When I was in sixth grade, I participated in a debate in which I attempted to convince my fellow classmates that we never landed on the moon.
It was the first time I used the Internet to research, and my partner and I found a treasure trove of information. We couldn’t believe it. It was so obvious. The U.S. clearly faked the moon landing in 1969 to trick the Soviet Union that we had superior rocket technology.
On the day of the debate, we exceeded our allotted 30-minute timeslot by more than an hour. After the debate, we held a poll. …
If only more people prayed, read their Bibles, sang worship songs, and accepted Jesus into their hearts, then all our nation’s anger, strife, immorality, violence, and racial division would subside or (at the very least) become more manageable.
More Christians, fewer problems. The world was clearly sick, and we alone held the antidote. Lost in the darkness, only we could illuminate the way for the lost and wayward. Our faith gave us answers, purpose, and community.
But it also gave us something else. Something a little more problematic and insidious.
In Seculosity, David Zahl writes,
“So fundamental is our need for connection that when belonging isn’t readily found in conventional spheres like church, neighborhood, office, or home, we will look elsewhere and anywhere for it. It is no coincidence, then, that politics serves a tribal function for more and more people. Because when you share an ideological affiliation, you share not only stories and foundations but antagonisms. And nothing bonds people closer together than a shared enemy.” …
In a year full of half-truths, misinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories, and bizarre press conferences, we needed the academic rigor and sourced narrative of nonfiction books more than ever.
While the fiction books I read in 2020 allowed me to escape reality, the nonfiction books I read in 2020 deconstructed and added context to the reality that so often appears to skew closer to fiction. These ten nonfiction books gave me hope, helped me understand, and shifted my perspective on a number of topics and issues during this crazy year.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to announce the War on Christmas is over.
And it’s been over for about one hundred and fifty years.
The Puritans waged the original War on Christmas in 17th century England and, later, the American colonies. A bunch of killjoys, the Puritans were a super-conservative branch of Protestantism that believed most forms of worldly pleasure were detestable to God.
With its rampant caroling, merriment, feasting, and drinking, the Puritans viewed Christmas as an affront to God himself. Following the English Revolution in 1647, the new Puritan government canceled Christmas in England for thirteen years.
When the Puritans came to the New World on the Mayflower and established Plymouth Colony, it was decided Christmas would not be observed. A few years later, Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony actually banned Christmas and would fine anyone caught celebrating it. …
Thank God for fiction in 2020.
With many of us spending more time indoors this year than normal, books offered a welcome escape from both the walls of homes and the nightmarish news cycle. I was no exception, and I got a lot of reading accomplished by year’s end.
At the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to read more fiction by women and minority voices. Looking back at my previous end-of-year lists, I found them to be primarily written by white and male authors. If you’re looking to expand your worldview and empathy, I strongly recommend placing a priority on reading books written from different perspectives and life experiences than your own. …
During a White House Christmas party, lame-duck President Trump teased a 2024 Presidential run to those in attendance. Though he has yet to concede the 2020 Presidential election to President-elect Joseph Biden (and probably never will), it’s been our first hint at what a post-presidency Trump will look and feel like.
And the glimpse it offers isn’t very encouraging.
Though we may temporarily bask in the President’s defeat at the polls, the prospect of a second Trump term in office (and a direct repeat of the 2020 Presidential election) raises some very interesting questions about how we — the American people — should respond to this potential eventuality. …
Growing up, I never thought the story of the first Christmas was very interesting.
Oh sure, it’s a nice story, but for a ten-year-old boy who couldn’t even begin to grasp the meaning of the word “Incarnation,” the Christmas story was the one with the cute baby surrounded by barnyard animals.
But as I got older and the thrill of Santa Claus became a nostalgic memory, different aspects of the Nativity began to shift into focus. …
After five contentious days, the 2020 Election has been called for President-elect Joe Biden. That noise you hear is Lady Liberty exhaling a long sigh of relief.
And, though Donald Trump may tweet to differ, winning doesn’t have to come at anyone else’s expense. But, first, let’s rip this bandaid off.
To my fellow Republicans, you can do better. I know you can do better. There are respectable conservative men and women of high moral character that you can rally behind. It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump is an aberration or the “new normal” for the Republican party. …
Growing up in the Bible Belt in the 1990s, abortion was one of the most frequently cited symptoms of America’s “moral decline” from the pulpit. Sometimes likened to child sacrifices made to the pagan deity Moloch (and the Holocaust), abortion was depicted not only as the epitome of America’s wickedness but also proof of demonic influence in the Democrat Party.
No matter what other issues were on the ballot, it was simply indefensible to throw your support behind a pro-choice candidate. Period.
So, while I might have entertained the notion of voting third-party or not voting at all, the thought of voting for a candidate with a Pro-Choice political platform was completely off the table. …
Yesterday, the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, released a new study that said white Christians are even less motivated to address issues of racial injustice than they were a year ago.
I’m not going to lie, the past few years (and, more specifically, few months) have made it incredibly difficult for me to want to call myself a Christian.
This has nothing to do with being ashamed of Jesus or the Gospel. On the contrary, it’s the growing exasperation with a virulent strain of Americanized Christianity that uses its influence to justify thinly-veiled nationalism, spread baseless conspiracy theories, tolerate white supremacy, and sacrifice conviction in exchange for political power. …