Why Ted Cruz is losing my generation of evangelicals

ted-cruz-AP When you grow up evangelical, you view everything about politics through the lens of your religious experience. Other people are shaped most fundamentally by their connection to military culture or their work with the poor or their passion for science or something else. I honestly cannot think about political issues from an objective rational perspective; I’m almost entirely a reactionary. There is one analogy that shapes the political landscape for me: I am rabidly opposed to anyone who reminds me of the fundamentalists who have questioned the validity of my Christian faith throughout my life. The problem for the Republican Party is that Ted Cruz and the “constitutional conservatives” holding them hostage fit this analogy perfectly, and that’s why I suspect they are completely alienating what might be dubbed the Rachel Held Evans bloc of twenty-to-thirty-something moderate evangelicals like me who hate fundamentalism and hate being called “liberal.” Continue reading

Would you refuse to negotiate if…?

donkeyselephants-300x300Whatever your opinion about whose fault it is, our government has gotten beyond ridiculous. Many people from my church are out of work because of the government shutdown. So I thought for the sake of some absurdist comic relief, I would start a game of “Would you refuse to negotiate if…?” The way you play the game is to think of the most ridiculous expectations that neighbors, husbands, wives, or kids could have for someone else to “negotiate” with them. Please add your own in the comment section. Continue reading

Looking back on 2012: June-July

In June and July, I wrote about my family reunion, the culture wars, a whole lot in Ephesians including a sermon in which I talk about sin as a zombie apocalypse, and the little noticed moral pragmatism that Paul seems to exhibit in Romans 14-15. So here are ten posts from those two months. Continue reading

60 Jesus tweets for the presidential debate

Tonight from 9-10:30 pm EST, two men neither of whom are the anti-Christ and both of whom are sinners whom God has used to accomplish varying degrees of good in our world will get on TV and attack one another while millions of Americans watch. While this happens, hundreds and perhaps thousands of Christians will get on twitter and damage their witness to co-workers and friends of different races and political persuasions by writing snide commentaries that bash either of the two candidates. The reason I have made a fool out of myself trying to promote the #JesusIsMyCandidate campaign is to offer a different witness of Christ to people who have been alienated by loudmouth Christians who have not spoken with integrity or represented Christ well. If you have a twitter account, I have made it incredibly easy for you to participate tonight. You can cut and paste any number of the 60 sample tweets below anytime today into a tweet scheduler called twuffer.com (yes, the name is silly) so that you don’t have to post live during the debate. Continue reading

Why we need to build this meme: #JesusIsMyCandidate

It was only supposed to be a catchy sermon series to attract attention for our fall kickoff season. At first our senior pastor was worried about being misinterpreted in the heat of an extremely divisive election season. We have a beautifully “purple” church where progressive liberals and Tea Party activists worship together. It’s one of United Methodism’s greatest strengths and sources of agony. We’re one of the few big tent Christian denominations left. So many have split on female ordination, homosexuality, and other political issues. And so a sermon series called “Jesus is My Candidate” seemed entirely appropriate for a congregation in which people of all political persuasions worship and serve together. But now it’s gotten bigger than a sermon series; it’s become a meme — that strange 21st century cyber-object that you attach to a hashtag on twitter or hand over to Willy Wonka on Facebook hoping that it “trends.” The vision God seems to be sharing feels about as ridiculous as Kevin Costner mowing an Iowa cornfield to build a ballpark for ghosts, and I need a James Earl Jones with a much bigger platform to swoop in, put this meme on your back, and explode it. It’s really simple. We get as many people as possible on twitter every evening at 9 pm until election day to share as many personal testimonies and prophetic statements about Jesus as they feel like with the hashtag #JesusIsMyCandidate. And if we come up with songs, videos, flash mobs, etc, using the same meme, we go where they take us. It’s not slacktivism. It’s a 21st century act of prayer and resistance against the designs of Satan to use this presidential election to pummel American Christianity (and I’m not being a melodramatic wing-nut to name it that way). Continue reading

A conversation with my favorite Republican uncle

There are two topics you’re not supposed to bring up at family reunions: politics and religion. Thus it was unsurprising when my uncle Joel said, “Morgan, I’ve got a challenge for you. Come up with a sermon comparing the Exodus story to the 2012 presidential election. You have thirty seconds. Go!” In my late grandparents’ house in Jackson, MS, there was a picture of Joel grinning widely, arm in arm with long-time Republican Senator Trent Lott. I’m not sure whether Joel pegged me as the kind of guy who would have a “Barack the vote 2008” shirt at the bottom of his t-shirt drawer. But I have a feeling that’s why he gave me the challenge. Continue reading