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Writings about faith, politics, and culture from Memphis, TN. “That relentless, tall guy.”

Baylor historian Beth Allison Barr just gave a master class in how to respond to the intransigence of American evangelical gatekeepers

A metaphor. Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash.

Over the past few days, an Anxious Bench article by Baylor Professor of History Beth Allison Barr has been circulating online. As a post-evangelical Christian, it’s been fascinating to see the impact it’s having on people who are struggling with white American evangelicalism from inside this subculture.

While the substance…


New data from Pew and PRRI is deeply alarming

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Most weeks, I hear from readers who share the pain they are experiencing after leaving their evangelical church of many years. I usually read their stories of being abused by an authoritarian leader and gaslighted by fellow congregants and find myself sympathizing. …


1,000+ listeners of my conversation with Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Why does white evangelicalism often feel so controlling, hypocritical, and resistant to change? Why is there so much abuse in white evangelical churches? And how did the people of “family values” fall in line behind Donald Trump in such large numbers?

These are questions I started quietly asking myself in…


The new strand of American evangelicalism that threatens us all

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It’s now been more than six months since the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As many noted at the time — including me — the excessive presence of evangelical symbols and language among the flags and weapons was shocking, but not surprising.

Those of us who came out…


Healthcare professionals threatened with violence as COVID-19 spreads and political extremism worsens

Screenshot from a video of a school board meeting that almost turned violent.

Like many others who live in Tennessee, I woke up this morning to a video of a school board meeting in Franklin, one of the wealthiest and most affluent communities in our state. The video showed a mob that was on the verge of losing control.

Only moments before, school…


For your love, concern, and hope

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For the past five or six years, I’ve often felt like I was living on an island. Being a follower of Jesus in the American South hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park during this time.

The Trump years and a global pandemic ended up destroying the trust and…


The dominant strains of the Republican and white evangelical rage machines are ramping back up, even as millions of Americans remain unvaccinated.

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I normally use this space to dive a bit deeper on faith and cultural issues. Right now though, I’m going to use it to vent a little.

As new public health guidelines are being given and considered regarding the pandemic, I am already seeing a renewed surge of Republicans and…


Dispelling a common myth in white American evangelicalism

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

One of the more interesting things I’ve discovered in my post-evangelical Christian faith is how anxiety-inducing the term exvangelical can be for others, especially white evangelicals.

I write a lot about the state of the American Church and the central role white evangelicalism plays in the crises plaguing so many…


How one failed church became the bellwether of white American evangelicalism

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

Every now and then, a new book or podcast comes along that is so timely and informative that you just can’t help sharing it with other people. A friend recently recommended Christianity Today’s The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast. …


A lesson learned from the white evangelical meltdown

Photos by Diana Simumpande, Nina Strehl, Matt Botsford, and Hannah Busing.

Back in March, Gallup released polling results that sent shockwaves through American churches. For the first time since 1937 — when Gallup began surveying religious affiliation and church attendance — less than half of the United States belongs to a church of any kind.

And the hits keep coming, especially…

Mark Hackett

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