Yesterday in Washington D.C. there was apparently a prayer march.
I must have missed the memo, or the GSB research team was asleep at the wheel and failed to inform me.
Not that I would have gone mind you. I think you have to be out of your mind to march in a largely maskless crowd in the midst of a pandemic, and with the Proud Boys on top of that. To say the optics were bad is like saying Harvey Weinstein needs to be more respectful of women.
Everything about this march was wrong. Let’s start with the cause.
It is not enough that evangelicals marched with the Proud Boys, but they continue to squander their credibility by embracing the “Stop the Steal” campaign, a quest with the remarkable record of 1 modest win and 55 losses in federal courts, which are staffed by a mix of Republicans and Democrats, two factions that in recent years have not been able to agree on anything, yet have set aside their partisanship to become united in one voice to say this: “The President has no case.”
Hillsong Church responded appropriately to Lentz’s infidelity by sacking him, but I’m sure Justin Bieber is left wondering how a man he apparently held in such high regard spiritually could fail so miserably morally.
Christians will likely be quick to advise Bieber that we are all sinners saved by grace, impliedly suggesting he should not have expected Lentz not to fornicate, that no one can really live in victory over sin, not even gross sin. I think that is about the worst advice someone could give to him.
Justin Bieber has every right to expect that the pastor of his prominent evangelical church is far enough down the road of sanctification that he will not commit adultery. Even in my profession, lawyers are generally disbarred when they commit felonies, and for good reason: how can clients trust their lawyers to put their client’s interests ahead of their own when the clients can’t trust the lawyers not to commit felonies?
Suggesting Bieber lower his expectations to assuage his anger is like suggesting one should not expect one’s surgeon to operate on the correct organ in case he operates on the wrong one. Expectations affirm the standard. And even though expectations will also give rise to hypocrisy, it is better than the alternative. As Francois de La Rochefoucauld said, “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”
I’ve just finished two biographies on Cotton Mather and purchased a third.
Cotton Mather is likely one of the greatest men you’ve never heard of, or if you have heard of him he is probably one of the worst men you never heard of.
If you have heard of Cotton Mather (1663-1728) you have probably heard him portrayed as the instigator behind the Salem witch trials, which means you have really never heard of him. But such false and defamatory portrayals draw clicks on the internet around Halloween, so the characterization remains.
Mather was a Puritan. He was a pastor, a prolific writer, as well as a scientist who first promoted inoculation in America to prevent smallpox. Mather’s writings and influence helped lay the groundwork for the Great Awakening, America’s first great revival.
But to the point of this post, Mather was also a husband and father, and his first two wives died young. The first, Abigail, died following giving birth, and the second, Elizabeth, died of the measles, along with two of their new born twins. Another son was born without an anus, and all Cotton and his wife could do was watch him die. Mather had fifteen children, but only two would outlive him. In other words, Cotton Mather would bury thirteen of his fifteen children.
I live downtown in one of the largest cities in America.
My wife and I have watched from our home some of the protests and arrests that have occurred following the killing of George Floyd.
I’ve also observed the initial sympathy expressed by my caucasian friends be replaced by anger when the looting and violence began. I’ve heard some pundits try to explain the looting and violence, and I’ve heard others even try to justify it.