If you weren’t aware, Chip and Joanna Gaines of the HGTV show Fixer Upper might be in some hot water because they’re alleged conservative evangelicals who attend a conservative evangelical church that teaches conservative evangelical things. Buzz feed published a hit piece about them and their church on Tuesday, and some people are losing their minds about it.
I wanted to say things, but I wasn’t sure what to say until a gay person from Delaware published a great editorial in the Washington Post and said it for me (link below).
While I certainly don’t agree with everything the author says in the following WaPo piece (I too am a reasonably conservative evangelical), I love the gist of what he has to say because, oddly enough, he has the audacity to stand up for the intellectual rights of those who have bitterly opposed him and his people for basically ever. He gives the Gaines the right to disagree with him and hold to convictions that differ from the mainstream.
Which is a lot more than many of us who have opposed him have done for him.
Also, he calls out Buzzfeed for concocting crap news to get click-throughs and sell ads, which is great because Buzzfeed is the furthest thing from good journalism.
This editorial from The New York Times came up in my Facebook timeline this morning, and I just loved it. To summarize, the editorial is a call to those liberals in academia to be more ideologically inclusive, and the piece finally admits that liberals maintain a mildly vindictive oligopoly in our colleges and universities:
Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.
I have two more things to say about this article before you read it:
1.) I studied journalism at Ferris State University and felt some of what this guy talks about, that my conservative ideas were not welcome. While it was known I was a Christian and a conservative (and I never faced outright discrimination), I often felt I couldn’t add much to discussions because my convictions weren’t up to snuff.
One of my first mentor-friends gave me some great advice about work ethic. He said, “Keep hitting the side of the truck to keep the chickens in the air.”
That’s a humorous metaphor for how he lived his own life—he always had something cooking, kept an iron or two (or three, or four) in the fire. He was never complacent, never hung his hat on his life to grow old and fat. What I liked about my friend Mike is that he was always busy, but rarely rushed.
I think Jesus was that way too, and the Gospels show us that if we’re doing anything for the Lord, we will find ourselves busy.
Remember in high school English, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter? If you never had the pleasure of reading it, here’s the cliffs notes. The gist of the story is that a preacher in a tiny puritan New England town has an affair with a young lady. He is not punished; she is, and as punishment she must brandish a scarlet letter “A” upon the breast of her clothes. The “A” is for adulterer, of course.
There’s more to the novel, but for our purposes, that’s all you need to know. The woman was forced to wear her shame upon her chest for all to see.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” — Col. 3:16
Can we be honest about something right now, just you, the congregant, and me, the worship leader? Can we finally admit what we’ve all been thinking, basically every Sunday morning ever? Can we just talk as friends and not dance around this thing that we’ve both been wanting to say for quite some time?
Merle Haggard died a few days ago, and oddly enough, that makes me thankful for my father.
I say that because my family, albeit unknowingly, was part of the separatist evangelical movement in the 80’s and 90’s. I say “unknowingly” because I don’t think my parents were hateful towards society, I think they just wanted to raise me right. But I was homeschooled. I made a vow when I was thirteen to abandon secular (think, non-christian) music. We didn’t watch R-rated movies at my house. Cussing wasn’t a thing. Drinking wasn’t even in the question. My parents knew that holiness meant we needed to be set apart. They took that very seriously.
And I’m thankful for that. I have moral backbone and a strong faith because of it. However, my dad fudged the rules a bit. He let me listen to outlaw country music. In fact, that’s how I learned to play guitar — strumming along to a Waylon Jennings album. Now I’m a worship pastor. Go figure.
While I missed basically every pop song in the 90’s and early 2000’s, listening to the old outlaws gave me a taste for genuine music. If you didn’t know, the outlaws got their name because they were kicked out of Nashville. They didn’t jive with the bible-belt moralism that dressed country music in a false righteousness. So, they went to Austin, Texas and recorded songs that, while a tad amoral, were original. They sold millions of albums and smoked a lot of weed.
I think my dad thought I was far enough removed from the outlaw’s time to not actually do the things they were singing about. He also taught me to filter the music, to enjoy the good and throw out the evil.
And now my daughter is getting to that age when music is going to become a big part of her life, and I’m a little concerned.
My first semester of college overwhelmed me. A potent cocktail of 17 credit hours, 800 miles from home, and 15 freshman pounds had me on my butt by October. I broke out in hives. I didn’t get a lot of sleep.
My freshman mentor, a pleasant older professor with white hair and a quick smile we’ll call “Dr. Smith” saw the cracks in my glass and approached me after class one afternoon.
“I’m the student counselor here at LeTourneau University. Come to my office tomorrow. Let’s talk,” he said.
I’d never been to a counselor before, but I went anyway, albeit unsure.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He helped me work through some serious issues I never knew I had. He guided me into God’s grace and truth.