxnx
On Pop Theology Week in Review
Come As You Are by Ben Howard
"It’s meant to be inviting. And I’m sure it’s well-intentioned. For all their sins, churches are certainly well-intentioned when they invite strangers to come and join them."
Bad Music Theology: "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry (feat. Juicy J) by Ben Howard
"Every so often I come across a pop song so catchy that I can't stop listening to it, but with lyrics so terrible that I hate myself every time I press play. Such is the case with "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry and Juicy J."
On Being Too Serious (Or, Why True Detective Sucks) by Charity Erickson
"I’ll get right down to disagreeing with the general critical community at large: True Detective—which debuted on HBO in January—sucks."
On Pop Theology Podcast: Episode 50 - The Winter Olympics by Ben Howard and Sebastian Faust
"Sebastian and Ben settle in for a discussion about the Winter Olympics in Sochi."
Song of the Week
"When I Write My Master's Thesis" by John K. Samson
Grace and Peace,
Ben and Sebastian
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