Molly Worthen – How to Escape From Roy Moore’s Evangelicalism

Molly Worthen

Molly Worthen (born 1981), is a historian of American religion and a liberal journalist. She is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of an exceptional book, which every evangelical should absolutely read: Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism. In this article, published by The New York Times, she reflects on the profound crisis on American evangelicalism, in the light of the current Roy Moore ethics scandal. Here are just a few excerpts.

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…a new ritual has superseded Sunday worship and weeknight Bible studies: a profane devotional practice, with immense power to shape evangelicals’ beliefs. This “liturgy” is the nightly consumption of conservative cable news.

When I sought out conservative and progressive critics of white evangelical politics and asked them how to best understand it, this was their answer: pay attention to worship, both inside and outside of church, because the church is not doing its job. Humans thrive on ritual and collective acts of devotion. And the way we worship has political consequences. It shapes our response to evil and our reaction to people different from ourselves.

The philosopher James K. A. Smith, who teaches at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., has argued that our lives are shot through with unconscious acts of worship, whether we genuflect at the Apple Store or wake up whispering prayers for our child’s admission to the Ivy League. “We are, ultimately, liturgical animals because we are fundamentally desiring creatures,” he writes in his book “Desiring the Kingdom.” “We are what we love.”

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America, he was acknowledging the special power that ritual and community have to stoke or weaken both love and hatred. There is no substitute for sharing the bread and wine — the climax of the Christian liturgy — with people unlike yourself, Ms. Schiess said. She called for fighting false idols with right worship: “Fox News forms a fear, a caricature of other people; if communion were done in churches with diverse populations, it would counteract that fear.”

f you’re wondering what the future of not-so-organized religion looks like, look to the community that has grown up around “The Liturgists,” a podcast hosted by Michael Gungor, a musician, and Mike McHargue, a science writer (both are former evangelicals).
When they began the podcast in 2014, “we started it out of a sense of existential loneliness,” Mr. Gungor told me. They broadcast liturgical music, meditations and interviews with theologians and activists. The podcast has nurtured a community with a life of its own. Listeners find one another through social media, and the co-hosts travel the country to convene events where fans eat, drink and worship together — groups that often continue meeting after Mr. Gungor and Mr. McHargue leave town.
“As America deinstitutionalizes and moves away from religion, people — especially millennials — have lost something. Their community becomes primarily virtual, they’re seeing people through a screen and not flesh and blood, and there’s great data that this leads them to loneliness and depression,” Mr. McHargue said. “The core of every podcast is, ‘you’re not alone,’ and that draws people in, but we can’t stay there. We have to draw them into some kind of communal practice.”

All these people have one thing in common: the instinct that worship should be an act of humility, not hubris. It should be a discomfiting experience, not a doubling down on what’s easy and familiar. The battle for the soul of evangelicalism, the struggle to disentangle it from white supremacy, from misogyny — and from the instinct to defend politicians like Roy Moore — demands sound arguments grounded in evidence. But the effort must also advance at the precognitive level, in the habits and relationships of worshiping communities. Fellowship has the power to refashion angry gut feelings and instead form meek hearts and bounden duty.

(Read HERE the entire article.)

 

 

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

7 thoughts on “Molly Worthen – How to Escape From Roy Moore’s Evangelicalism”

  1. Brings up so many good points, the same ones we frequently hear from Millennials discussing problems in church and American Christianity – getting our authoritative knowledge from Fox news instead of Scripture, and the idolatries we hold to from sports to patriotism instead of seeing our citizenship first in heaven!

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  2. De acord ca bisericile sunt –poate- cel mai segregat sector din societate. Trist… si totusi aceasta afirmatie atirna de-o anumita incultura religioasa. Si ce-o sa faca bisericile? Ca la joburile noastre unde sunt obligati sa angajeze procentual manageri negri, gay, musulmani? Ce biserica ar fi aia? SI mai e o chestie… Biserica lui Hristos e universala. Daca-n bisericile romanesti nu sunt indieni de prin nu’s ce trib inseamna sa-i importe? Nu poti sa te duci printre vecini si sa cauti membri de-o anumita culoare ca sa-i faci membri… comparatia cu sectorul civil e nesemnificativa. Apoi, bisericile sunt si comunitare. Sa ma duc 30 mile duminica doar ca sa fiu singurul alb dintr-o biserica de Afro-americani?
    Am auzit pastori evanghelici recunoscind ca sunt prea republicani. De-acord cu aceasta crritica
    Dar chestia urmtoare e prea de tot: “Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson aren’t just purveyors of distorted news, but high priests of a false religion”. Really? Eu ii ascult pe amindoi si nu ma dau in vint dupa ei. Refuz sa-mi modelez gindirea dupa cineva. SI fiindca tot veni vorba de Mr. Moore, aici doamna a dat-o rau in bara. Sean i-a dat un ultimatum de 24 ore lui Moore sa se apere, dupa care “l-a parasit” , a refuzat sa-l mai apere.
    Chestia de mai jos e importanta: “Hours of tearful victims’ testimony will not deter evangelicals who see Roy Moore as the latest Christian martyr persecuted by the liberal establishment. “Their loyalties are much more strongly formed by conservative media than their churches”… dar argumentul e cu probleme. Mai intii ca liberalii l-au iubit pe dl Clinton macar ca facea de-astea drept in biroul oval; apoi au senatori progresisti la fel ca dl. Moore si mai nou star-ul New York Times, mare critic Trump, e pe liber pt aceleasi pacate precum Moore.
    Cred ca Moore e un ipocrit care m-a dezamagit dar marturiile acuzatorilor sai au problem grave de memorie. De ex. In anii ’70 masinile aveau incuietori manuale; cum putea dl. Moore ca sa blocheze usile de la sofer ca sa incerce s-o violeze pe doamna X? Putea fugi linistita; tehnologia pe care-o invoca d-na nu exist ape vremea aceea… Cei care continua sa-l sustina pe Moore sunt enervati de faptul ca femeile astea simple isi pot permite cei mai scumpi avocati specializati din USA. De unde bani? – intreaba sustinatorii
    De acord 100% cu citatul :”Hostile secular nihilism has won the day in our nation’s government, and the culture has turned powerfully against traditional Christians,” Mr. Dreher writes in “The Benedict Option.”… Amen to that!

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  3. Si pt ca Dumnezeu nu bate cu bita ci cu rasismul, vreau sa vad si eu ce analist crestin/teolog progresist il scoate din Congress pt ultimul acuzat de agresare sexuala. Congresman Conyers, 88 ani si cel mai indelungat membru de culoare din Congres. o adevarata icoana a negrilor.democratilor…. si nu stiu ce religie are dar sunt mari sanse sa fie evanghelic de-a lui Moore ca sa ramine la subiect.

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    1. Da, si iata ce bucurie mare v-a facut, zice-se, Dumnezeu. Scapati de injuraturile legate de slabiciuneaa dvs, Moore, el insusi dezavuat de Russell Moore – un conservator, rar, care si-a pastrat decenta, spre deosebire de dvs., ‘injurind’ un Democrat/liberal. Iata inca un motiv de a fi multumitor de Ziua Recunostintei. 😦
      IN ce ma priveste, sunt si unul si altul, ‘acelasi drac’, cu aalte palarii politice.

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  4. Eu il simpatizez pe Moore; dvs il iubiti doar pt ca e anti-Trump. Din pacate pt articolul de mai sus, eroul Martin Luther King -citat in el- a avut si probleme grave cu femeile; deci elogiul eroilor si condamnarea vehementa a pacatosilor vii sunt double standard. Grave -extrem de grave- probleme cu femeile avut-au preseditnele Kennedy, fratele sau senator Ted -complice la moartea secretarei- ceea ce nu i-a impiedicat pe liberali sa le “faca statui”. “Cine e fara pacat sa ia primul piatra”,. Eu as propune o analiza mai crestineasca d-le Manastireanu, si asta in primul rind ar porni de la o pozitie de pacatosi iertati. Infierarea de catre lume a desfriului pe care ea l-a promovat pe toate canalele e doar fatarnicie pura. Analiza mea are doar 2 puncte:
    1- Victima are prioritate si dreptul la adevar/despagurbiri, pedepsirea vinovatilor + obligatia de-a spune adevarul (sic!)… chiar si dupa 40 ani.
    2- Pentru ca suntem pacatori iertati, nu e cazul sa fim chiar asa de vehementi condamnind pacatele altora; acuzatorii au avut ei insisi de multe ori schelete in dulap. “Stie tot orasul ca eu n-am fost o sfinta”- a declarat una din victimele lui Moore…Daca lumea politica americana ar fi puritana ca si fondatorii Zilei Recunostintei… lucrurile ar sta altfel. Pe fondul imoralitatii rampante a societatii actuale, a culturii -daca Holywood este cultura- a procentului mare de porno, a sodomizarii oficiale a copiilor in scoli, etc, a veni cu prietentia ca gasim politicieni puritani e de pe Marte, nu de pe Terra.
    Da, evanghelicii din Alabama care sustin pe Moore risca totul. Problema mea cu Moore e doar ca minte. Sa speram ca noi toti ceilalti am sarutat -pe cind eram burlaci- doar fete care au murit de dorinta sa fei sarutate de noi. (sic- 2 dintre victimele lui Moore recunosc c-au fost flatate, celorlalte li s-a facut greata). Democratul pe care “il injur” eu si care nu vrea sa demisioneze a platit 17 milioane USD din banii publici ca sa inchida gura unei subalterne pe care a fortat-o -desi era casatorit- la sex e o alta infractiune mai grava; dar el e erou al negrilor. E chiar tot una cu Moore? A analiza dupa 40 de ani daca fetiscanele de 16 ani sarutate de burlacul procuror de 29-32 ani si-au dorit asta sau nu … e o porcarie pe care liberalii o arunca in capul evanghelicilor ca si cind ar fi echivalent cu ce-au recunoscut cei de la Holywood sau cu congresman Conyer. Da, evanghelicii puritani sunt prinsi la mijloc.. pt ca Moore era conservator… si acum au de ales intre rebublicanul care saruta liceene acum 40 ani si … democratul care refuza -astazi- restictionarea la avort chiar si la termenul pe care liberala Europa il interzice. Alegeti dvs, ca eu nu stiu cu cine sa votez…. Suntem pacatosi iertati si ne temem de Dumnezeu.. Foarte serios. domnul meu, nu avem argumente sa pretindem standarde mai inalte decit se gasesc in propria ecclesiologie.

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  5. Una dintre acuzatoare, cea cu “dovada” de pe albumul scolar, declara acum ca ea a scris data si numele procurorului… dar restul dovezii e autentic. Dinsa e asistata de una din ce mai scumpa si faoimoasa avocata specializata drepturile femeii… care o apara pe gratis din dragoste de adevar. Nu degeaba, avocata a refuzat sa dea jurnalul cu pricina la analiza grafologic. Nu, nu cred ca toate acuzatoarele mint… dar suntem la discretia unor femei care ataca dintr-o data persoane devenite publice (Pustan, Ianovici in Ro, Ravi Zachariah in USA). Ce sa facem? Mergem pe principiul orice chestie sexy se vinde, e credibila?

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  6. Nimeni nu cunoaste viitorul. Acum cind viitorul e la trecut si Moore a pierdut alegerile, 2 lucruri.
    1-Da! Evanghelicii dupa parerea multora s-au patat fiind (unii) alaturi de Moore. Exista insa ceva ce nici articolul asta nu il spune si nici lte analize. Pactele vechi de 35-40 ani ale lui Moore de-a saruta fetiscane de liceu el fiind om de 30 ani, necasatorit sunt grave.
    2- Dar liberalii si asa isii progresistii au cistigat dezbaterea prin viclenie: ne-au fortat sa echivalam faptele acestea nereplicate prin nimic in restul vietii de adult casatorit al acestui om. Echivalarea cu pedofilie este exagerata. Nicuna n-a pretins ca Moore s-ar fi culcat cu ea. Stinga a reusit o lovitura uriasa: e la fel de grav –dupa ei- violul unora din Hollywood, hartuirea sexuala a subordonatilor din birou si cumpararea tacerii cu bani publici cu faptele lui Moore. Unde incepe descalificarea unui politician din viata publica? Cei care il ataca pe Moore cei mai tare sustin cu indirjire vinderea de organe de la copii cu parinti surogat, creati/sacrificati anume (Planned Parenthood) pt a “salva” copiii bolnavi din parinti “ne-anonimi”. Dupa cei au stimulat promiscuitatea prin Hollwood si legislatie si au trecut la sodomizarea-transgendizarea (sic!) copiilor, ei bine, acum ei se dau de ceasul mortii sa prezinte pacatele acestui om mai grave decit lucrurile aratate. De ce crestinii ar trebui sa n-aibe iciun criteriu.
    PS- Dupa legea Americana, a saruta o fata peste voia ei e infractiune pedepsita dar prescrisa dupa citiva ani. Virsta consimtamintului In Alabama era de 16 ani. Pare gretos de mica dar asta era. In Olanda din anii ’70, parintii pot sa-si seduca copiii (in incest) daca copiii au deposit 17 ani. Comparati dvs situatiile! Nici macar nu mai stit ce se petrece in Europa… atit s-a banalizat pacatul. Da, am pierdut pe toate planurile…. Dar nu felicitam invingatorii! Nu merita!

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