As I’ve weaved in and out of church groups over the years, sharing my story with the people I met there, someone with an interest in apologetics always wants to know: when was the moment you read the Bible and realized that the Old Testament points to Jesus?
There was no such moment like that for me – my reasons for conversion, I’m now able to say, had nothing to do with apologetics and everything to do with a desire to fulfill spiritual needs that simply weren’t being met in the religionof my birth.
The fact of the matter is, I avoided certain parts of the Gospels on purpose because I couldn’t reconcile their anti-semitic history with faith in the God I was beginning to know.
I’m still not sure what to make of the passages that are commonly recited at Easter time (Matthew 27:25 in particular, “His blood be on us and on our children!”), in which the Jews are depicted as bloodthirsty hounds who seem to crave violence. In this anti-semitic -sounding reading, Jesus isn’t a long-predicted sacrifice necessary for human redemption. Instead, he’s a helpless murder victim. A target of his own people.
Every now and then, Christianity Today publishes something I find really thought-provoking. Recently, they published an article about why black slaves adopted the religion of their masters. As a history buff and a Bible nerd, I find things like this fascinating. The article re-enforced my understanding that there are two competing Christianities in the world today: the liberation kind, and the kind that creates slaves rather than freeing them.
Christianity Today has had remarkable clarity on the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements lately, so the following piece about how the “transgender narrative” apparently perpetuates negative gender stereotypes is more of a disappointment than usual. Granted, it’s not exactly unexpected, given that this is a publication that believes committed gay and lesbian couples are “destructive to society.”
Without using a single scientific, peer-reviewed study to support her claims (naturally), Nancy Pearcey writes about being transgender even though it’s clear her understanding of the topic is narrow at best. (The piece is adapted from her new book.)
We’ve seen a lot of think pieces over the past year attempting to put a logical spin on evangelical support for Donald Trump. At this point it seems that all their justifications are worn-out clichés and do nothing to redeem their image in the eyes of everyone outside their religious circle.
But conservative commentator Dennis Prager gives it one more try in a piece for Townhall:
Religious Christians and Jews who support Trump understand that the character of a public leader is quite often less important than his policies. This is so obvious that only the naive think otherwise. Character is no predictor of political leadership on behalf of moral causes. I wish it were. Then, in any political contest, we would simply have to determine who the better person is and vote accordingly.
Perhaps Prager believes this, but it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend as if personal character never mattered to his conservative contemporaries when choosing a president. Judging by the way said contemporaries have bent over backwards to excuse every derogatory word out of Trump’s mouth, it’s clear that there’s a major caveat to character being of lesser importance than policies: a president can get away with just about anything, as long as he commits to anti-abortion policies.
This was a fun interview with Morgan Guyton, author of How Jesus Saves the World From Us (which I highly recommend) about what motivated me to write Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter. I just love how important he makes me sound with a title like “The faith of Sarahbeth Caplin,” as if it’s a historic documentary and not just a conversation with a little indie writer who desperately wants to believe she’s a bigger deal than she actually is 🙂
Fun fact: Morgan’s cousin, Mary, played an integral role in leading me to the Christian faith.
MG: So tell me about your book.
SC: Basically I got asked so many times in college what motivates a secular Jew to become a Christian, I started joking about writing a book…and eventually I did just that.
You could say the start of my conversion was with books. The market for Jewish books for teens was practically nonexistent. There was one Judaica shop that had lots more Jewish books you couldn’t find at Barnes and Noble, and before the internet my mom would drive me there, 45 minutes away. It closed when I was in high school.
MG: Wow. So what was in your mind as you were devouring these books? What did you think you were looking for?
SC: I wanted to be like the people I was reading about: Cassie Bernall, Rachel Scott, Joan of Arc. I wanted the Jewish equivalent of what they had and eventually just hit a wall.
I started calling myself a Christian in the fall of 2008 – nearly ten years ago. I accepted a friend’s invitation to check out my school’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, fulfilling my long-term fascination with the man who called himself God.
This isn’t an unusual story for a lot of people. Becoming “born again” is nothing scandalous in America. Unless your family is Jewish, as mine is.
The new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. spends what seems to be a disproportionate amount of time on the history of the Old Testament rather than the New, according to a review in the Washington Post.
That’s significant to many since that’s the section of the Bible without Jesus (depending on who you ask, anyway). The museum gift shop also sells Jewish items such as menorahs and mezuzahs, and the sounds of people praying in Hebrew can be heard through loudspeakers.In many ways, then, the museum seems like a very Jew-friendly place. Yet many Jews are skeptical of the museum. Why is that?
You’re probably familiar with the movie Mean Girls, in which Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a kindhearted (albeit naive) high school student who is taken under the wing of two misfits, Janis and Damian. But it’s not long until Cady is noticed by Regina, the popular “mean girl,” and is convinced by Janis and Damian to get close to Regina in an effort to sabotage her. The problem is that Cady ends up becoming one of those mean girls. There’s a pivotal scene in which Janis exposes this and says to Cady, “You’re not pretending anymore. You’re plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic.”
In other words, the mask you wear can eventually become you.
Writing for The Federalist, Tully Borland makes what he believes to be a compelling case for why Alabamians should vote for Roy Moore, the disgraced judge. It’s so compelling, it can be summarized in a single word:
It’s all about abortion.
And he really wants you to know that he has a 14-year-old daughter, too, so he is appalled — appalled! — at the allegations against Moore, even though he doubts they are true.
Christian author Eric Metaxas has some words for people who read the title of D.C. McAllister’sFederalistarticle – “Why It’s Justified to Vote for a Morally Questionable Politician” – and immediately thought, “You’re joking, right?” Continue reading →