By John D. Pierce 

John Pierce

President Jimmy Carter’s 75th birthday in October 1999 coincided with the completed restoration of the beautiful Rylander Theater in downtown Americus, Ga. So Sumter County residents rolled the grand opening of the revived historic theater and the milestone birthday of their favorite son into one big celebration.

Primarily this was a local event, but the former president invited seasoned singers Pat Boone (with his white shoes and clean reputation) and Lynn Anderson (of “Rose Garden” fame) to perform. To balance the act, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter asked the Indigo Girls to sing — and they agreed.

Just before the event, President Carter met with the handful of media present that included former ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson and UPI correspondent Helen Thomas — who had covered the Carter campaigns and presidency and seemed delighted to be back in Southwest Georgia.

Donaldson asked if the Carters stilled jogged as he remembered from years ago. President Carter said they did not, but enjoyed riding bikes around their small hometown of Plains — and visiting a neighborhood where several African-American families live.

Intrigued, Thomas asked: “What do they do when a former President of the United States comes riding up on a bicycle?” Read More…

By Frank Shaeffer

Frank Shaeffer writes and speaks about his experience growing up as the son of famous fundamentalists Francis and Edith Shaeffer.

There are never good reasons for my major life choices. When it comes to buying household appliances, I have reliable information. I can spend ten minutes online and I know what washing machine to buy. But when it comes to the existence of God, what church to join, who to marry or where to live, there’s never been a “good reason.”

Life just happens. And life’s too short to consider all the options. So we settle for whatever happens to us. Later we pretend we had “good reasons.” But that’s just self-justifying hindsight — in other words, theology.

So I have no good reasons — other than grace — for why I’ve been going to my local Greek Orthodox church for the last 25 years or why I’ve been (mostly) happily married to Genie for 42 years. That said, here are some random hindsight self-justifying thoughts in no particular order on what is less a “free will” choice about where I go to church than something more to do with genetics, psychology and brain chemistry.

But since the answer “I haven’t a clue” to the question “Why did you leave the evangelicals and join the Orthodox Church?” isn’t going to provide much of an article, I’ve come up with a few random mostly true reasons.

By Ashleigh Bailey

Baptist author Ashleigh Bailey

Around election season, the media features numerous reminders of what others expect of an “evangelical”: a Republican who prioritizes “moral” issues such as abortion and gay marriage.  Although some people get bent out of shape about this exclusionary stereotype, I typically just roll my eyes at it.  I know that a large minority of evangelicals are politically moderate or even liberal like myself, and I don’t really expect journalists in politics—or even religion—to properly use the evangelical label anyway.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with the label myself.  While my becoming a feminist in high school and my developing a passion for social justice in college both surprised some of my evangelical peers, it has more often been cultural differences that have caused me to wonder if I still belong:  I hate kitschy bookstores, 90s praise music, and megachurches.  A high school boyfriend claimed he was dumping me because I didn’t raise my hands enough in worship, and in college well-meaning mentors wished I would read more “me and Jesus books,” i.e. devotional literature.  As I grew in my appreciation for multi-ethnicity, American evangelicalism began to feel awfully racially divided and overwhelmingly white.  As I learned about world religions and diverse Christian theologies, evangelicalism began to feel sheltered and belligerent.  As I studied in seminary, evangelicalism began to feel naively disengaged from mainstream biblical scholarship and arrogantly dismissive towards church history and tradition. Read More…

by Mimi Haddad

Over the past three weeks I have been challenging the idea that there is a “masculine feel” to Christianity based upon the nature of God, our language for God, and Scripture’s explanation of male-female relationships. Today we will tackle another factor contributing to the mistaken idea of a “masculine Christianity”—the perception that only males held positions of prominence and leadership in Scripture.

Some Christians point to the twelve male disciples as evidence that church leadership is limited to men only. At face value this may sound compelling. However, the twelve were not only male, they were also Jewish. In reality, it is much more important to consider the ethnicity of the twelve. Apart from this, their gender is insignificant. Why? Read More…