This Theologically Orphaned Generation

I don’t remember any of the churches I grew up in going overboard on the nationalistic fervor, even during the chilliest years of the latter stages of the Cold War

.. We were schooled on the importance of the Christian worldview—in opposition to postmodernism and other philosophical evils. Our teachers typically weren’t well-versed in philosophy, but they warned us zealously against moral relativism, situational ethics, and hypocrisy.

.. I was scared into the kingdom by one of those late-’70s “Left Behind” films. Nothing could be more important than to stand for the truth, even in the face of the anti-Christ’s persecution.

.. We ate apologetics books like communion wafers—and were about as nourished. What we learned was to argue, to corner our opponents in their intellectually unfurnished corners, defeating them with our theistic strength and consistency.

..  Because the pursuit of relevancy is the pursuit of influence, of power. And when power becomes your god, you’ll do as much biblical gymnastics as it takes to get it or keep it.

.. The younger generation now is basically a bunch of theological orphans

.. The opening dialogue is something I see reflected almost every day now in comment threads, news articles, and from friends and family on social media. Not about Democrats, though. Heavens, no. Democrats are still obliged to keep good character, and in fact, they cannot, as their very platform precludes it. Conservatives, however, may do as they like. Say what they want. Get away with almost anything. So long as their platform reads right.

.. A new poll in fact shows that white evangelicals are now the most likely constituency to believe “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” This is up from 30 percent in 2011 to a whopping 72 percent this year. And this is not because evangelicals suddenly decided to show some grace to politicians, because you don’t see this kind of consideration given to political opponents. There is really only one main explanation for this sizable jump in 2017 in the ability to look the other way. Ethics kinda seem situational all of a sudden.

We’ve been abandoned by our teachers. Our guides have left us without fathers. The men and women we looked up to have gone against everything they told us to believe in. We wonder if they ever really believed it themselves.

.. They are listening to more non-white evangelicals, because those folks have learned how to persevere from the margins for centuries.

.. These youngsters who have rejected your

  • idolatrous politics, your
  • nationalistic faith, your
  • moral subjectivity, your
  • fear of the alien and the stranger, your

gospel neglect will finally do you proud when they inherit your churches. If they can keep their heads on straight.

Left Behind: The Trauma/Curiosity of a World Without Children

.. Or she just might have seen that one more person walking by, shell-shocked, with the haunted look of the newly childless

.. But of course the world of Left Behind isn’t even a little bit like that. The Event — the spontaneous disintegration of every child on Earth — is regarded as little more than a curiosity.

This is, again, an insurmountable, fatal failure for this book. It turns every scene in the novel into something monstrous and horrifying. Think again of the previous chapter’s account of Buck and Chloe’s giddy, flirtatious stroll through the airport terminal.

.. Bailey updates him on “developments at the U.N.” In LB, the disappearance of 2 billion people is scarcely noticed, but the possibility of a new secretary-general at the United Nations has everyone on the edge of their seats like they’re watching the ninth inning of a perfect game.

.. They try to portray him both as a hardbitten, cynical pessimist and as a Kumbaya-singing hippy who thinks flowers and folk songs will bring about world peace.

.. In any case, Carpathia’s ridiculous scheme has nothing to do with disarmament, but with the consolidation of power. He’s not asking the world to lay down its arms, but to hand those arms over to him

.. That wouldn’t work. Nobody — not even a liberal media elite — would ever agree to such a thing. Carpathia’s plan to seize a global monopoly on military force would never happen because people are “so tired of war and violence.” Such a plan might work, however, if people were sufficiently afraid of war and violence. “Give me absolute power and we’ll all hold hands in unity” doesn’t work, but “Give me absolute power and I’ll protect you from the Evil Bad People” often does.

.. It would have made far more sense for Carpathia to have followed the classic demagogue’s path, rising to power by promising stability amid the chaos, turmoil, and trauma of the post-Event world. That would also have made more sense of the authors’ obsession with the Antichrist’s peace treaty with Israel, and of his eventual betrayal of that agreement