Culture: November 2006 Archives

Theocracy Paranoia

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Ross Douthat has an excellent essay on the theocracy paranoia that's becoming fairly common in certain segments of the left. [Hat tip: Blogwatch] I've always thought any such claims were so far out of touch with political realities and cultural dynamics within evangelicalism and Christianity in the U.S. in general as to be not worth much time, but the frequency and urgency of these claims continues to increase as the plausibility of them continues to decrease. I'm glad someone is bothering to tackle this nonsense, because I don't have the kind of patience with this particular conspiracy theory to put together as comprehensive a treatment. See also the much shorter Rich Lowry piece on the same phenomenon, which contains a couple of the best points from the Douthat article.

Bruce Meyer left the following comment on a post that wasn't about this subject, so I thought it might better occupy its own post:

Recently Jeremy and I have been talking about reaching out to neognostics and pagans. After we talked, I realized that the guy with expertise in this area is in my own town (where I teach) of Salem, Massachusetts, Pastor Phil Wyman. So on Halloween I stopped by his church to catch up, and found their outreach at work. Also found that they were on the front page of the Salem News and The Wall Street Journal. The problem is that they were reaching out to pagans. Oops. Waddya know. Here are some links. BTW, I'm quite proud of my friend Pastor Phil.

Befriending witches is a problem in Salem, Mass
Let's Not Get Too Cozy with Pagans? Foursquare Church and The Gathering
The Missional Journey of Phil Wyman
Church severs tie with Salem branch:The Gathering chastised for getting too close to witches

I have to say I like the following quote from the first article:

"Sure, he wants to convert people," he says about Mr. Wyman. "But he does it in a way that respects you."

It's also worth noting how much some of his critics sound like Jesus' critics:

Mr. Wyman appeared "too familiar, too cozy, too amicable with that community," said the Rev. Kenneth Steigler, a United Methodist Church pastor.

The Evolution of Beauty

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This is excellent. I don't know if I can vouch for everything the Campaign for Real Beauty is doing, but the video is itself real beauty.

[hat tip: Tyler Williams]

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