Battle Hymn of the Evangelical: Part 1

My first political memory is strangely vivid. It was November of 1992, and my dad was driving me to Kindergarten. The radio announcer, in a tone as soggy as the weather, discussed Bill Clinton’s recent election.

“Bill Clinton is stupid!” I proclaimed, feet kicking the dashboard.

“Don’t say that,” my dad replied. “He’s the President now, so we have to respect him.”

My memory goes blank after that, so I don’t know how I responded. But this memory’s worth dwelling on for a couple reasons.

First, it shows that I somehow got it in my six-year old head that Bill Clinton was “stupid.” Second, it shows I could not have gotten this idea from either of my parents. My dad stopped me from calling him stupid. As for my mom, those who’ve met her know that calling a politician “stupid” is . . . out of character.1

So how did I learn that Bill Clinton was stupid? It must have seeped in from my culture, a part of the atmosphere I imbibed without realizing it. Like the blue of the sky and the green of the grass, the badness of Bill Clinton was a fact of life.

Continue reading “Battle Hymn of the Evangelical: Part 1”

Advertisements

Evangelicals, Originalism, and Moral Indignation

Because the Judge Gorsuch nomination refuses to leave the news, I thought I’d repost an article I wrote a couple weeks ago over at Mere Orthodoxy. It combines three of my favorite topics: evangelicals, originalism, and moral indignation. I co-wrote it with Ian Speir, a fellow lawyer and writer. Check out his blog on the liturgical calendar here.

Also, for those wondering when I’m going to post new content, don’t worry. I’m working on a new series that I’m pretty excited about. Without giving too much away, the first post involves cream soda, Russian fighter jets, and Rush Limbaugh. Stay tuned….
________________

The Enemy of My Enemy Is Not Necessarily My Friend

This take may have cooled a bit, but I’m still going to give it. I wanted to chip in my two cents from the CPAC Milo Yiannopoulos fiasco from a few weeks ago.

For those who haven’t heard, CPAC–the largest conservative political gathering in the country–invited Yiannopoulos to be a keynote speaker. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, you’re lucky. I’d rather not go into detail, but suffice it to say he’s an alt-right/neo-nazi darling who gets attention by doing things that are sexist, racist, and shocking. He’s also spoken in favor of pederasty. In short, he’s not a great person.

So why did CPAC, a group that’s supposed to care about conservative values, want to feature him?

Simple: Yiannopoulos really, really, really ticks off liberals.

Continue reading “The Enemy of My Enemy Is Not Necessarily My Friend”

Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism

Believe it or not, the blog is almost a year and a half old. At this point, I think a look back would help remind all of us–but me especially–what this project is about. So over the next several weeks, I’ll re-up some “classic” posts that get to the core message of the blog. Yes, I know it’s weird to call your own posts “classic.” But I couldn’t think of another word…

So without further ado, here’s my blog’s very first post:

I was That Guy at my parents’ church.

You know the type:

  • Slouching in the back pew with raised eyebrow.

  • Smirking every time the pastor made a point during the sermon.

  • Stewing in the corner after services, reading something intellectual and avoiding conversation with the dull-eyed parishioners.

I was a cynical jerk. I started this blog because I’m trying to change that. Continue reading “Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism”

New Year’s Resolutions

Here are my New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend more time reading and writing, and less time watching television
  • Get in better shape–work out a little less, and eat a little healthier
  • Be more proactive and efficient at work

These resolutions are as ordinary as they come. But they’re incredibly frustrating. Don’t worry–I’ll explain why. To do this, I’ll take you back in time. Starting when I was an oil-faced, frosted-tipped high schooler:

January 4, 2004

I’m in my school’s library for study hall. I was a junior, and eager to remake myself for my final year and a half of high school. Glancing at the cool kids at the other end of the table, I whip out my notepad, click my pen, and inscribe my resolutions for the New Matt.

Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions”

My Plan for America

As we all know, 2016 was the worst year since the fall of Constantinople.

That’s why, as a Christmas present to America, I’m sharing the best idea I’ve had all year. I don’t mean to oversell it, but this could transform America. Here it is:

Tim Tebow should devote himself to becoming the world’s greatest rugby player. Then he should captain the US rugby team to glory in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.1

This plan is both utterly feasible, and beneficial to everyone involved.

Continue reading “My Plan for America”

Guest Post: On Beauty, Truth, and Janitor’s Closets

I’m happy to introduce the blog’s very first guest post. It’s by Amy Lee–a fellow member writer in the Anselm Society Arts Guild. To get more of her (excellent) writing, visit her website, sunsteepeddays.com.

 

When I was a very young Christian, I went looking for truth in a janitor’s closet.

Thankfully the situation wasn’t as dismal as it sounds, because this was a rather exceptional janitor’s closet. It housed the library for a tiny international school, which took up the third and fourth floors of an old Korean office building. The closet was windowless and could only hold up to two patrons at a time — if the door was open — but what I found on its shelves had an enormous effect on my fledgling understanding of Christianity.

Continue reading “Guest Post: On Beauty, Truth, and Janitor’s Closets”

Not the Enemy

I meant to post this a couple days after the election, but a combination of work trips and Thanksgiving held me back. That’s probably a good thing. When your country just elected a reality star as president and you spend the next day staring out the window wondering if the whole world has gone insane, hot takes aren’t healthy. So instead, here’s my cold take…

Continue reading “Not the Enemy”

30 Years, 30 Lessons

If you’re reading this, that means I’m 30. Yes, today’s my 30th birthday. Sigh. I’m one of those people who hates their birthday–I don’t like the attention, I don’t like having to choose everything we do, and I don’t like all the reminders that I’m another year older. And 30 is a birthday I’ve been dreading. I may not be old, but I’m definitely not young anymore. Sigh.

But one benefit of being 30 is that I now have three decades of wisdom and observations to impose on the rest of you. So here it is: 30 life lessons for 30 years of life.

Continue reading “30 Years, 30 Lessons”

Sigh. My #NeverTrump Post.

So I’ve planned on writing my official #NeverTrump post for a while. It’s the thing to do. At least, all my Facebook friends seem to be doing it. I’ve written on Trump before. Like this piece on my blog, this one at Patheos, and this one at Mere Orthodoxy. But all of those lack the crisp thesis statement. So here it is:

I have never supported Trump, and will not vote for Trump. I plan on voting for Evan McMullin.

According to Facebook, my next step is giving every reason for rejecting Trump. That should be easy–there are at least a dozen independent reasons why Trump shouldn’t be President.

But I’ll be honest . . .I don’t want to.

I’m tired of this whole Trump thing. I’m tired of scrolling through Twitter and liking all the anti-Trump quips. I’m tired of lambasting the self-righteousness of Trump’s evangelical defenders. I’m tired of feeling self-righteous myself.

Continue reading “Sigh. My #NeverTrump Post.”