Essay: The New Puritan Shame Culture

In the April 1886 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Julian Hawthorne, son of Nathaniel, reviewed his father’s The Scarlett Letter. Towards the conclusion of his stunning, 9,000+ word essay, the younger Hawthorne reflected on the moral irony of  Hester Prynne’s world:  This [the scarlet A] is her punishment, the heaviest that man can afflict upon her. But, like all legal …

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How “Red Letter Christianity” misunderstands the Trinity

Karen Swallow Prior, an English professor from Liberty University and a research colleague of mine via the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has written a helpful perspective on the popular "red letter" interpretation of Scripture. Christians who identify themselves as "Red letter Christians" argue that the recorded words of Jesus deserve special attention and/or status …

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How “God’s Not Dead” fails Christian students

I took the plunge that I had been studiously avoiding and turned on God's Not Dead, the evangelical blockbuster movie from last year that has thus far raked in cash, awards, and even designation as the "best Christian movie of the year." I had seen beforehand its 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and read thoughtfully …

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Star Wars 7 and Hollywood’s Great Stagnation

In my February defense of the Oscars' culture of "elitism," I argued that, if nothing else, the Academy's film snobbery was a break from the nauseating domination of sequels, comic book films, and franchises in mainstream Hollywood. "A healthy dose of film snobbery is welcome," I wrote,  "if it even slightly punctures the asphyxiating creative …

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What happened to the “Emergent Church”?

As far as I can tell it, the "emerging church" is dead. The time of death is difficult to establish, much like the time of birth was. But there's no question to me now that the whatever internal mechanisms the emerging church movement contained are no longer functioning. Its leadership seems largely to have abandoned …

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