Christian America? Think Again

Review of chapters 1 and 2 from Gregg Frazer’s The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders.

Gregg Frazer, professor of history and political studies at The Master’s College, has given Christians a lot to chew on in The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders. Many of us cut our teeth on the idea that America is a “Christian nation,” while others were taught that the Founders were primarily deists. All of this matters, of course, because of the tug-of-war over whether biblical morality should be ingrained in America’s laws. But Frazer proffers an alternative: What if the most influential Founders (including Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, and Washington) were neither Christian nor deist, but something in between? Continue reading

“Have Courage, and Be Kind” (or, Waiting on Deliverance)

I had not expected much from Disney’s latest adaptation of Cinderella (2015), directed by Kenneth Branagh. I personally have always loved the classic tale, to the point that I spent a semester of my education in literature studying versions of Cinderella from around the world. But, as with many great stories, Hollywood more often than not produces a watered down, “follow your heart” film lacking in anything worthwhile. Once in a while, like with Frozen and Maleficent, they release a movie that winsomely impresses important lessons on audiences. Branagh’s Cinderella did that for me. Continue reading

On Freedom, Civil Rights, and Gay Marriage

Over Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I watched Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2014), starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. At the same time, I had just finished reading Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. The sordid history of slavery and segregation leaves me with some anger and shame at what those who came before us did to people based solely on skin color, while the powerful changes wrought by the Civil Rights Movement makes me proud of what the American people are capable of. But I confess, considering the current political climate and what I’m asked to write about most (gay rights), the burning question on my mind as I viewed Selma and read The Help was, How can anyone possibly relate the gay rights movement to the Civil Rights Movement? Continue reading

Maleficent, Wesley Hill, and Christian Community

Friendship, community, love, bitterness—all themes on my mind this past week as I’ve contemplated the film Maleficent, C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves, and a recent article by Wesley Hill. If all of this seems haphazard, that’s because it is. But what I saw connecting these different threads was the problem of extremes, of abandoning a balanced, biblical view in favor of things that are at once emotional and reactive. Continue reading