Tag Archives: in review

2016’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end each year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2016 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.


I know it’s been said all over, but man…

**** this year.

I’m going to just go ahead and embrace the roiling darkness and present, for your consideration, my own chronicle of our downward spiral. Not counting the French war on religious freedom, American attacks on the 2nd Amendment, Don Lemon’s career, and a host of other blemishes we don’t have room for.

Did I mention **** this year?

Anyways, here’re the major casualties from this year’s culture wars:

thepresidentnotmypresident While I don’t think this was my finest writing by any means, I do think it’s one of the more important posts I wrote this year. And not just because I want my good name vindicated by future historians or alien archaeologists sifting through the ashy remains of the Western hemisphere.

In the face of a lot of folks trying to come to terms with the election of Donald Trump, I make the argument that they just don’t have to.

firstladyIn spite of my own frustration and anger at the results of the election, I nevertheless want to state for the record that voting-for-a-lesser-evil is not now, nor ever will be, the answer. In spite of what Mrs. Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders believe, democracy cannot be saved by us choosing not to practice it. Continue reading

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2015’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2015 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

unnamed4Somewhere in our collective history someone decided to depict God as a bearded, old human, dwelling in the clouds above. The trend caught on and has been going strong for the past couple millennia. As ubiquitous as this portrayal of the almighty has become, we argue that this imagery is the root of some of the worst theology (and art, music, and video) out there today, and how problematic it’s become for both the believer and non-believer alike.

unnamedFew images have so perfectly captured the abject and hellish misery of war than this year’s photograph of the body of Aylan Kurdi- only 3 years old. A would-be refugee from the ongoing conflict in Syria, Aylan and his brother drowned after an overcrowded boat capsized during a desperate attempt to reach Europe. The photograph evokes the deepest feelings of sadness for the dead and sympathy for the living- but crucially missing from the emotional equation is anger. Read on to discover why pity for refugees simply doesn’t cut it. Continue reading

2014’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

christianmartyrsbannerThe rise of ISIS/ISIL/IS/”The Terrorist Organization Formerly Known as Prince” has driven a number of issues to the forefront of public discourse. “After 13 years of continual war, should the US embroil itself in yet another conflict?”, “Is lesser-evilism to be accepted in the form of the Assad regime?”, and perhaps most interestingly, “What should be the Christian response to the slaughter of score upon score of Iraqi Christians?”

It was Kat who actually outlined her take on the response many Christians in the West seemed to have, leading her to question if a kind of masochistic glee was being taken in bloodshed. In response, I argued that this absolutely is the case, and that the blood of the martyrs waters the weeds of self-pity.

deadsoldiersbannerOne of the more divisive stories of the year was the rescue of Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, who hadn’t even set foot in the US again before being lambasted as a traitor and a coward of the worst breed. I argue that, had Bergdahl died in captivity, the very same people who’ve shouted themselves hoarse with accusations would be sobbing and lamenting over his loss. Bergdahl’s sin, like so many American military men and women, is that he survived one of America’s wars, and, in returning, serves as a reminder of the true cost of conflict, sacrifice, and hubris.

donlemonbannerOne of the last posts of the year, I decided to include my tirade against CNN’s Don Lemon not because of what he is now, but what I think he might become. His general obliviousness and gutlessness make him a bad journalist, to be sure, but the streak of relentless pettiness he’s demonstrated (see the aftermath of his Cosby-rape comments or his Reza Aslan interview) make him downright dangerous. Lemon seems to have pattern of grasping for anything to cover his ass when he gets caught in a mistake, often leading him to rely on the worst abuses of his position to defend himself. In the coming year, I can only imagine that Lemon’s “sail-with-the-wind” ethics will make him one of the most negative forces in our culture. If he weren’t so corrosive, I might almost look forward to that.

christiansinpopmediabannerFor all the sins of Western Christianity (and they aren’t few), I truly believe that it has, as both a religion and culture, been ruthlessly strawmanned by its critics over the years. In this post, I attempted to draw up some of the worst (or at least, most popular) stereotypes of Christianity and explain just how wrong and unfair they are. I argue that the general laziness in the portrayals of Christians and Christianity is not only inaccurate, but gives the real issues a free pass. As this culture drifts further and further away from a common religious heritage, I think it’s  more important than ever to ensure that everybody gets a fair break.

surprisewitnessbannerSince most of my posts (okay, all of them) tend to focus on what I don’t like, I figured I’d end on what I do– and that came to us in the form of our new installment “Surprise Witness”. Here, we got to defend an aspect of culture which we think actually has some value, and although Evan and I only tested it out once this year, I’m hoping we can incorporate it a lot more in 2015. With it being so easy to paint things in strokes of only good and bad (and nobody’s more guilty of that than I), being able to glean something decent from our cultural refuse should be a good exercise for us all.


So what’s this all mean for us?

Looking back, it seems that we’re becoming more introspective as a culture. More and more, it seems that we are becoming actively involved in voicing our views and values, and turning criticism inwards on ourselves. How we deal with race, sexuality, power, faith, ethics- these are all rising to the forefront of our discourse. In spite of what some have argued, the Culture Wars are far from over. If anything, they’re just getting started and I, for one, am looking forward to that.

See you in the trenches. Have a good new year.

-Gordon