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Subscriber's Digest [vol. 1]
A sneak peek at everything I've been writing
As you probably know, this newsletter is offered in two versions: a free version (which is what you’re reading right now), and a paid one. The paid one offers subscriber-only posts. It recently occurred to me that there’s no way for free subscribers to find out what’s been going on in the paid newsletters, so I thought I would initiate a new feature.
Subscriber’s Digests will be periodic updates featuring previews of newsletters that went out only to paying members. If you’re intrigued by the kind of topics and treatments that I address in paid posts, consider supporting the newsletter for $5 per month.
As always, thank you dearly for reading. And now, here’s a look at what’s been going out to subscribers:
The SBC institution, the denominational infrastructure, is now reflecting like a mirror the state of her member churches. Whether or not you agree with Russell Moore about every political question is beside the point. The point is that men with genuine integrity, who point to real sins and say, “This is a problem we cannot ignore,” are men chased away only by churches or officers who are slouching toward oblivion. The stealth operation that appears to have been employed to oppose a duly elected president of an SBC entity is a sign of a deeply dysfunctional denominational body, a group that deludes itself that evangelistic cooperation is possible while members bite and devour one another in service of lies.
I don’t care about critical race theory. I’m sorry, but I don’t. I don’t care about what it is, I don’t care who believes it, and truth be told I don’t even really care what or who teaches it. Lest you think me indifferent, let me plead one excuse: I believe I was bullied into this apathy by people who have talked about CRT in the most cynical, transparently ridiculous ways imaginable. My don’t-cares are probably a defense mechanism to prevent me from sliding into insanity.
I know CRT is a real thing. I know that, like all academic philosophies, it has legitimate ideological consequences. I know that people can, have, and will do sincerely bad things or defend sincerely bad things under the influence of CRT. I get it, honestly. But here’s my problem: I have yet to encounter any person who can explain to me all three of these things:
1) What CRT definitely is.
2) Who definitely holds CRT.
3) Why this definitely matters.
In conservative evangelicalism, the phrase “salt and light” can often be used as a magic elixir. Summon it at the appropriate time, and suddenly none of your parenting decisions can be questioned. Are the folks at church wondering why you let your 13 year old watch any sitcom or film they want? “I just want them to be able to be salt and light when talking about pop culture.” Feeling guilty over sending your 6 year old to a gender-bending local public school? “They will be salt and light there.”
The reality is that many conservative Christians have a deeply flawed view of their own children. They see them as potential deep cover agents for the kingdom, carrying their unwavering beliefs and values into the nooks and crannies of culture where adults can’t fit.
I worked for Moore and the ERLC during what turned out to be arguably the most important stretch of the institution’s existence. I was hired in spring 2015. My first event was a conference about racial reconciliation where I met John Perkins. I had no way of knowing this first experience was going to prove brutally prophetic; the only thing I knew was what I saw, and what I saw was that my institution’s president was committed in his soul to bringing black and white Christians together. He preached, preached, preached; the room vibrated with white and black “Amens” (this was 2015, remember) as Moore unpacked why the gospel of Jesus both demanded repentance from racism and supplied its power.