#NeverTrump and President Trump

This will be the note I sign out on this year. I’ll be off the next seven weeks but we’ll continue to publish other authors during that time.

In the build-up to the 2016 election, American evangelicals were a pessimistic bunch. We racked up an impressive (and depressing) run of unfavorable court rulings and legal battles, featuring photographers, bakers, and florists. These defeats all ran parallel to our biggest cultural defeat, the Obergefell decision. In addition to this, we saw our standing in the Republican party fall sharply as the party nominated a candidate who by every traditional standard held by the religious right was an abysmal failure. (The fact that we supported him anyway will almost certainly teach the GOP that evangelical voters will go with them no matter what. This realization, of course, robs evangelicals of all their political capital that they might use to influence the GOP.)

Add to that the ever-growing number of “nones” that Pew and Gallup found in their religion surveys, the remarkably hostile response to the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this summer’s Supreme Court ruling against many state-level abortion regulations, and the alarming court case in Massachusetts that would result in the policing of religious speech from Christian ministers and, well, things looked grim. Continue reading

The Possibilities of Home

I. The Impeded Stream

According to a study from LinkedIn, people who graduated between 2006 and 2008 worked for nearly three companies on average in their first five years after graduation. Those who graduated between 2001 and 2005 worked for an average of four companies in their first ten years after graduating. This fact has led Fast Company, a popular business and career magazine, to advise their readers to plan on switching jobs every three years for the rest of their professional life.

This attitude toward work and career isn’t limited to work and career, however. Continue reading

Courage, St. Crispin’s Day, and the 2016 Election

It’s a fortunate quirk of our calendar that this year St Crispin’s Day, the day on which Henry V led the English to victory against the French in 1415 and made immortal in Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” fell two weeks before the presidential election, a day on which a sizable portion of our nation’s evangelicals will demonstrate precisely the sort of cowardice Henry’s words so beautifully condemn. Continue reading

A Note on Publishing at Mere O

Hey all, short update: I’m going to post three essays over the first three days of this week—the first will go live a few minutes after this post. After the last one goes live on Wednesday, I will be going silent on Mere O for the rest of the year.

We will still publish through December 31 and actually have some really fantastic work lined up, much of which will be edited and published by some generous friends of the site who have agreed to help edit and publish work while I am away. Continue reading

Our Impoverished Imaginations: The World of Jen Hatmaker

Last week Jen Hatmaker, a prominent evangelical author who most recently featured on the Belong Tour with several other notable evangelical women, gave an interview to RNS focused primarily around politics and the 2016 election. Amongst other things, they covered issues related to sexual ethics, same-sex relationships, and gay marriage. Continue reading

Categorizing the Benedict Options: A Reformation Day Reflection

Today marks the 499th anniversary of the day that would come to be seen as the spark that ignited a movement that purified the church in northern and western Europe and gave new energy to an already strong movement to return to the classical sources of Christian wisdom. I am referring, of course, to Reformation Day and to October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed (we think) his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

It’s a notable day in the church calendar and yet it is also one that arouses no small bit of controversy. The late medieval church had been marked by corruption, scandal, and abuse for several hundred years by the time Luther rose to prominence, but what Christians still to this day cannot agree on is what should have been done to deal with the decadence of the European church and particularly the hierarchy of the dominant ecclesial institution in Europe, the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholics, The Radicals, and the Magisterial Reformers

What is interesting is not simply that we are still having these debates today, but that the three sides involved in the debates have not even changed all that much. In this post I want to draw out the enduring relevance of the Reformation and the debates that marked the first 50 years after Luther’s emergence by identifying three separate movements within the western church. All three are variations on Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option as all three are, much like their 16th century variants, trying to wrestle with difficult, complex questions in the aftermath of widespread failure on the part of the church.

Continue reading

7 Theses on Evangelicalism After Donald Trump and 2016

In the aftermath of the many scandals of the past week and a half, which began with the Trump tapes, and the consequent loss of endorsements for Trump (and the increasingly appalling support for the man), now is a good time to take stock of where evangelicalism is as a social movement in America and what our post-Trump future will be.

Continue reading

Mere Fidelity: 1 Kings

Apologies for the late posting: Matt is traveling today so I’m publishing the podcast this week, except I’m also moving tomorrow and have two small children, and one in particular who excels at unpacking the things we just packed.

Anyway, here is this week’s episode of Mere Fidelity, which features the full cast and crew discussing the book of 1 Kings. This is going to be the first of a series of episodes on 1 and 2 Kings. Continue reading

Interview with Danielle Hitchen

After featuring Danielle Hitchen’s new project on Monday, I wanted to ask her a few more questions about the counting primer specifically and about more general work that she is doing with Catechesis Books. So in this brief interview, we’ll hear how Danielle (and artist Jessica Blanchard) chose the visuals for the book, selected text excerpts to feature on each page, and more. Remember, if you’re interested in Danielle’s project and want to support it, you can do so via their Kickstarter page.

The first thing that stood out to me as I looked at the proofs is that you’ve made some really interesting choices for the topics you cover. It’s a counting primer board book for very small children, but you’re covering things like the two natures of Christ, three persons in the trinity, etc. How did you decide what things to feature on each page? Continue reading

Choose: A Republic or “A Basket of Deplorables”

One of the smarter critiques of today’s American liberalism is that it’s actually mainline Protestantism shorn of its explicitly Christian content. Former First Things editor Jody Bottum makes this critique in his book An Anxious Age but others have made similar arguments elsewhere.

Typically the point of making this observation is to highlight points of overlap between mainline Protestantism and today’s liberalism. But in light of Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment from late last week, it seems worthwhile to note where precisely today’s liberalism is deeply at odds with Christianity and how this discontinuity with liberal Christianity figures to be far more important than liberalism’s many continuities with that dying branch of American Christianity. Continue reading