Best of the Rest (Feb 4th)

A very influential book but many now argue that the bigger problem is the lack of heart in evangelicalism

I had a lot of good posts I’ve seen over the past few weeks. However, there have been two extremely good posts that I’ve encountered since last doing a Best of the Rest, so I want to really focus on those:

Rachel Held Evans wrote about the scandal of the evangelical heart and followed it up with a discussion of the word love.

For what makes the Church any different from a cult if it demands we sacrifice our conscience in exchange for unquestioned allegiance to authority?  What sort of God would call himself love and then ask that I betray everything I know in my bones to be love in order to worship him? Did following Jesus mean becoming some shadow of myself, drained of empathy and compassion and revulsion to injustice?


I’ve heard some theologians explain it like this: God is like a father, disciplining his children. Children don’t always realize that a parent’s rules and enforcements are for their own good. Similarly, God’s “discipline” (which they associate with natural disasters, violence, tragedy, rape, abuse, etc.) may not make sense to us now, but it’s part of God’s good plan.

This metaphor makes sense at first blush, but it’s one thing to say that a parent may send a child to the corner for the purpose of loving discipline, quite another to say that a parent may rape and abuse a child for the purpose of loving discipline. When we cast God as an angry and abusive father whose actions we don’t understand as loving because our sinful minds are incapable of grasping true love, and when we say the logic of this paradigm should trump our intuitive revulsion to it, we’re veering into “orthodox alexithymia” territory fast.

The other post that went viral within my network in the past couple of weeks came from Sarah Bessey writing for A Deeper Story about her experiences being shamed for having sex before marriage.

He passed around a cup of water and asked us all to spit into it. Some boys horked and honked their worst into that cup while everyone laughed. Then he held up that cup of cloudy saliva from the crowd and asked, “Who wants to drink this?!”

And every one in the crowd made barfing noises, no way, gross!

“This is what you are like if you have sex before marriage,” he said seriously, “you are asking your future husband or wife to drink this cup.”


Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.