1/ I remember in seminary listening to a speaker respond to someone accusing him of not being loving as a spiritual leader.

His response was that speaking truth is the most loving thing you can do for someone who believes lies.
2/ The room applauded and I probably applauded too. But I think this is a witness to where conservative evangelicals have lost wisdom.

We have somehow internalized the idea that lovelessness is fine as long as truth is spoken (or something that I agree with).
3/ What's worse is that this mindset actually does something to us. If we are fine with lovelessness, it turns us into certain kinds of people. It darkens us. It makes us prone to slander, malice, hatred, divisiveness, sarcasm, cynicism. Indifference to love changes you.
4/ Further, it turns us into fools. Actual fools. It makes us vulnerable to certain kinds of evil. We are easily duped into believing people who simply use a common "tone" rather than share a common truth. In fact, tone and truth almost become interchangeable.
5/ In fact, in the end, when we become indifferent to love, we end up of losing truth. Truth becomes just a means to score points, gain attention, or just fill some void in your inner life.
6/ An older Christian once encouraged me, if you can't engage in a theological debate without being mean-spirited or without using sarcasm then you probably aren't wise and mature enough to participate.

James 3:17-18

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More from @john_starke

12 Jan
1/It might be important for white evangelicals to, instead of trying to show how we're not guilty of trumpism, we ought to be asking why trumpism was able to exist & flourish in systems/institutions/denoms/churches/cultures that we have participated in & helped lead.
2/ In other words, if leaders and shepherds must give an account to Christ for who we lead (as Hebrew 13 says we will), then while we might not have spread conspiracy theories, attended rallies, or encouraged others to vote for him, why have so many under our leadership?
3/To take it one step further—You might not have been the wolf that's been feeding on the sheep, but have you forfeited your responsibility to protect the sheep? Were you afraid to point out the wolves? Have you been overly patient/comfortable w/nationalistic idolatry?
Read 4 tweets
18 Dec 20
1/ So it’s been probably a month since I finished @kkdumez’s Jesus and John Wayne.

I think we all should read it. She does a really good job of showing how much nationalism, racism, and sexism is in the cultural formula. There are some parts that made me so sad and others angry
2/ I don’t think evangelicals should be afraid of this book. Many seem to have written it off as just a progressive take down with a clever title.

It’s not that. While she is very critical of conservatives, by the end of the book it felt like I was reading a good faith critic.
3/ There are parts that I believe she overreaches with the narrative and there are fringe figures that she attempts to make more mainstream.

But she’s open and honest on how she wrestled with those decisions. And the research is excellent.
Read 11 tweets
4 Dec 20
1/ A thread nobody cares about but . . .

I live in a part of Manhattan, on the top of the Upper West Side, on an avenue called West End Ave.

It's a beautiful long drive all the way down to Midtown. I was looking at old photos (here's one below by @joelmeyerowitz, 1968) Image
2/ What's remarkable in looking at these old photos how much West End hasn't changed in all these years. So much of the city is different (especially in the Upper West Side). But West End Ave is a stretch of about 50 blocks that feels almost unchanged and untouched.
3/ I walk down this avenue daily (it's between Riverside Park and Broadway Ave) and it's remarkable how comforting, especially in this season, to experience a long stretch of NYC that feels the same.
Read 5 tweets
23 Nov 20
Below is a short thread on Evangelicals and the spiritual discipline of detachment. A proposal:
1/ I wonder if Matthew 8 offers some potentials for evangelicals and healing from cultural idolatry.

Jesus demands at least some level of "detachment" to follow him:

"the Son of Man has no where to lay his head"
"let the dead bury the dead"
2/ I'm not saying Christians can't be involved in politics and we ought not to labor for justice with sacrificial involvement.

But somewhere along the way, evangelicals went whole hog into cultural idolatries of power.
Read 9 tweets
17 Nov 20
1/ One big lesson I've learned in the past 10-15 years is that I'm most spiritually vibrant when I feel at home in my theological tradition and travel widely in my reading.
2/ I am within an orthodox, historical Protestant, Reformed tradition. I feel at home here. I share my theological convictions and beliefs here.

But I often times feel a commonality with the "sensibilities" of other writers from other traditions. For example:
3/ Henri Nouwen or Ronald Rolheiser, who are Catholic Vatican II types, have a kind of gentle, loving sensitivity to our relationship/identity with Christ that is concerned with consciously feeling comfortable in our skin, that I feel is often lacking in my tradition.
Read 8 tweets
8 Jul 20
Quick reflection on Peter's reconciliation with Jesus in John 21, where Jesus asks Do you love me a 3rd time and Peter responds, "Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.”

He couldn't appeal to his own energy & passion: "When everyone leaves, I will die with you!" 1/
It's important to let Peter give witness to the spiritual bankruptcy of being carried by the power of your convictions, eagerness, and zeal.

At some point, after failure, humiliations, experiencing limitations, weariness, those things won't sustain you. 2/
I find it instructive that after failure/humiliation, he doesn't appeal to his own fervency. He doesn't double down. He appeals to Jesus. "Lord, you know."

Personally, that's an important lesson for a few reasons: 3/
Read 7 tweets

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