I remember watching the 2000 film Left Behind in chapel at the evangelical middle school I attended. Come to think of it, it was probably two chapels since the adaptation of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ best-selling End Times novel is 100 minutes long and middle school chapel was, mercifully, only half that. Most etched in my memory are scenes of body-less outfits, left in precisely the positions their wearers had been occupying when Jesus raptured all the true believers from Earth. It was unclear to me why Jesus took the bodies but left the clothes, but as a middle schooler, the prospect of meeting my Lord and savior buck naked was horrifying.
I hadn’t thought about that film in years, but it came flooding back last week when it became clear that evangelical apocalypticism was among the other deadly forces that rallied at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “For months, various evangelicals have claimed in sermons, on social media, and during protests that malicious forces stole the election, conspired to quash Christian liberties, and aimed to clamp down on their freedom to worship and spread the Christian gospel,” explained Matthew Avery Sutton in The New Republic. “They felt sure that the final days of history were at hand and that the Capitol was the site of an epochal battle.”
Yet so far, 2021 has ushered in not an apocalyptic unveiling, but a remix of our same-old national sins. And with it, a fresh reminder that we cannot unify unless we reckon with — and repent from — these demons.
1.‘The Refugee Resettlement Program Survived. And So Now We Get to Rebuild’
Court strikes down Trump order that allowed states to refuse refugees. By Dalia Faheid via sojo.net.
2. The Capitol Riot Revealed the Darkest Nightmares of White Evangelical America
How 150 years of apocalyptic agitation culminated in an insurrection. By Matthew Avery Sutton via The New Republic.
3. Bonhoeffer Society: Remove Trump and Reject Christian Nationalism
What anti-Nazi pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer opposed in Germany mirrors the Christian nationalism in U.S. today, say scholars. By Stephanie Russell-Kraft via sojo.net.
4. Nightmares Released, Dreams Held
The day after a historic Georgia victory and an attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol, I walk into the kitchen in a fog. By Josina Guess via the Bitter Southerner.
5. Faith Groups Demand Lisa Montgomery’s Federal Execution Be the Last
President-elect Biden has stated that he supports ending the federal death penalty. By Lexi McMenamin via sojo.net.
6. What Covering Heavy Metal Taught Me About Spotting Nazis
Often, they make it easy by wrapping themselves in swastikas and trumpeting their repulsive beliefs to whoever will give them a platform. But some prefer to hide in plain sight, or to obscure their intent. By Kim Kelly via Columbia Journalism Review.
7. Accountability Is a Prerequisite for Healing
King’s vision of beloved community is the antitheses of the dystopian vision of “Make America Great Again.” By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
8. Parler’s Amateur Coding Could Come Back to Haunt Capitol Hill Rioters
Some 80 terabytes of posts, many already deleted, preserved for posterity. By Dan Goodin via Ars Technica.
9. Resist a White, Male Way of Leading, Trailblazing Women Faith Leaders Advise Harris
“The way we change systems as African American women is to fully inhabit ourselves," said Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. By Gina Ciliberto via sojo.net.
10. The Seneca Nation Is Building Food Sovereignty, One Bison at a Time
The pandemic has spurred a reconnection to farming and Indigenous culture and foodways for the Seneca Nation. By Gabriel Pietrorazio via Civil Eats.