By Salty View

Simone Biles had a moment of inspiration this week. “Today it’s like, you know what, no,” she said, explaining her decision to withdraw from Olympic competition. Must have felt like a death — to the hope of Olympic gold, to the reward for untold hours of practice, of nursing various injuries, of daily sacrifices over many years. Maybe, a death to the expectations of coaches, teammates, and millions of people pinning their dreams on hers.

Unpacking the Pressure

By Prazis Images

I was among a small cadre of evangelical pastors who refused to enforce hard-edged policies against LGBTQ members. Without exception we lost our jobs and all evangelical connections. Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered — we share strikingly similar tales that end with our unsightly remains quickly swept under the rug.

A Case Study: Don Schiewer and the Evangelical Covenant Church

Don Schiewer (pronounced Sheaver, like “bringing in the sheaves”) was an up-and-coming Gen X pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church — a denomination that takes pride in its softer version of evangelical faith, in self-conscious contrast to Franklin Graham or the Southern Baptist Convention. The heyday of evangelical growth (as a…

Photo by Peter Krocka

I wish I could tell you their real names, or their kids name, and all the details of their stories because that’s where the magic happens. We gather for dinner once a month (now via Zoom) to enjoy each other’s company, and to speak of our joys and sorrows. We who? Several parents of LGBTQ+ kids committed to being allies, and some gay or gender non-conforming adults whose parents don’t yet deserve them. All of us have had a run-in with religious spaces that reject LGBTQ+ people. We’ve found our way to an affirming church, and each other.

We Track Each Other’s Family Dramas

Elaine’s nephew…

photo by Kvitka Nastroyu

In church-world, lots of congregations with an aging demographic — especially ones in lower income areas — are regarded as “dying.” It’s a matter of simple arithmetic: not enough younger people replacing the older members. But I’ve seen many of these aging congregations up close and personal and there is a palpable difference between one that is dying and one that is living well while aging.

A little background because point-of-view in religion means everything: I came into the God business via the Jesus movement circa 1971, before it was co-opted into the pre-existing conservative evangelical landscape. My version of…

I’m a former colleague of some highly educated Christians who also became Trump supporters. At first I thought it was owing to their radical anti-legal abortion stance. But no. They like Donald Trump. They didn’t hold their nose to vote for him. Many are inured to the rise of White Supremacy and tolerate or support conspiracy theories running rampant in white “Christian” circles. That once dear friends have adopted such venomous views — views completely at odds with “love your neighbor as yourself” — is a great sadness to me. …

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Donald Trump would be a cultural side-show today without the support of white Christians, and not just evangelicals. (Fifty-seven percent of white mainline Protestants — from the so-called “liberal” sector of Christianity — voted for Trump in 2016.) These churches and their leaders, bear some responsibility for the harm unleashed by his presidency. Yes, there are plenty of pastors who are on the Trump train themselves, following false prophets like Franklin Graham and his ilk. Still, many clergy privately bemoan the influence of such views but remain timid about speaking up when it might make a difference. …

“Uncle Bob, Aunt Shirley, you know we love you, but you refuse to acknowledge our sibling Sam for who they say they are. Sam has asked you not to have any contact until you agree to call them their chosen name and stop the pressure tactics, cloaked in ‘love.’ But you’re not respecting those boundaries. You keep reaching out to say, ‘We’re praying for you,’ meaning ‘to come to your senses.’ If you won’t respect Sam’s healthy boundaries, you need to know that you will lose relationship with us until you do. …

To find out, let’s give the man a little truth serum and see what he says.

“What a I really mean is our people don’t have much skin in the politics game, because things are already stacked to work for us. So in church, politics isn’t worth the hassle of straining our unity in these polarized times.

“Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t have our political grievances — and plenty of them. They enhance our sense of belonging to a club of the good guys, our bonding agent. True, these grievances are rarely about things that affect us personally…

It’s a bold title for an evangelical book these days, isn’t it? The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump, indeed. But don’t judge a book by its title. This one is telling for its cautious and dodgy resistance to Evangelical Trumpism. After nearly four years, this is what evangelicalism has been able to muster from within the camp: a set of 30 essays (I read them all) which are less than meets the eye for a book with this title, let alone one described by a few of its contributors with adjectives like “courageous” and “prophetic.”

We’re Not All Saying Don’t Vote for the Man

In fact Ron Sider, the…

I grew up in the era when families were narrowly defined, confined in the cookie cutter brick bungalows of Northwest Detroit. My wife and I, high school sweethearts born a day apart, had beaten the odds of marriage occasioned by teenage pregnancy. Then she died suddenly after 42 years of marriage. Our five children were scattered around the country at the time. Leaving me, at 60, alone for the first time in my life.

That’s a long time not to be alone.

But that was about to change, since meeting Julia, whose husband Richard had left her alone by dying…

Ken Wilson

Co-Author with Emily Swan of Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance, and co-pastor of Blue Ocean Faith, Ann Arbor, a progressive, inclusive church (

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