the Empathy List #55: Airing Out the Closets
Evangelicalism, you smell bad.
Hey friend, Liz here.
Perhaps the only really good thing about the internet is the fact that it helps hidden things come to light more readily, a form of justice—or, depending on your point of view, you might call this doxing and or “cancel culture.”
Within the past few weeks, Evangelicals have experienced this unveiling in increasing intensities. Notable examples include:
John MacArthur, who told Beth Moore to “go home” (AGAIN), which he might call complementarianism, but to me and any other female on the planet, it smacks of misogyny.
Ravi Zacharias called raping an employee his “reward” for faithful service to God. But to any outsider, this was assault, a form of sexual slavery, and spiritual abuse.
Kirk Franklin berated his estranged son in a voicemail that went public, threatening to kill him and then he defended himself by saying he simply “lost his temper.” Then again, if I were his son, I’d take out a restraining order.
As a survivor of abuse in many forms, I’m grateful for the clarity these revelations provide. We need to air out the closets of Christianity, to expose sin, so that it can die a frigid death. (We also need to kill off the gas lighting and spiritual bypassing that often accompanies these toxic patterns.)
Us humans believe that such exposure will kill us. In reality, exposure ushers in the consequences of our actions, and consequences do good, deep, transformative work on BOTH the perpetrators and the victims. The truth is what matters. It is for freedom that we were set free.
Lent relentlessly reminds us of our limitations. I cannot live without food. I am maybe, definitely, probably, addicted to sugar, to my phone, to the television. (Ugh.) And I cannot extricate the cancer of my own bent nature, or of anyone else’s.
To be clear, I am not saying, “there but for the grace of God go I,” as one (absurd) Baptist said of Ravi Zacharias’ shattering sins. I do not believe that pastors “fall,” as a fellow pastor friend reminded me this week. He said, pastors never fall. That’s not human nature. We dive headfirst, with all intention and the utmost care. We catapult ourselves off of the cliff.
Yet I follow Christ because I believe he was fundamentally different. Within his very body, righteousness lived. I do not understand the physiology, but I have met Jesus in the Scriptures and in my quietest moments, and so I understand this to be reality. He is the only one who is always right, always good, always true, and can always be trusted.
He’s also the only one who can heal a tattered American Christianity. In a season when the worst side of us is stripped naked, come, Lord Jesus, quickly, and please bring fig leaves.
Thanks for reading. Warmly, Liz Charlotte Grant
And, if you don’t mind, would you forward this email to a friend? This newsletter is a one-woman show, and I can use all the help I can get!
Beth Moore isn’t a Southern Baptist anymore.
“‘We were in the middle of the biggest sexual abuse scandal that has ever hit our denomination,” she said. “And suddenly, the most important thing to talk about was whether or not a woman could stand at the pulpit and give a message.’
Politics and Christian nationalism have crowded out the gospel, she said.”
I couldn’t agree more, Beth.
Religion News Service | Read more…
“The god of private school is money.
…In a just society, there wouldn’t be a need for these expensive schools, or for private wealth to subsidize something as fundamental as an education. We wouldn’t give rich kids and a tiny number of lottery winners an outstanding education while so many poor kids attend failing schools. In a just society, an education wouldn’t be a luxury item.”
As my kids’ public elementary school waits in line for three years to receive funds for window AC units or to fix a leaking toilet or 50-year-old cracked tiles in the faculty bathroom, take a tour of the most absurd of private schools in America.
The Atlantic | Read more…
The gender dysphoria of one teenager causes her to come out as transgendered to her parents—right before the pandemic hit.
Now, as she struggles with her new normal, legislators in her state want to limit her access to medical care that could ease her transition.
“Transgender children are coming out to their parents earlier and earlier, allowing them to consider puberty blockers that can temporarily pause the deepening of the voice among trans girls or the development of breasts in trans boys. The medications are reversible, allowing trans children to stop using them and continue puberty if they change their mind. Access to puberty blockers during adolescence is associated with lower odds of transgender young adults considering suicide, according to a study from Harvard Medical School and the Fenway Institute.”
As a parent, I’m unsure what specific medical options should be provided to transgendered teenagers. But this story brought me to tears!
The Washington Post | Read more…
As we all know by now, loss of taste and smell are classic signs of the onset of COVID-19. But what if those senses are slow to return?
One writer goes in search of her lost sense of smell after recovering from COVID.
The Believer | Read more…
In 2021, high fashion is weird. By which I mean, throw on a pair of neon shorts, borrow a floral blouse from your partner, and top it off with a poncho and furry calf boots and you’ll fit right in.
(….Is this what the riders on the struggle bus look like?)
Vogue | Read more…
Just for fun…
“Excuse me, men standing in field holding large leather claws in one hand only: I am stealing your pillows!”
(BTW, Baseball’s opening day—and probably its most popular season ever—begins on April 1. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be bored enough to watch it myself…)