A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

Holy Balls: Power, Masculinity, and the Making of White American Evangelicalism w/ Kristin Kobes Du Mez

January 13, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 14
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Holy Balls: Power, Masculinity, and the Making of White American Evangelicalism w/ Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Kristin Kobes Du Mez about her book that's been making waves and is brilliantly titled Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.  This book is probably our favorite of 2020 and is a must-read. During the course of this interview, we chat about everything from toxic masculinity and power hungry religious leaders to Amy Grant and Tiffany. Seriously.

The whiskey featured in this episode is Weller Special Reserve bourbon from the fantastic Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

00:00

much of the opposition to

00:03

kind of civil rights post civil rights

00:05

act you know

00:06

1964 and 1965 so the majority of

00:08

evangelicals were okay with that and

00:10

then they thought okay

00:11

we're good that that's good uh anything

00:14

beyond

00:15

that could easily get dismantled as

00:18

and disrupting the social order the law

00:21

and order politics

00:23

really strong by the late 60s and

00:25

certainly by the 70s in evangelical

00:27

circles

00:28

and yes marxism target with marxism

00:31

also a slightly uh less extreme

00:35

socialism or marxism but it's big

00:36

government and we're anti-big government

00:39

and of course in that moment what is the

00:41

big government doing what is the federal

00:43

government

00:44

doing they are interfering with states

00:46

rights in order to enforce desegregation

00:52

[Music]

00:54

welcome to a pastor and a philosopher

00:56

walk into a bar the podcast where we mix

00:58

a sometimes weird but always delicious

01:01

cocktail of theology

01:02

philosophy and spirituality hey elliot

01:05

here and i just thought i would pop

01:06

in you know as i was editing i thought

01:08

it might be unclear

01:10

that this episode was recorded prior to

01:12

the insurrection that we saw play out

01:14

last week as trump supporters overtook

01:16

the capital

01:17

and so you're not going to hear that

01:18

reference specifically

01:21

that said it's amazing to see how the

01:23

topics that we covered

01:25

continue to play out as history in front

01:27

of our eyes

01:28

and so i found this to be a really

01:29

insightful conversation

01:31

one of my favorite episodes to date it

01:33

also started with one of my favorite

01:35

tastings to date

01:36

so we'll hop back in there

01:40

just in case there's some new listeners

01:41

hopefully there are so welcome

01:43

and um what we do on the show this is a

01:46

pastor and a philosopher walk into a bar

01:48

after all we do a tasting

01:50

of some spirits and i don't mean the

01:52

holy spirit um

01:54

of usually whiskey or beer and we talk

01:56

about it a little bit because we like to

01:58

have conversations that happen

02:00

in a bar that you might have in a bar so

02:02

kyle what are we drinking today

02:04

so today we are drinking one of my

02:06

favorite go-to

02:08

bourbons if i can find it which is not

02:11

that

02:11

likely anymore it used to be easy to

02:13

find but it's one of those that has

02:14

become popular and so now it's snatched

02:16

up immediately

02:18

this is weller special reserve bourbon

02:22

comes in at 45 alcohol by volume it's a

02:25

weeded bourbon in fact

02:26

they claim that it's the first weeded

02:28

bourbon i don't know the history of that

02:29

but

02:30

that means that wheat is the main

02:32

secondary grain

02:34

in the mash bill and this is distilled

02:36

by buffalo trace

02:37

distillery in frankfurt kentucky i mean

02:40

how many

02:41

amazing brands of bourbon come out of

02:43

buffalo trace distillery

02:44

all the all the most hyped ones pretty

02:46

much at this point are almost

02:47

all of them yep so this is weller

02:51

special reserve is there a weller

02:53

non-special reserve

02:54

uh there are a few different varieties

02:57

of weller this is probably the easiest

02:59

to find or

03:00

this one or maybe one called weller

03:02

antique i believe it's called antique

03:04

107 or something like that

03:06

there's a 12 year that's pretty

03:07

difficult to find that is

03:10

fantastic if you ever find a bottle

03:12

snatch it up immediately

03:13

and then they have some other

03:14

expressions that are exceedingly rare

03:16

there's a

03:17

william larue weller which is the full

03:19

name of the guy it's named after

03:20

it's part of the buffalo trace antique

03:22

collection and if you ever

03:24

find a bottle of that don't tell anyone

03:26

where you found it

03:29

and keep it and open it on a special

03:30

occasion that actually

03:32

is the the best bourbon i've ever had

03:36

maybe the best whiskey i've ever had the

03:38

william larryweller

03:40

wow yeah this doesn't quite approach

03:42

that but

03:43

but nonetheless it's in the same family

03:45

and i think it's delicious

03:46

now i feel like i'm getting cheated like

03:49

[Laughter]

03:50

there's something better than this well

03:53

here we go weller

03:55

the nose is hot i haven't tasted it yet

03:58

yeah i find this to be one of them

04:00

one of them this line of bourbons to be

04:02

one some of the best balance

04:04

they have that hit a sweetness on the

04:06

front because of the wheat

04:09

but they're they're just really well

04:11

balanced the spice

04:13

the caramel notes a little bit of black

04:17

pepper on the end

04:18

yeah the way that the spice layers on

04:20

top of the vanilla and the sweetness is

04:21

just

04:22

really delicious it's so much more mild

04:24

than an easy drinking than i thought it

04:26

was going to be when i heard that it was

04:27

45

04:28

when i smelled it even it smelled hot to

04:30

me it smelled sweet

04:32

but it's very luscious and it has a

04:34

great mouth feel

04:36

it's not hot on the tongue it's it's

04:39

rich it's got these low notes it doesn't

04:41

have the you can tell it's weeded that's

04:43

what i think

04:44

yeah is that that part that is weeded

04:46

the rye isn't very high in there so it's

04:48

not super spicy

04:49

it just brings a lot of caramely stuff

04:51

it brings a lot of oak it brings a lot

04:53

of that barrel but

04:54

without the heat and spice yeah now

04:57

imagine that this sat for

04:59

there there's no age statement on

05:00

william larue weller so i don't know

05:02

exactly how long but imagine this set

05:03

for several more years

05:06

imagine what that would do to it yeah

05:08

delicious yeah this is

05:10

incredible but it is also like you say

05:13

incredibly hard to find

05:15

yeah nowadays it kind of is you kind of

05:16

have to get lucky or trade for it or

05:18

something

05:19

if you can't find it though it's what 30

05:21

35 bucks

05:22

it's not that much if you're able to

05:24

find it on the shelf yeah it shouldn't

05:25

be

05:26

much more than that wow well if you do

05:29

find it

05:30

get it yeah buy it buy a couple of them

05:33

keep them to a pre impress people maybe

05:36

buy an extra well we wouldn't encourage

05:38

people

05:38

selling them on aftermarket right now

05:40

don't do that you're part of the price

05:42

[Music]

05:45

we have a fun episode for you today

05:48

really really fun actually

05:49

there's this book that came out in 2020

05:52

that's

05:53

really rocked a lot of boats

05:54

particularly within the church and

05:56

within evangelicalism called

05:58

jesus and john wayne and we get to talk

06:00

to the author dr

06:01

kristin kobus dumay thank you so much

06:03

for joining us

06:04

oh thank you it's great to be here i

06:07

read your book

06:07

jesus and john wayne for a sermon series

06:10

actually that

06:10

we did this fall and uh i was pretty

06:13

much living that entire time with my jaw

06:15

on the ground so i'm

06:16

super super excited to have you with us

06:19

uh today we've got a bunch of questions

06:21

for you

06:22

but so yeah sorry i'm sorry it was a

06:25

fascinating book and i couldn't hold

06:26

back so

06:28

and this outline is after i told kyle he

06:30

had to take several

06:31

several questions off it was just too

06:32

much can you

06:35

kristen is that okay if we call you

06:36

kristen yes please all right kristen

06:38

could you just tell us a little bit

06:39

about yourself your background and

06:41

what got you to where you are now sure i

06:44

i grew up in a small town in iowa sea

06:46

center iowa

06:48

is a very uh kind of conservative

06:51

enclave i grew up in a

06:52

dutch community a christian reformed

06:55

church and so

06:57

uh rather isolated in retrospect i can

07:00

see

07:01

i uh my family moved to florida for a

07:03

couple years while i was in high school

07:05

and then i ended up being an exchange

07:06

student in germany so i did see a bit of

07:08

the world

07:09

but then i came back to sioux center and

07:12

uh went to college at dort a christian

07:14

university

07:15

and from there i went off to study uh

07:18

religious and intellectual history at

07:20

the university of notre dame

07:22

in my very first semester there just a

07:24

few weeks in

07:25

i encountered my first book of women's

07:27

history gender studies

07:29

and it just rocked my world and i

07:31

completely

07:33

shifted my course of study i kept the

07:34

study of american religious history but

07:36

added a field in women's history and

07:38

gender

07:39

and i just was fascinated by how ideas

07:43

of masculinity and femininity changed

07:45

over time how they were linked to

07:47

all sorts of broader shifts economic

07:50

shifts foreign policy

07:52

and i think you can kind of see how one

07:54

thing led to another

07:56

my first book was actually a history of

07:57

christian feminism

07:59

and uh this book actually grew out of a

08:02

conversation that i had with some

08:04

students

08:04

about 15 years ago who

08:07

introduced me to john eldridge's wild at

08:10

heart

08:11

and conceptions of kind of militant

08:14

christian manhood and this was right

08:16

during the early years of the iraq war

08:18

and i started wondering what these

08:21

militant conceptions of masculinity

08:23

might have to do

08:24

with uh the survey data that was coming

08:26

out at the time that white evangelicals

08:28

were

08:29

far and away more likely to support the

08:31

wars to support preemptive war condone

08:33

the use of torture

08:34

and you know this militarism that was

08:36

very pronounced and so

08:38

that really set me on the path

08:39

eventually to write

08:41

jesus and john wayne so you've been

08:42

working on this for 15 years

08:44

no so i started i should fill in the

08:47

gaps there

08:48

i i i did start for about a year kind of

08:50

playing around this is before i'd

08:51

written my first book

08:53

which which had grown out of my

08:54

dissertation so i had a few other things

08:56

going on but

08:57

i was just dabbling in this project uh

09:00

and and then i ended up setting it aside

09:02

for a couple of reasons i had two kids

09:04

in quick succession and realized i

09:06

couldn't write two books at once and

09:08

um but also i was really disturbed by

09:11

what i was

09:12

discovering i i i found it revolting

09:15

frankly it was deeply misogynistic

09:17

i was going to say how do you write

09:18

about this for 15 years no

09:20

no that was part of the reason i set

09:22

aside but related to that

09:23

it wasn't clear to me how mainstream

09:26

this all was

09:27

right so i was wondering am i just

09:29

seeing this this fringe movement

09:31

and do i need to be shining this bright

09:33

light on what might be the darkest

09:35

underbelly of american christianity

09:37

uh you know is this is this worth the

09:39

effort and does this need to be done

09:41

and i just wasn't really sure so i set

09:43

it aside took up other projects

09:45

uh you know life kind of happened and

09:48

then it was in the fall of 2016

09:50

actually in the weeks after the access

09:52

hollywood tape released that

09:54

i thought yeah i need to dust off that

09:56

old research i i'm seeing some things

09:59

come together and particularly that

10:01

question of

10:02

how much of this is really fringe and

10:03

how much of it is really close to the

10:05

mainstream

10:06

um was solved at that point that's

10:08

actually a great segue into

10:10

my first question about the book so my

10:12

area of research i'm an epistemologist

10:14

and i've

10:15

recently been thinking a lot about echo

10:16

chambers and public trust and that sort

10:18

of thing

10:19

which is highly relevant to many of the

10:21

aspects of the book and so

10:23

i'm curious just right off the bat where

10:26

you landed i guess on that question

10:27

of is it mainstream is it fringe is it

10:30

a cult because there are some stark

10:33

similarities between

10:35

the ways that evangelicals have

10:37

organized themselves socially

10:39

and the ways that that groups that

10:41

anyone would recognize as a cult

10:43

organize themselves and also

10:45

similarities in thought patterns

10:47

so one piece of the book that made me

10:49

think of this in particular is you were

10:51

talking about john wayne's movies the

10:53

alamo and the green berets and at one

10:55

point you said

10:56

the fact that those movies were

10:57

viciously panned and vilified was a

11:00

point in their favor

11:01

for a lot of evangelicals and that's

11:03

like a classic feature of cults

11:05

or echo chambers right the the you're

11:08

like immunized against critique

11:10

you encounter the critique but it

11:11

doesn't have an impact because

11:13

you're already you've already been told

11:14

what to think about it yeah that's like

11:16

classic cult move and that's exactly

11:18

what evangelicals do so

11:19

is it fair to call evangelicalism a cult

11:22

at this point

11:23

oh so i'm i'm not an expert on cults but

11:25

i do know enough to know to be careful

11:27

with that terminology

11:28

right there's a kind of popular usage

11:29

and then there's a more technical usage

11:31

i think it would be fair to call some of

11:34

these more extreme communities within

11:36

evangelicalism cult-like and i'm

11:38

thinking here particularly

11:40

some of the independent fundamental

11:41

baptist communities

11:44

and and then evangelicalism writ large

11:48

there are some tendencies as you suggest

11:50

this

11:51

kind of inoculation against external

11:54

critique

11:55

this persecution complex really the

11:58

sense of

11:59

us versus them and that we hold the

12:01

truth we hold

12:02

god's truth and anybody outside of these

12:05

walls outside of this community

12:08

they do not have the source of truth and

12:10

so why would we want to empower them and

12:11

so there are certainly some

12:13

tendencies that i think are run parallel

12:16

that said no i don't think most white

12:19

evangelicals are in a cult right now

12:22

what fascinated me though was the

12:24

relationship between

12:26

the more mainstream the more moderate if

12:28

you will

12:29

evangelicals and the more more fringe

12:32

parts of the movement and i think that's

12:33

a theme that you can see running through

12:35

this book is me trying to test out okay

12:37

you've got bill gothard here

12:39

and then you got james dobson gothard

12:41

definitely extreme james dobson pretty

12:43

mainstream as far as evangelicalism goes

12:46

at the end of the day they're saying

12:48

things that are really quite similar

12:50

and so that's what fascinated me what's

12:52

the connection and what are the

12:53

affinities

12:54

between the moderate quote-unquote

12:57

respectable

12:58

mainstream evangelicals even you know

13:00

institutions like christianity today

13:02

uh and and then these more fringe

13:05

movements and how are the

13:06

alliances forged and boundaries drawn

13:10

so who's who's inside who do we consider

13:13

my brother in christ

13:15

and then who gets excluded ultimately

13:17

who's going to be pushed out of the

13:18

communion who's going to be pushed out

13:20

of the community

13:21

and that's that's really where i ended

13:23

up and so what i see is that there are

13:24

some strong affinities between the

13:26

mainstream and more fringe movements

13:29

and then and that's probably as far as i

13:31

i could go

13:32

discussing whether whether or not this

13:33

is a cult although some of the behaviors

13:36

the practices

13:36

are certainly worth examining another

13:40

kind of somewhat related to this thing

13:41

that i've noticed being an evangelical

13:44

my whole life and only recently having

13:45

given up the label

13:47

and largely as a result of higher

13:48

education which is exactly what my

13:50

parents warned me about

13:51

i'm pretty sure my parents think i'm no

13:53

longer a christian because

13:55

i got educated but but interestingly in

13:58

that there seemed to be a double

13:59

standard and this is also something i

14:00

was reminded of in the book when you

14:02

were talking about james dobson

14:04

like people like my parents for example

14:06

or other strongly conservative

14:08

evangelicals that i know they buy

14:10

wholesale into

14:12

this there's a academic cultural elite

14:15

that is against the common person and

14:17

the common the average person would

14:18

include most white evangelicals

14:20

until one of their own gets credentialed

14:23

by the elite

14:24

and then they're like trumpeted as you

14:26

know look they're giving it to the man

14:27

and dobson's a good example of this

14:29

right because he

14:30

he got the credentials from the

14:31

respected university and then he used it

14:33

for evangelical purposes

14:34

so like how should we understand that

14:37

kind of seeming double standard there

14:39

oh i mean yeah i think you you got that

14:42

exactly right

14:42

there's a real suspicion of

14:46

again of outsiders of outside knowledge

14:49

of outside expertise that was something

14:51

that

14:52

uh it was very clear through my research

14:54

you know decades ago evangelicals were

14:57

saying you know we need our own media

14:59

don't consume mainstream media

15:01

mainstream news we need our own

15:03

you know news organizations we need our

15:05

own magazines we need our own you know

15:08

we have our own christian contemporary

15:09

music and all that this call this

15:11

evangelical subculture and that was

15:14

developed and it was so strong

15:15

because they were rejecting so much of

15:18

the mainstream

15:19

culture at the time and and continuing

15:22

to today and i think we see the same

15:24

thing with kind of academic expertise

15:26

that if it is one of our own

15:28

and if we can then hold that up as see

15:31

we can do it but we can do it even

15:33

better and

15:34

and that then they they gain this this

15:37

real status

15:38

within evangelicalism and you can see

15:40

that with with scholars with academics

15:43

i think somebody like eric mataxis is

15:44

kind of an interesting example here

15:46

where you know just even five years ago

15:49

or maybe we need to go six years ago

15:51

but certainly 10 years ago you know he

15:53

was known

15:54

as kind of the evangelical intellectual

15:57

and he could hold his

15:58

own socrates in the city and so on and

16:00

he was really

16:01

um you know uh admired for

16:05

that that he could kind of go to toe

16:07

with the brightest the best and the

16:08

brightest

16:09

and in new york city of all places and

16:11

you know it's been interesting to see

16:13

what he's become especially in recent

16:15

years and recent weeks

16:17

um and and to wonder what that was right

16:19

that was just an act that was

16:21

has evangelicalism changed so much you

16:23

know i think in some ways it has but now

16:25

there's a different appeal

16:27

and being the suave intellectual isn't

16:30

where it's at at all anymore uh

16:31

it's really i think given into this

16:34

populist movement

16:35

and mataxis four or five years ago saw

16:38

where it was going he was very astute

16:40

and kind of changed his tune and now

16:42

he's trying to do the populist thing

16:44

which may or may not work out well for

16:46

him

16:48

maybe he'll run for president in four

16:49

years oh god

16:53

my first thing in your book and again

16:55

that's jesus and john wayne

16:56

how white evangelicals corrupted a faith

16:59

and fractured a nation

17:00

but the first light bulb that went on

17:01

was when you talked about how

17:03

book stores of all places are kind of

17:05

like the key holders

17:07

and the stakeholders and who's in and

17:08

who's out really like you have

17:10

i grew up going to family christian

17:12

store you know i mean i say that

17:14

to my shame but family christian store

17:17

lifeway

17:18

what is it lifeway publishers yeah

17:21

funded by the

17:22

sbc basically this reality that

17:25

maybe three four guys who have power

17:28

within evangelicalism who's who are kind

17:30

of self-appointed and also just seen as

17:32

being the the end all be all the

17:34

authority

17:35

if and when they decide that rachel held

17:39

evans

17:39

is no longer in the camp or jen hatmaker

17:42

is no longer

17:43

christian she's now a hair taker rob

17:45

bell goodbye rob bell from john piper

17:48

the minute that they decide that these

17:49

bookstores take their stuff off the

17:51

shelves

17:51

and immediately they become irrelevant

17:53

heretics that nobody ever

17:54

talks about that blew me away yeah yeah

17:57

that is how that works and you know

17:59

the the christian bookstore i i'm i

18:00

really lament

18:02

as a researcher that christian bookstore

18:04

chains have gone out of business

18:06

because it it would i would just uh as

18:09

research practice every month or so walk

18:11

through a christian bookstore

18:13

long before i knew i'd be writing this

18:14

book just to kind of take the pulse

18:16

of evangelical consumer culture you know

18:19

which books are being

18:20

you know uh promoted which books are um

18:24

you know on the shelves uh what sorts of

18:26

uh home decor

18:28

those sorts of things and so uh it

18:31

always fascinated me and i think this is

18:32

uh autobiographical of it too because i

18:34

talked about growing up in a

18:36

uh kind of ethnic enclave i did not

18:39

identify as evangelical even though it

18:40

was very conservative christian

18:42

it was in the christian reform tradition

18:44

and

18:45

my tradition really long identified over

18:48

against american evangelicalism we were

18:50

distinctive

18:51

and so i never identified as an

18:53

evangelical that said when i met

18:56

real evangelicals when i went off to

18:57

notre dame which is not where you would

18:59

think you would go to meet evangelicals

19:01

turns out there are a lot of folks there

19:03

studying with my advisor at the time

19:05

george marston

19:06

who were coming from moody bible

19:08

institute coming from bob jones coming

19:09

from wheaton college

19:11

and so i met real evangelicals and the

19:13

the

19:14

points of connections that we had were

19:16

precisely the the popular culture

19:18

because in my hometown a town of 6000

19:20

people there was one bookstore it was a

19:22

christian bookstore right and so i was

19:25

exposed even though i never identified

19:26

as an evangelical i was always

19:28

calvinist christian reformed dutch but

19:31

my whole cultural formation in the faith

19:35

was the books that were sold there the

19:36

music that was sold there

19:38

you know every every kind of um

19:41

graduation

19:42

or major life event i would get a wall

19:44

plaque that had some bible verse or

19:45

saying on it

19:46

you know the latest chuck colson book

19:49

right was gifted to me and so i was very

19:52

much participating in that subculture in

19:53

the consumer culture

19:55

even though i didn't attend what i

19:57

considered an evangelical church or even

19:59

identify as an evangelical

20:02

so kristen just because you went there

20:03

what was in the playlist

20:05

of kristen kobe's uh growing up in high

20:08

school

20:09

all right let's talk so jars of clay

20:13

jars of clay that's gonna date me um

20:16

but before that even petra oh my gosh

20:19

don't let your hearts be hardened

20:21

um amy grant of course always

20:24

michael card um so a little better taste

20:27

um

20:28

right right uh let's see what else um

20:32

michael w smith michael w smith

20:34

absolutely michael w smith

20:36

and um and then i

20:39

um my one kind of secular

20:43

purchase which was really bad i didn't

20:46

listen to

20:46

secular radio at all i considered that

20:49

disobedient

20:50

but i i gave into temptation and bought

20:53

a tiffany cassette tiffany

20:58

so my parents when they actually heard

20:59

the lyrics we're not super thrilled we

21:01

had to have a talk about that but yeah

21:03

that's as much as i dabbled in actual

21:06

popular music

21:07

wow i mean judging by who you listen to

21:09

we must be really close in age because

21:11

those were

21:12

all mine yeah wow that's incredible we

21:14

could do it we could do a whole little

21:16

like mini episode on 80s and 90s

21:19

christian contemporary musical pop

21:21

culture oh

21:21

definitely definitely so i i do have

21:25

one question that it's about a topic

21:27

that doesn't have a

21:28

very prominent place in the book but you

21:30

say at one point as

21:32

a quote same-sex relationships challenge

21:35

the most basic assumptions

21:37

of the evangelical worldview so most of

21:39

the book is about gender

21:41

complementarianism and women's issues

21:42

and occasionally you touch on the lgbtq

21:45

stuff so

21:46

would would you mind fleshing out that

21:47

statement for us sure

21:49

yeah i could have written more on that

21:51

that was one of the topics

21:52

i kept thinking can i do more can i uh

21:55

do i have space i was really

21:57

really up against word count in this

21:58

book uh way over actually it had to turn

22:01

it back considerably

22:02

and then pulling together so many

22:04

different threads uh through the book

22:06

and so i was wondering could

22:08

could i add that really could have done

22:10

more on

22:11

same-sex relationships and more on

22:13

abortion both of those are part of this

22:15

narrative but not a major part

22:17

and what i meant by that is you know

22:20

when i really started to think about

22:22

you know the hot button issues that

22:24

emerged

22:25

in the religious right both abortion and

22:27

same-sex marriage

22:29

both of those really went against

22:32

this all important gender difference as

22:35

a fundamental kind of ordering of

22:37

creation

22:38

ordering of society that god made men

22:41

and women

22:42

utterly different and in that these

22:45

distinct

22:46

gender roles that you know men were

22:47

protectors and providers and women were

22:49

weak and submissive and

22:50

they needed to you know be very feminine

22:53

and protected and just

22:54

utterly distinct you know dobson makes

22:56

that very clear

22:58

that that was really the fundamental

23:00

difference and then and then marriage

23:02

was you know where you bring

23:03

difference together in a hierarchical

23:06

relationship which again orders society

23:08

and then the rest of societies

23:09

is built upon that relationship

23:13

and that was so fundamental so same-sex

23:16

relationships just completely blew that

23:18

out of the water right

23:20

gender difference this complementarian

23:22

relationship the the

23:24

building blocks of society which they

23:26

believed was you know god ordained

23:28

throughout all of time

23:29

the marker of faithful uh you know

23:32

obedient christianity

23:34

and so really for me it was trying to

23:36

understand why

23:37

why was that such a hot button issue

23:41

in ways that others other issues were

23:43

not and you could say well you know

23:44

christians have always been

23:46

you know against homosexuality until you

23:49

start looking at history and it's a lot

23:50

more complicated and yes there certainly

23:52

is this long tradition

23:54

of opposition but there's also a lot of

23:56

fluidity especially look at

23:58

the history of sexuality and then the

24:00

relationship between

24:01

christianity and the history of

24:03

sexuality and it's just much more

24:04

complicated

24:05

but it certainly became a flash point

24:08

and

24:09

in in the 1960s in the 1970s

24:12

as did abortion right an abortion i

24:14

think is in some ways a clearer sense of

24:17

it became a flashpoint not as

24:20

early as we would have thought it would

24:22

be right it was not at the

24:24

origins of the rise of the religious

24:26

right

24:27

it came along a little bit later when it

24:29

was really identified

24:31

with this idea of what is a woman's

24:33

proper role when it was identified with

24:35

feminism

24:36

threatening that appropriate role that's

24:38

when evangelicals

24:40

really coalesced as a kind of pro-life

24:43

movement whereas in the late 60s many

24:45

evangelicals including conservative

24:47

evangelicals

24:48

had very mixed views on abortion it

24:51

wasn't a great thing

24:52

it was sometimes necessary it was

24:53

sometimes needed it was

24:55

it was just not this this flash point

24:58

that it would become

24:59

just even a decade later in the context

25:02

of this

25:03

real kind of doubling down on gender

25:06

difference

25:06

and family values as as just the

25:09

foundation

25:10

of religious orthodoxy and

25:13

over against feminism over against these

25:16

disruptions of the 1960s and 1970s

25:20

so i really just wanted to historicize

25:22

it and

25:24

rather than start with abortion

25:26

homosexuality

25:27

always these these contentious issues

25:29

that they

25:30

they became that way as part of a

25:33

broader historical context and

25:36

and we should understand them in that in

25:38

that sense in the chapter god's gift to

25:40

man where you talk about these

25:43

major feminine voices within

25:45

evangelicalism

25:46

starting at mirabelle morgan phyllis

25:48

schlafly elizabeth elliott and

25:50

all sorts of them who basically actively

25:54

worked against feminism and against the

25:56

equal rights amendment

25:58

and equal rights for women equal pay the

26:00

whole thing

26:01

blew me away it reminds me to candace

26:04

owens and people like her these

26:06

african-american folks who

26:07

will just say really loudly that racism

26:10

is not a thing and it's just an imagined

26:11

thing and here's all the reasons and

26:13

then basically what that does

26:14

it seems to me is it gives a lot of

26:17

white

26:18

evangelical americans the right to say

26:21

hey see that african-american woman said

26:23

racism

26:24

isn't a thing so i'm right and it's okay

26:26

for me to be racist

26:28

what what's going on there you're you're

26:30

a woman yes

26:32

you've researched that you've researched

26:34

that i mean

26:36

were you equally as appalled i mean

26:37

what's what's that dynamic what

26:39

what's the reasoning and the rationale

26:41

behind that do you think

26:43

so let's see a difference between what

26:45

we see in the 60s and 70s and even to

26:47

today with conservative white

26:48

evangelical women and somebody like

26:50

candace owens

26:51

is that the evangelical women who

26:54

are leaders who are you know kind of

26:57

gain celebrity status

26:59

by promoting this conservative

27:01

femininity

27:02

represent far like more

27:05

women then candace owens would represent

27:08

you know

27:08

african-americans in this country so so

27:11

i think it is somewhat different

27:12

and and within evangelicalism women

27:16

like you know beverly lahay or you know

27:18

phyllis schlafly was a

27:20

was catholic but i kind of consider her

27:22

an honorary evangelical because

27:23

evangelicals embraced her and she was

27:25

extremely influential within evangelical

27:27

circles

27:28

but women like elizabeth elliot and so

27:30

they're they're not

27:31

just they don't just give cover they

27:34

really do

27:35

inspire they represent other

27:37

conservative evangelical women and they

27:39

inspire conservative women

27:41

to embrace this this understanding of

27:44

what it means to be a faithful christian

27:46

woman

27:47

and that just comes through over and

27:48

over again when i looked

27:50

at what was going on in the 60s and 70s

27:53

i actually

27:54

i mean i was horrified when i knew kind

27:56

of where it ended up but i

27:58

i really understood i think where many

28:00

of these women were coming

28:02

from because even though i identify as a

28:04

feminist and i'm very grateful for the

28:07

opportunities that feminism

28:08

has given to me when kind of feminism

28:12

is is just kind of you know announced it

28:16

comes on the scene in dramatic ways in

28:18

the 1970s

28:19

and many women had already kind of made

28:22

life choices

28:23

many women already didn't have the

28:25

education they would need to have much

28:26

of a career many women had opted out of

28:28

careers many women were at home with

28:30

three or four kids

28:32

right they had no real economic

28:33

prospects and so for women

28:36

in those situations being told hey guess

28:39

what you're equal

28:40

or being being told in a fear-mongering

28:43

kind of way

28:44

they're gonna take away your femininity

28:46

they're gonna force you to be like men

28:47

they're gonna force you to go fight wars

28:49

they're gonna force you to go

28:51

earn your keep good luck with that right

28:53

and that's the messaging that they were

28:54

getting you can see where for many women

28:56

this was not liberation

28:58

this was scary and they had already made

29:01

their choices and so it was it was kind

29:03

of you know playing with the hand that

29:05

you were dealt

29:06

but then again i don't want to detract

29:09

from the fact that

29:10

so many conservative christian women

29:13

truly believed

29:14

that the way to be a godly woman the way

29:18

to honor god and be faithful

29:20

to to to to christ really

29:24

was to live this this domesticity

29:28

this this uh conservative femininity and

29:31

i just don't think we can undersell that

29:33

and and that is still the case for so

29:35

many women that i meet today including

29:37

many of my students

29:38

right i teach at a christian university

29:40

and they the messaging is still

29:42

very powerful that as a christian woman

29:45

you have

29:45

certain duties and these have to come

29:48

first

29:48

and these other things are likely to

29:50

distract from those

29:51

and and you just you know you can you

29:53

can get an education great you can

29:55

start a career if you like but just make

29:57

sure that you have your priorities

29:58

straight in order to

29:59

really honor god with your life and so

30:02

there's a real

30:03

sincere faith that's also at play but

30:05

that faith of course has been

30:07

formed by generations of teachings of

30:10

preaching from the pulpit of books by

30:13

elizabeth elliott you know organizations

30:15

like beverly la hayes and so this is not

30:18

just an organic

30:19

kind of understanding this this is an

30:22

ideology that has been perpetuated for

30:25

generations in very

30:26

very powerful ways yeah as you're saying

30:30

that i'm thinking of like

30:31

really good friends of mine who

30:34

to this day would probably have a hard

30:36

time conceptualizing

30:38

a christian life without the influence

30:40

of somebody like elizabeth elliott i

30:41

think it's really

30:42

difficult to overstate the influence

30:45

that she had

30:47

and outside of the evangelical

30:48

subculture nobody seems to have heard of

30:50

her but within it like

30:51

the sort of fundamentalist campus

30:53

ministry that i was in in college

30:55

there were two books that were required

30:56

reading for everyone in that group

30:58

one was i think it was called passion

31:00

and purity every

31:02

every woman in the group had to read

31:04

that book and every man was expected to

31:05

read

31:06

the one that she wrote to her nephew

31:07

with a mark of a man or whatever

31:09

oh and as an impressionable 20 year old

31:11

i was kind of convinced about it because

31:14

she

31:15

maybe uniquely i'm not sure she is the

31:18

the clearest that i found among the

31:20

amongst the complementarians on

31:22

rooting that kind of uh understanding of

31:25

gender

31:25

in an understanding of the trinity he's

31:27

very explicit about it

31:29

so it gives you this like unshakable

31:31

theological grounding

31:33

for why it is this way and why it

31:34

obviously must be this way

31:36

exactly exactly she she kind of led the

31:38

way with that

31:39

what some people would call heresy and

31:41

others would defend his biblical truth

31:43

today

31:44

uh right the the eternal subordination

31:46

of the sun

31:47

as uh a model of the eternal

31:50

subordination

31:51

of women woof i mean that's just

31:54

hilarious and ironic that that that was

31:57

that idea

31:58

it came from a woman right right right

32:01

that's the maddening thing to me though

32:03

is

32:03

i mean i've had conversations like this

32:05

i'm sure you guys have i'm sure

32:06

listeners have

32:07

where you're talking with a woman and

32:09

you're trying to convince her

32:11

of her it's not her value because she'd

32:13

say i'm valuable

32:14

but that like she's got more in her than

32:17

she thinks

32:17

and and she's arguing with you against

32:20

that that's a that's a crazy

32:23

crazy thing and it makes me

32:26

a little upset at some of you know the

32:28

elizabeth elliots of the world

32:30

because that is such a powerful thing

32:32

that tool that they have there

32:33

is you know that men that misogynistic

32:37

men

32:38

and leaders can continue suppressing

32:40

women

32:41

because of the females that say no this

32:44

is great this is the way we're created

32:46

this should be that is that's a powerful

32:48

argument

32:49

for and someone are wired to really you

32:51

know enjoy

32:52

you know some women really have no

32:54

desire to have a career some women

32:55

absolutely love being in the home being

32:58

a mom

32:59

and a wife and that is great um

33:03

and you know the problems obviously come

33:06

when that becomes the only way

33:08

to be a christian woman and for many

33:10

many women who are

33:11

not wired to really find their

33:13

fulfillment to to feel that they are

33:15

called in different directions or in

33:17

multiple directions and then to be told

33:19

that you are disobedient

33:21

and you cannot be a faithful christian

33:23

if you follow what you feel really

33:24

are you know or to use christian

33:26

language the vocation that god has given

33:29

you

33:30

and that's where where the tension

33:32

emerges but for some women they are

33:33

they are perfectly content and and kind

33:36

of wired to be that way and

33:38

i think that part of the the um the

33:41

power of these teachings this ideology

33:43

was to tell

33:44

those women that their life their way of

33:47

life was threatened

33:48

that they were going to be kind of

33:50

ripped out of their homes and forced

33:52

to do something that they didn't want to

33:54

do by feminism by the era

33:56

by big government by whatever whatever

33:58

that the threat of the day

34:00

might be yep yeah so we we've hit on

34:04

we've hit on lgbtq issues and now

34:07

feminism let's let's get the evangelical

34:09

hot

34:10

hot button issue trifecta here uh go for

34:12

the hat trick

34:13

uh let's talk about racism so

34:16

here's just a very direct way to put the

34:19

question is there

34:20

an evangelicalism without racism

34:24

yes there is uh and

34:27

to answer this more fully though we're

34:29

going to have to get into the tricky

34:31

definition

34:31

of you know what is evangelicalism what

34:33

are we talking about and

34:35

you'll notice in the subtitle i was very

34:37

explicit this is a story about white

34:39

evangelicalism

34:40

and uh you can evangelicalism itself is

34:43

a term that has really morphed in

34:45

meaning

34:46

over time you know from the 18th century

34:49

through the 19th century early 20th

34:51

century mid 20th century you can kind of

34:53

trace the

34:54

the shift the meaning that the term

34:57

connoted

34:58

at different moments in history and i

35:00

mean that's something i do a little bit

35:01

in the book and i've done more elsewhere

35:03

but what i push back against in this

35:06

book

35:07

are attempts to define evangelicalism

35:09

purely as

35:10

a set of theological beliefs so this

35:14

kind of rubric that okay you believe in

35:15

conversionism the centrality of the

35:17

cross

35:18

you know the authority of the bible and

35:19

boom boom there you are an evangelical

35:22

and then you just lump all these

35:23

evangelicals because if you do that

35:25

then the majority of black protestants

35:27

in the united states are

35:28

quote-unquote evangelical the majority

35:30

of global christians uh

35:31

if they're not catholic they're going to

35:33

be evangelical um and which is

35:35

fine if you're you know for some

35:37

questions to understand

35:39

american evangelicalism as a historical

35:43

and cultural movement

35:45

that's where i say that rubric isn't

35:47

going to get you very far because the

35:48

truth is most black protestants do not

35:50

identify as evangelical

35:52

not at all and there are very clear

35:54

reasons for that right they do not go to

35:55

the same churches

35:56

as white evangelicals for the most part

35:59

they do not

36:00

read the same books listen to the same

36:02

music

36:03

listen to the same radio stations for

36:05

the most part

36:06

so why are we insisting on counting them

36:09

as

36:09

the same thing when we do that we end up

36:12

you know

36:13

our scot some scholars or observers will

36:15

say see uh evangelicalism can't possibly

36:18

be racist

36:18

because we're going to include all black

36:20

protestants and global christians in

36:21

this

36:22

i'm saying no as a historian and as a

36:24

cultural historian i'm gonna look i'm

36:26

gonna describe what i'm seeing

36:27

and this is a a rather distinctive

36:30

movement with a little bit of overlap

36:32

interplay

36:32

with black protestantism with global

36:35

christianity

36:36

but we're really looking at a fairly

36:38

cohesive movement

36:40

networks series of networks uh

36:42

relationships i look at evangelicalism

36:45

again largely as a consumer culture

36:47

are you formed by these consumer

36:49

products

36:50

and when we're looking at that then

36:52

white evangelicalism

36:54

is its own thing and when we look at

36:57

white evangelicalism then we can ask

36:59

your question again

37:00

like can you can you be a white

37:01

evangelical and not be racist

37:04

you still can there is always the kind

37:07

of minority

37:08

movement has always been within white

37:10

evangelicalism over the last half

37:12

century

37:12

the evangelical left has been very

37:14

pro-civil rights anti-racist

37:18

you know this is like the sojourners

37:19

folks in the 1960s 1970s this is i mean

37:22

tom skinner is an african-american

37:23

evangelical like that still is a part of

37:25

the movement

37:26

it's not the dominant part of the

37:28

movement and this is where

37:30

understanding kind of relations of power

37:33

and

37:33

relative power across the movement is

37:35

important to understand white

37:37

evangelicalism you have to understand

37:39

the significance of southern

37:41

evangelicals

37:42

in shaping the broader white evangelical

37:44

movement you can see that through

37:45

migration patterns from the

37:47

the deep south into the sun belt into

37:50

southern california which then goes

37:52

national

37:52

right with the rise of the religious

37:54

right you can look at that in terms of

37:56

the

37:56

kind of celebrity culture the media

37:58

culture i mean john wayne works in the

38:00

title in all kinds of different ways

38:02

this kind of you know hollywood southern

38:05

california

38:06

celebrity evangelicalism that develops

38:09

and

38:09

with with evangelicalism that we see as

38:12

it takes shape

38:13

as a cultural and political movement by

38:15

the end of the 1970s and

38:18

afterwards you cannot separate

38:21

its whiteness from its religious

38:24

identity and its religious values

38:26

and you cannot fully extricate the

38:28

racism that is also a part of the

38:30

movement to greater or lesser degrees so

38:32

some

38:33

white evangelicals particularly i think

38:35

in the south

38:37

in the 1960s 1970s yes they are racist

38:40

they are segregationists they are

38:41

motivated

38:42

out of those values somebody like jerry

38:44

falwell senior right you have the

38:47

development of christian schools

38:48

christian academies that are

38:49

segregationist academies

38:51

and the religious right mobilizes in

38:53

part to defend

38:55

those academies on the right to exist

38:58

that is absolutely part of the story

39:01

of of white evangelicalism today it's

39:04

not the only part and so again the

39:06

interesting thing to me is

39:08

you've got that strand you still have

39:10

racist white evangelicals but you have

39:12

the majority of white evangelicals do

39:15

not think of themselves as racist

39:17

they do not hold personal animosity

39:20

towards people of color for the most

39:24

part

39:25

right if somebody walk into their church

39:26

whatever color they were they'd be

39:28

warmly welcomed

39:29

and so i wanted to understand what kind

39:31

of accommodations

39:33

have taken place what kind of unexamined

39:37

values that are deeply rooted in

39:40

whiteness

39:41

really gives shape to white

39:42

evangelicalism today and that's right

39:44

0.2

39:45

in particular christian nationalism

39:48

which if you think about

39:49

the idea that that america was a

39:50

christian nation founded as god's chosen

39:52

nation everything was really great until

39:54

somewhere around the 1960s

39:56

right that only makes sense if you're a

39:58

white person

40:00

only makes sense and that but it's never

40:02

presented as this is a kind of white

40:03

religious

40:04

identity or white religious value it's

40:06

just the way things

40:07

are within conservative evangelical

40:10

circles so those were the kinds of

40:11

things

40:11

i really tried to bring out in this book

40:13

how race

40:15

worked how whiteness worked to make

40:17

whiteness visible

40:19

when so many evangelicals don't make it

40:21

visible and therefore are not even able

40:23

to

40:24

see it themselves yeah and and some

40:26

evangelical leaders are skilled at

40:28

making it invisible yes

40:29

so one one thing i've noticed and i

40:31

don't know if you've done any specific

40:32

research on this but you mentioned

40:34

something in the book that brings it to

40:35

mind

40:36

is uh we can kind of mask our racism by

40:40

attaching racial activism or activism

40:42

for racial justice

40:43

to something else that we already know

40:45

beyond a shadow of a doubt is bad and

40:47

something we should be against right so

40:49

you mention in the book that um i think

40:52

it was jerry falwell senior

40:54

equated the civil rights movement with

40:56

marxism and everybody knows you're

40:57

supposed to be against the communists

40:59

nobody could define what marxism is and

41:00

nobody's read marx but we all know

41:02

communism is bad

41:03

very bad and today black lives matter

41:05

same thing that's it all over it

41:07

right critical race theory it's uh it's

41:10

either because they're

41:11

in favor of lgbtq stuff or because

41:14

somehow critical race theory is marxist

41:16

again nobody can define marxism

41:18

but but we know that's bad and very few

41:20

people can define critical race theory

41:22

that has been true fascinating even

41:23

including critical race theories

41:25

fascinating to see in the last two years

41:27

yeah for me as a cultural historian as

41:30

somebody who studies this to suddenly

41:32

start hearing all about critical race

41:34

theory

41:35

more than i've ever heard about it

41:36

before so here to hear tim keller

41:38

talk about critical race theory i never

41:41

thought i'd say

41:42

exactly exactly it's it's it's and yes

41:44

and when you know the history you know

41:45

uh we've seen this before

41:47

yep yep so call it marxist call it you

41:50

know

41:50

uh or much of the opposition to

41:53

kind of civil rights post civil rights

41:56

act you know

41:57

1964 and 1965's voting rights act as

42:00

well you know once that was

42:01

many many moderate evangelicals

42:04

supported that uh those measures um so

42:06

this is a billy graham

42:07

type of you know moderate evangelicalism

42:10

whereas fundamentalists and

42:11

in some southern evangelicals still

42:13

opposed even those measures

42:15

but by and large the majority of

42:17

evangelicals were okay with that and

42:18

then they thought okay

42:19

we're good that that's good uh anything

42:22

beyond

42:23

that could easily get dismantled as

42:26

and disrupting the social order so law

42:30

and order politics

42:31

really strong by the late 60s and

42:33

certainly by the 70s in evangelical

42:35

circles

42:36

and yes marxism target with marxism

42:40

also a slightly less extreme

42:43

socialism or marxism but it's big

42:45

government and we're anti-big

42:46

government and of course in that moment

42:49

what is the big government doing what is

42:51

the federal government doing

42:52

they are interfering with states rights

42:55

in order to

42:56

enforce desegregation so again

42:58

historical context is just

43:00

really critical because there are so

43:01

many of these words that really are

43:03

racially coded words and evangelicals

43:07

can use those so fluently and have been

43:10

for generations

43:12

that if you don't know the history it's

43:14

hard to understand

43:15

just how racialized those those values

43:18

actually are so in chapter 11 otherwise

43:22

known as

43:22

the best chapter name in the book holy

43:24

balls in

43:26

in the chapter holy balls kristin you

43:28

write pretty extensively about the black

43:30

hole that is

43:31

it was and really is the

43:33

testosterone-fueled

43:34

new calvinist movement the neo-reformed

43:37

guys and you talk a lot about mark

43:39

driscoll in particular

43:40

but there's all these superstar mega

43:42

church pastors who and many of them

43:45

have fallen from grace i mean it was

43:46

there was it felt like a year and a half

43:48

where it was just like domino's falling

43:50

whether it's driscoll or mcdonald or c.j

43:52

mahany all of them

43:54

do you think these guys had major doc

43:57

you know they had doctrinal differences

43:59

that we're talking about in a little bit

44:00

but they really their theology is very

44:02

ironclad and it's really

44:03

in many ways i would say

44:04

testosterone-fueled masculine-driven

44:06

theology

44:07

these neo-reformed guys do you think

44:08

that theology had anything to do with

44:10

the way they found them

44:11

that their end in for driscoll i'm just

44:14

going to say

44:14

ministry-wise unfortunately it wasn't

44:16

the end but um

44:18

they're fall from grace do you think

44:19

that had to do anything to do with their

44:21

theology

44:22

actually i think it did you know there's

44:24

there's never a direct

44:26

route and and then it's like well what

44:27

came first were these men

44:29

drawn to this theology because of how

44:32

they were wired because of who they were

44:34

and because of their own maybe excessive

44:36

testosterone or or perception thereof

44:39

and were they then drawn to this

44:40

theology then this theology reinforced

44:43

those behaviors justified or condoned

44:46

those behaviors it's really hard for me

44:48

to see because i think it it

44:50

it works both ways all the time um and

44:53

then and then watching

44:54

how in that group in particular it

44:57

became really apparent to me just

44:58

how these networks functioned and how

45:02

how so many men were drawn to the power

45:05

of other men

45:07

in wanting to participate in those

45:09

networks want to participate

45:11

in you know to share a stage to emulate

45:15

to pattern their own preaching after

45:18

somebody

45:18

like mark driscoll he was enormously

45:20

popular and he was one of the guys that

45:22

early on

45:23

back you know 15 some years ago i was

45:25

looking at and saying

45:26

who is this guy is he mainstream of

45:29

course he was hugely popular

45:32

the celebrity but was he popular i

45:34

wondered because the media likes to

45:35

cover him because he's so egregious

45:38

but no when you look inside

45:39

evangelicalism he was so

45:41

influential for more than a decade

45:44

really as this model of

45:46

a successful ministry in so

45:49

many evangelical the men that i've

45:51

talked to uh

45:52

listened to him for hours on end his

45:55

his sermons um and so many evangelical

45:59

pastors wanted to be just like him and

46:01

so so that's where

46:02

no his influence was was profound i

46:04

think

46:05

and and so yeah i'm not sure what what

46:08

ultimately came first but the theology

46:10

and the behavior were mutually

46:12

reinforcing and that's part of how we

46:14

got to

46:15

where we ended up yep and i mean

46:18

we could we could do a whole another

46:20

whole episode on

46:21

driscoll and his comrades and what they

46:24

did to the faith and

46:26

both in fashion and in theology let's be

46:29

honest i mean they're

46:30

they're ripped bedazzled jeans mark

46:33

driscoll sold

46:34

many of those fat bracelets and watches

46:37

yes

46:38

yes so in that vein

46:41

you talk about this reality that again

46:43

it's one of those things that it felt

46:44

feels like it's been hiding in plain

46:46

sight when you said it i was like oh my

46:47

gosh yep that's absolutely right

46:48

there's there's all these reformed

46:51

leaders within the church

46:52

and particularly with 10 years ago or so

46:55

who really

46:56

are quite different both in the way they

46:57

carry themselves and the way they preach

46:59

their theology is quite different even

47:01

but they kind of banded together whether

47:03

it's john piper

47:05

mark driscoll john mcarthur you know i

47:08

mean these guys are

47:08

very different doug wilson let's throw

47:10

him in there wilson yeah

47:12

oh my god um and

47:15

you wouldn't expect to see them on the

47:17

same stage in a million years but they

47:18

did and they celebrated one another and

47:20

they looked past they looked overlooked

47:23

one another's

47:24

real nasty stuff because they got a few

47:27

things right and you you make the point

47:28

that

47:29

there's these hands small handful of

47:31

things doctrinal things

47:33

that if you got them right you could be

47:34

part of the brotherhood which were

47:35

mostly

47:36

a doctrine of hell yeah that like was

47:38

dark and scary

47:40

believing that homosexuality is a sin

47:42

believing in penal substitutionary

47:43

theory of atonement that's really

47:45

important right

47:46

there's a couple of others but really

47:48

and then complementarianism you have to

47:50

be complementarian those four things

47:52

were really like if you if you're good

47:54

with all those

47:55

you're in our club that's wild to me

47:58

yeah

47:58

how do you think that came to be how do

48:00

those things rise to the surface

48:03

oh and that's there's no simple answer

48:06

there

48:07

there really isn't going back to the

48:10

1960s is really

48:12

where i'd want to go back to that's when

48:14

you that's when you start to see

48:15

the the battle lines really drawn and

48:17

who is orthodox and who is not and

48:20

and yes gender is very much at the heart

48:23

of that and even things like

48:25

you know penal atonement and the

48:27

existence of hell are also

48:29

cast in gendered terms as the proper

48:32

masculine faith and as the you know

48:35

father

48:36

punishing the son and this kind of you

48:38

know

48:39

harsh discipline which is just you know

48:41

like suck it up this is christianity and

48:43

kind of thing and so

48:44

gender really pervades this for a long

48:47

time

48:48

and still it it puzzled me

48:51

i think to see it to see it take shape

48:54

and i

48:54

i i i watched it take shape because

48:57

in the 1990s so i was born in 1976 so i

49:00

graduated from college in

49:02

in 97 and went off to graduate school

49:05

and up until that time i had

49:07

i had been pretty isolated again in this

49:09

in this ethnic subculture this christian

49:11

reform tradition i went to christian

49:12

reformed

49:13

college very separate from the rest of

49:16

american christianity

49:18

and then i headed off to study american

49:20

religious history and so again i'm

49:22

meeting all these evangelicals and i'm

49:24

kind of getting the lay of the land

49:26

and that's right around the time that

49:27

you see the the burgeoning of this

49:30

young restless and reformed movement and

49:32

i'm hearing about them

49:33

and at first i'm thinking yes finally

49:37

right you know i've been in this little

49:38

enclave and these are my people

49:41

like good for us right you know we're

49:44

john piper reformed i'm reform this is

49:46

awesome and i was in a bible study and

49:47

of course we were reading john piper

49:49

because what else would you read if

49:50

you're in an intervarsity bible study

49:52

right

49:52

in the 90s and and then increasingly i

49:56

came to see

49:57

well gradually i don't think i don't

50:00

think i

50:00

i am this right and they certainly don't

50:04

think that i would be one of them

50:07

uh right i'm not complementarian i i

50:10

took an entire course in in

50:12

the institutes of the christian religion

50:13

at calvin's institutes

50:15

i um i know my reformed theology

50:18

i i've been immersed in it i'm a scholar

50:20

right all that stuff would count for

50:22

nothing i would never share a stage with

50:24

with

50:24

piper unless i'm gonna be you know on

50:27

the side talking to the wives telling

50:28

them to be complementarian kind of thing

50:30

right and that's when i understood

50:32

how boundaries are drawn right and so

50:34

what is what is uniting people

50:36

and is it the historic christian faith

50:38

is it apostolic faith is that you know

50:40

what is no it's not that's not enough

50:43

it's absolutely not enough

50:44

it's this set of issues and it's a very

50:47

gendered

50:48

set of issues and i was de facto

50:50

excluded from

50:51

that and that's kind of this personal um

50:54

realization that came only very

50:56

gradually

50:57

which i think is is then i was trying to

50:59

make sense of in this book

51:01

as well so you kristen you've kind of

51:04

left yourself

51:05

off the hook for my next question then

51:07

which is

51:09

another jaw-dropping moment when i saw

51:10

on twitter that you're

51:12

you you consider yourself reformed like

51:15

that you're just

51:16

you're just not trying to make your

51:17

parents angry right you're not really

51:19

reformed are you

51:21

that's so funny that that moment where i

51:23

where i came out on twitter as

51:25

reformed right i mean i teach at calvin

51:28

university what do you expect

51:31

yes i'm very deeply reformed but the

51:33

reformed christianity that i was

51:35

introduced to

51:37

was filtered through some of my

51:39

undergraduate professors

51:40

none of whom were american they were all

51:43

dutch or dutch canadian

51:45

and so the reformed theology that i

51:49

embraced was not in any way tainted by

51:52

you know christian nationalism by

51:55

american

51:56

politics more generally in fact it was

51:59

often said against that it was more

52:00

influenced by

52:01

you know kind of dutch thinking going

52:04

back to even

52:04

world war ii kind of anti-authoritarian

52:08

and very much a an interpretation of

52:12

calvin that was not scholastic

52:16

not about the rules and enforcing it was

52:20

one that was life-giving that was a

52:24

much warmer and fuzzier version of

52:27

of calvin and that's how i read the

52:29

institutes with that framework in mind

52:31

and and had those parts of the tradition

52:34

really just held out for me and that has

52:37

always been my calvinism

52:39

and that's very much the calvinism of

52:41

calvin university as well where i teach

52:43

so i'm not alone i'm not an outlier i

52:45

mean

52:46

in the broader landscape absolutely but

52:48

i've always been in that tradition and

52:50

not the

52:50

the john piper mark driscoll and

52:53

certainly not the doug wilson sort

52:55

praise the lord yep so kristen last

52:58

chance this is not a

52:59

this video won't make it public so could

53:01

you just wink twice if you're not really

53:03

reformed

53:06

she winked she winked i don't know

53:09

per word against mine now so on so

53:12

while we're on this theme of theology

53:15

how

53:16

important do you think that theology

53:17

really is or has been

53:19

to evangelicals if a lot of these things

53:21

that are supposedly denominational

53:23

distinctives can be given up so easily

53:26

as long as you know you're a

53:28

complimentarian or whatever how

53:29

important do you think theology really

53:31

is to

53:31

conservative white evangelicals so for

53:34

example

53:35

uh when you're talking in the book about

53:36

the sbc takeover

53:38

in 1979 you say that inerrancy which we

53:42

think of as

53:42

my god there's if there's a defining

53:44

thing for evangelicals it's that

53:46

inerrancy mattered because of its

53:49

connection to cultural and political

53:50

issues and then the implication is of

53:52

course not the other way around

53:53

um so this suggests that maybe theology

53:56

hasn't been of essential

53:58

importance but at another place in the

53:59

book you talk about this quip that was

54:02

used you know jesus can save your soul

54:03

but john wayne will save your ass

54:05

right it's amazing it's another one of

54:06

the great great chapter titles

54:08

so this implies a kind of theological

54:10

bifurcation

54:12

of the spiritual and the material and

54:15

that still seems i mean that's like

54:16

deeply within protestantism it still

54:18

seems to be with a lot of american

54:20

evangelicals and it might explain a good

54:21

chunk of trump's christian support at

54:23

this point because

54:24

you hear all the time people saying well

54:26

you know yeah

54:27

uh he might not be the best christian

54:29

ever but that's not why i'm voting for

54:31

him i'm not voting for a savior i'm

54:32

voting for somebody to kick the asses of

54:34

the people whose asses need to be kicked

54:36

so help us understand this trade-off

54:38

between theological commitment

54:40

and political expediency

54:44

yeah so you know evangelicals

54:47

will self-identify first and foremost as

54:51

bible-believing christians and will

54:54

particularly evangelical elites who are

54:57

the ones generally defining

54:58

evangelicalism are going to absolutely

55:00

again point to these

55:02

this theological rubric right if you you

55:04

you check these theological boxes you

55:06

are an evangelical

55:08

however when you look at survey data

55:11

you can quickly see that and this is

55:14

surveys that

55:14

are are you know set up by evangelical

55:17

organizations

55:19

you can see that there is an alarming

55:22

level

55:22

of theological illiteracy within

55:24

evangelicalism

55:25

in fact an astonishing number of

55:27

evangelicals hold

55:29

views traditionally considered heretical

55:31

right and so

55:32

um i absolutely saw this in my own

55:35

encounters with my own students many of

55:37

whom are coming from evangelical

55:39

backgrounds that this there is

55:42

little theological knowledge

55:45

which made me wonder all right so if

55:48

if if they don't know their theology why

55:51

is the theology

55:53

considered fundamental here

55:56

but the first thing that tipped me off

55:57

honestly was

55:59

back at the very beginning when my

56:01

students brought me the book wild at

56:03

heart

56:03

and i was like okay let me read this and

56:06

i was

56:07

shocked at how little of the bible there

56:10

was in it

56:11

right again self-identifying

56:12

bible-believing christians and there

56:14

there's going to be a sprinkling of

56:15

bible verses

56:16

completely decontextualized right but

56:20

really there it was uh hollywood heroes

56:23

that eldridge turned to particularly mel

56:26

gibson's william wallace

56:27

right as this heroic model of

56:29

masculinity therefore model of christian

56:31

masculinity and then cowboys and

56:33

soldiers and you know later

56:34

folks like john wayne and so on so again

56:37

i i was early on

56:39

very suspicious about the centrality of

56:41

theology

56:42

now that does not mean that theology

56:44

does not matter

56:46

it just doesn't matter in the way that

56:48

many evangelicals claim it does

56:50

that the the interaction between

56:53

cultural

56:54

uh values cultural commitments and yes

56:56

political commitments

56:58

and theology is very much a two-way

57:00

street whereas evangelicals will say i

57:02

believe

57:03

and therefore i do this or i have this

57:05

theological view or i mean political

57:07

view right

57:08

the theology always precedes social and

57:10

cultural and political values

57:12

and that is just not historically

57:14

supportable and and

57:16

and so you you see much more of a of a

57:18

two-way street there

57:20

and the the example of uh

57:23

sbc and inerrancy is an example of that

57:26

where certain theological commitments

57:28

become

57:29

the be all end all and and then others

57:32

are are cast aside and so for me it

57:35

became

57:36

really interesting to see which which

57:39

bible verses

57:40

were really upheld as you know

57:43

gospel truth and the guide to living a

57:46

christian life

57:47

and especially which ones were not so

57:50

you know

57:50

turn the other cheek no we're gonna

57:53

dispense with that like they will

57:54

literally say

57:55

no we're we're not we're not doing that

57:57

doesn't apply to us

57:58

um you know love your neighbor as

58:00

yourself love your enemies these sorts

58:02

of things explained away

58:03

welcome the stranger right all of these

58:06

things um

58:06

no i mean the fruits of the spirit

58:08

essentially the fruit of the spirit for

58:10

the male sex

58:11

nope doesn't apply um so

58:14

so we just need to be much more curious

58:18

about this relationship between theology

58:22

and cultural and political values

58:25

and not take evangelicals at their word

58:29

and as soon as you kind of present these

58:31

these case studies i think it becomes

58:33

really clear and evangelicals themselves

58:37

in fact who have read this book

58:38

often come away convinced that you're

58:40

right you're right right the stories

58:42

we've been telling ourselves

58:44

do not hold up under scrutiny oh my gosh

58:47

i mean

58:47

that chapter was i think probably the

58:51

one that hurt

58:52

personally a little bit for me in a in a

58:54

really healthy way right because

58:56

for the most part i mean even though i

58:57

grew up evangelical i always thought

58:59

james dobson was kind of out there and i

59:01

mean all the characters in your book

59:03

and by characters i don't mean fake

59:04

people i mean real

59:06

huge hugely followed evangelical leaders

59:09

but i read

59:10

wild at heart when i was in college in

59:11

that like saying to my cute little manly

59:14

hearts you know it made me feel

59:16

like such a man and when you talked

59:20

about william wallace and how

59:22

basically yeah i had this moment where

59:24

yeah where i had

59:26

this moment where i was like holy cow i

59:27

think i grew into college and into my

59:30

young adulthood thinking that jesus is

59:31

like william wallace

59:33

and and i think probably there's a lot

59:36

of listeners who are like uh duh jesus

59:38

is like william wallace he's a freedom

59:39

fighter you know like

59:41

read the book of revelation and that one

59:43

i had to unpack a little bit about how

59:45

much of my theology in my young

59:46

adulthood which is very formative by the

59:48

way

59:49

was formed by braveheart william wallace

59:52

wild at heart that whole deal

59:54

whoa that's that's intense i've

59:56

literally received

59:57

hundreds of messages from

60:00

evangelicals and especially evangelical

60:02

men since this book has come out

60:03

and you know some version of that of

60:06

just realizing

60:07

how much this has shaped their

60:10

faith and the movie braveheart was 96

60:13

and that's really when you

60:15

very soon after start to see uh this

60:17

kind of backlash against the

60:19

the soft patriarchy of the promise

60:21

keepers

60:22

and and then by 2001 that's when

60:25

eldridge eldridge's book comes out just

60:27

months before 9 11

60:28

and kind of we know the rest of the

60:30

story i'm feeling like i'm sitting under

60:32

analysis at the moment

60:34

remembering all this stuff i would have

60:36

been 10 years old when braveheart came

60:38

out which

60:38

just strikes me like i've been a

60:41

pacifist and a feminist for years and i

60:44

still cannot watch that movie without

60:45

balling like a child

60:47

and a lot of it i'm realizing it's like

60:49

subcognitive right

60:50

a lot of a lot of race philosophers of

60:52

race for example have talked about

60:54

how racism is embodied it's not changing

60:57

your mind about it doesn't seem to

60:58

actually change your interactions with

61:00

people of color

61:01

and i'm thinking [ __ ] the same thing's

61:02

happening here when i when i watch

61:04

braveheart right i don't believe that

61:06

stuff anymore but man i feel it

61:08

part of i think what i've observed in

61:10

your book as well that

61:12

possibly maybe maybe even the main

61:14

reason why evangelical

61:15

ism is what it is today is this constant

61:19

obsession with power

61:20

this constant obsession with being

61:23

having a relevant

61:24

and meaningful voice in the culture in

61:26

the world around us

61:28

having political influence having you

61:30

know and if if the scientists don't

61:31

agree with us we're going to have our

61:33

own scientists

61:34

and this lust for power is this

61:37

real if you start pulling that thread

61:39

almost all of evangelicalism seems like

61:41

it just

61:41

totally unravels yeah i mean that that

61:43

is the thread of the book that

61:45

when i have to really simplify this is a

61:47

book about power it's a book about

61:48

grasping for power and so to get back to

61:51

that kind of juxtaposition of the

61:53

you know jesus will save your soul john

61:54

wayne will save your ass ultimately that

61:57

needing a john wayne to save your ass or

62:00

donald trump to

62:01

you know bust up all your enemies that

62:03

is at its heart a theological

62:05

claim right so so there is a theology

62:07

there and that really is what i'm

62:08

getting at in the subtitle the

62:10

the corrupted of faith part the fact

62:12

that you know the jesus of the gospels

62:14

does get transformed into this ruthless

62:16

warrior christ uh who's going to slay

62:19

his enemies

62:20

and and let me just note too that that's

62:22

not a historical claim that corrupted a

62:25

faith part that's that's my

62:26

my part is okay i'm going to speak right

62:28

now to evangelicals themselves because

62:30

this book is largely a history

62:32

but it is framed with this this kind of

62:35

critical framing right

62:36

and and in a religious critique as a

62:38

person of faith myself i'm bringing that

62:40

in and i just wanted to speak to

62:42

evangelicals very clearly again you

62:44

self-identifies this this is what you

62:46

claim

62:47

to to hold as as as truth here's what we

62:50

see in front of us and so the corrupted

62:52

of faith part

62:53

is exactly that that i think

62:55

fundamentally as i understand the story

62:57

of the gospels and really the the story

62:59

of christianity

63:00

and who christ is is is this

63:03

counter-cultural narrative

63:05

of you know christ divesting himself

63:08

of power and offering himself for

63:12

the redemption of the world and and so

63:14

to then transform that

63:16

faith into one that is ever grasping for

63:19

power

63:20

and maintaining that power and then

63:22

using that power

63:23

coercively to me that is ultimately the

63:26

corruption of the faith that

63:27

as as i understand it so yeah there's a

63:29

theological claim there

63:34

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yourself for visiting story hill bkc

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local one more time that's

64:08

storyhillbkc.com

64:10

so on this connection and let me preface

64:12

this by saying

64:13

that i have no actual critiques of the

64:15

book i loved every part of it except for

64:17

the parts that made me hate my childhood

64:19

so so this is not a critique whatsoever

64:22

it's an honest question

64:23

this connection between people like john

64:25

wayne or oliver north or

64:27

the other heroes of militant masculinity

64:30

teddy roosevelt whatever

64:32

those guys on the one hand and donald

64:34

trump

64:35

on the other okay so a large part of the

64:38

end of the book

64:38

is making that connection between how

64:41

how we can understand

64:43

the almost wholesale embrace of donald

64:46

trump by white

64:47

evangelicals because of this militant

64:50

masculinity thing that they had long

64:51

since imbibed

64:53

for my part it doesn't make sense to me

64:56

because when i look at donald like the

64:58

argument makes sense and i

65:00

totally grant all of the historical

65:02

details that you provide

65:04

but when i look at donald trump i do not

65:06

see masculinity

65:07

i do not see john wayne i do not see

65:10

oliver north

65:11

i mean the guy wouldn't know a bench

65:13

press from a french president

65:16

like he's literally an overweight draft

65:19

dodging

65:20

wishy-washy believes the last thing that

65:22

was told to him

65:23

amoral inheritance billionaire

65:26

yes he's not teddy roosevelt so i guess

65:30

my question then is

65:31

do you think white evangelicals who have

65:33

embraced him really believe their own

65:35

propaganda

65:36

about his masculinity so i mean there

65:39

are always multiple masculinities

65:42

and i think that what what's key to

65:44

under is a lot of people say like

65:46

again donald trump isn't masculine but

65:47

he is performing masculinity in a

65:50

certain type of masculinity and he's

65:52

performing masculinity

65:54

in a in a throwback way a very

65:56

retrograde

65:57

way throwing back to the 1950s

66:00

masculinity and that comes through

66:01

clearly in the end at the end of the

66:03

book too towards the end of the book

66:04

that

66:05

you know people campaigning keep saying

66:07

this is john wayne america he's a symbol

66:09

of john wayne america he's a symbol of

66:11

that he's a 1950s man he's you know like

66:14

it's very clear what they're doing john

66:16

wayne was a symbol of throwback

66:18

masculinity right to the the cowboy the

66:21

this this you know and the cowboys

66:22

themselves were always kind of nostalgic

66:24

for a time when you know white men

66:26

wielded power

66:27

and so really what the thread is i think

66:30

that that i would pull through there is

66:33

the

66:34

the masculine right and duty

66:37

to wield power this is a very racialized

66:41

conception of masculinity so it's the

66:43

white man's

66:44

obligation to use violence to bring

66:48

order

66:49

and and that's where you see the cowboys

66:51

of the wild west

66:52

john wayne in all of his movies and in

66:55

all these movies a distinctively

66:56

white man using violence to subdue

67:00

in most cases non-white populations

67:02

right uh sans of iwo jima

67:04

green berets the alamo this is just kind

67:07

of

67:07

this this cultural ideal of of

67:10

of american masculinity that's what

67:13

we're talking about

67:15

so donald trump that's kind of the

67:17

strand that he is going to pull through

67:19

and it becomes in some cases more

67:22

extreme

67:23

because of this culture wars context

67:27

because of this battle against

67:30

feminism against liberalism against

67:32

political correctness

67:34

and that's important to understand like

67:35

by the 2000s you know

67:37

political correctness becomes you know

67:40

this this great threat

67:42

and what is it what does it actually

67:44

threaten

67:45

you shouldn't be rude anymore you

67:47

shouldn't be racist you shouldn't you

67:49

know

67:49

what is it really threatening it it's

67:51

threatening this

67:53

this ability to particularly for men

67:56

for white men to say what needs to be

67:59

said to do what needs to be done

68:00

to wield their power that they you know

68:03

perceive themselves to have a right to

68:05

wield and

68:05

that's the the masculinity

68:09

that trump is so unapologetically

68:13

embodying in a way that is astounding

68:16

right it is still astounding to all of

68:18

us on a daily basis

68:20

what even is this every tweet

68:23

every every statement he makes

68:26

practically it's just

68:27

it's completely like we are in a new era

68:30

and so he has really taken that you know

68:32

thumbing his nose at political

68:33

correctness

68:34

at civility uh you know following

68:38

any rules at all and and so he's just

68:41

like

68:42

on steroids taking that fearlessness

68:45

that ruthlessness do what needs to be

68:47

done

68:48

for the sake of righteousness

68:51

now who's going to define the

68:52

righteousness and that's where we see

68:53

this the symbiotic relationship between

68:55

trump and his evangelical supporters

68:58

and they have embraced him he has

69:00

embraced them and

69:01

he is on their side and then he is if he

69:03

is on their side he is on god's side

69:05

so that is really the strand that i

69:07

would pull through he's certainly not

69:09

my ideal of masculinity but the power

69:13

that he wields the way that he wields

69:14

that power is playing

69:16

on a long history of of white masculine

69:19

power

69:21

and i mean you you spoke to that in the

69:23

introduction which was fantastic

69:25

but basically making saying i'm going to

69:27

be making the case in this book that

69:29

this this reality that we hear about

69:31

that 81

69:32

of evangelicals voted for donald trump

69:34

but they did it while holding their nose

69:35

and really were kind of ashamed of it

69:37

you said that's really not the case

69:39

and i'm gonna make this make the case

69:41

and sure

69:42

sure enough you made the case i mean it

69:44

didn't take very far in the book for me

69:46

to be like yeah

69:47

i mean this whole thing's been built on

69:49

uh like having a guy like donald trump

69:51

be

69:51

the end-all be-all and that's where i

69:53

would say i fully agree with you that

69:56

donald trump's version of masculinity is

69:57

a masculinity a version of masculinity

70:00

that we find in many many fundamentalist

70:03

and evangelical

70:05

white churches it's our idea of

70:07

masculinity this broken masculinity

70:09

where strength looks like bullying

70:11

and it looks like me look getting the

70:13

upper hand in every conversation i mean

70:15

you just look at the first debate uh

70:17

this this last election season

70:19

and that's what masculinity looks like

70:21

to many many

70:23

white evangelicals especially males and

70:26

that's where i think

70:26

that's the perfect picture of um why

70:30

he resonated so deeply with so many

70:31

evangelicals even though they tried

70:34

i'm getting a little bit us versus them

70:35

here a little bit

70:37

that's where i think he's the perfect

70:40

representation in many ways

70:41

of of that movement unfortunately

70:45

so i have one more question i just have

70:47

to ask and then i'll let randy

70:48

finish it up however he wants so my wife

70:50

and i are huge fans of fred rogers and

70:52

we just recently

70:53

read his biography um it's called the

70:56

good neighbor by maxwell king

70:58

one of the things i don't think this is

70:59

an exaggeration one of the things that

71:00

saved me i think from this

71:02

militant masculinity of evangelicalism

71:05

was that i had his influence

71:07

which was kind of historically

71:09

accidental he just happened to be on

71:10

television when i was a kid

71:12

and so now looking back at that learning

71:15

more about him i'm seeing

71:16

wow i didn't realize there were these

71:18

two competing conceptions of masculinity

71:20

at war socially and even within my own

71:23

head

71:23

and i'm really grateful that for that

71:25

there were

71:26

so in some ways it seems to me like

71:30

many of the major political

71:31

disagreements we're dealing with right

71:33

now

71:33

almost this is reductionist to say but

71:35

it almost boils down to

71:37

those who followed spock and rogers and

71:39

those who followed dobson

71:41

and john wayne you know and recently at

71:44

biden's town hall one of one of uh

71:47

trump's

71:48

political advisors tweeted it's like

71:50

watching mr rogers yes

71:52

and she thought it was an insult exactly

71:55

exactly you can see the divide on

71:56

twitter right like

71:57

yeah that's awesome right yeah exactly

72:01

yeah um fred fred rogers was it was

72:03

interesting

72:04

but first of all spock yes the spot

72:07

connection so dobson

72:08

so anti-spock you know and he's trying

72:10

to redeem

72:12

american children from the damage that

72:14

spock had done and of course

72:15

spock after he retired ended up becoming

72:18

an anti-war activist so you know

72:20

that was just against all these deeply

72:23

held values

72:24

um including militarism we haven't

72:26

talked much about militarism but

72:28

militarism being you know kind of

72:29

fundamental value of conservative

72:31

evangelicalism

72:32

um really uh i mean you could go to the

72:35

1940s but certainly by the 1960s

72:37

as a distinctive value that set them

72:39

apart from many other americans who were

72:41

becoming a lot more ambivalent towards

72:43

the war and war in general

72:45

so so spock was seen as very dangerous

72:48

and

72:48

what was fascinating to me in this

72:50

research was to see

72:51

just how often family values like really

72:54

fail you know

72:55

raising your kids husband wife having

72:58

sex

72:58

these kinds of very intimate

73:00

relationships were

73:01

always connected to bigger issues they

73:05

were always connected to foreign policy

73:07

they were always connected to the youth

73:10

rebellion to

73:11

authority and hierarchy in society at

73:14

large

73:16

and so family values were inherently

73:19

political not just in the in the sense

73:21

that we understand them but in this very

73:22

broad sense

73:24

and so dobson was really against spock

73:26

and all that he stood for

73:28

and then yeah even john wayne is coming

73:30

out against benjamin spock right and

73:32

blaming benjamin spock for

73:33

uh the hippies and the uh throwing off

73:36

of the authority

73:37

of their parents by which they meant

73:39

patriarchal authority right because who

73:41

which of the parents really has the

73:42

authority there and then yes

73:44

uh fred rogers conservative evangelicals

73:48

not a fan and all this literature on

73:51

militant masculinity i mean they're

73:53

making that very clear like

73:54

you know jesus was much more like

73:56

william wallace than like

73:58

you know mr rogers uh or mother teresa

74:01

uh and and so they're very clear and yes

74:03

he is an emasculated man he has exactly

74:06

what is wrong with america

74:08

and if america raises their children

74:10

especially their boys according to the

74:12

values of fred rogers

74:14

right the end is near uh because we will

74:16

not be able to defend ourselves against

74:18

the very real enemies

74:19

that await i'm i'm guessing since it was

74:22

published this year you probably

74:23

finished it last year or

74:24

thereabouts would it be any different

74:28

if it had been published now is there

74:30

anything that happened in 2020

74:31

the 10 years of 2020 that would have

74:34

made it into the book

74:35

when i finished this book uh i mean it's

74:37

been described

74:40

by reviewers as urgent and sharp elbowed

74:43

uh and i really like that description uh

74:46

had

74:47

i absorbed 2020 i think the elbows would

74:50

have been even sharper right i think i

74:53

a constant struggle as i wrote this book

74:55

just kind of internal as a writer

74:56

was you know what again was mainstream

74:59

what is fringe what how does this all

75:00

fit together

75:01

how bad is this and what i was looking

75:04

at i thought this is

75:05

really bad i've been living with this

75:07

for years

75:08

and then those last three years really

75:10

was deeply researching and writing the

75:12

book right from 2016 on i just thought

75:14

this is really bad

75:15

this is looking really bad so much so

75:18

when i got to the end of the manuscript

75:20

and my editor read it the first time

75:21

through at the end

75:22

he just he just said could you give us a

75:25

little hope

75:26

in the conclusion and i i wrote back to

75:28

saying i thought about it i really i was

75:30

like what can i do with this and i was

75:31

like i don't think i can

75:33

i i'm i'm feeling as heavy as you are

75:35

right now this is this is the history i

75:37

uncovered i've got nothing

75:38

else and then he he's like okay i

75:41

respect that

75:42

and then a couple days later i get

75:43

another email could you just give us

75:45

something kristin like we need something

75:47

or we can't end with this and that's

75:49

when i gave him the last

75:50

sentence of the book and what was once

75:52

done can also be undone

75:55

and and honestly at the time it felt so

75:57

flaky

75:58

it felt like you know this is all i've

75:59

got he's like fine we'll take it

76:01

uh but but i do i do really believe that

76:04

like there is

76:06

knowing history knowing how he got to

76:08

this point can give us a chance

76:10

to undo it that said it is

76:13

what we are what we are seeing now is so

76:15

deeply embedded that it's

76:17

hard not to be pessimistic

76:20

once you know this history right you

76:22

know just how how deep this is this is

76:23

not a little misunderstanding this is

76:25

not uh

76:26

let's open our bibles together kind of

76:28

thing and we'll clear this up

76:29

right that's not going to work here um

76:32

and so

76:33

no i um 2020 has not changed the book

76:37

or the conclusions at all um if anything

76:40

it has hardened those conclusions i

76:43

think we saw with the

76:44

uh response the coronavirus um

76:48

saw the extent of this ideology taken to

76:51

extremes that even i

76:53

could not have anticipated uh when

76:55

people's own lives and the lives of

76:57

their

76:57

loved ones are very clearly at stake i

76:59

mean they've been talking for

77:00

for decades about you know threats to

77:03

the family threats to

77:04

america you know communism radical islam

77:08

secular humanism you know now we really

77:11

have something that is literally killing

77:13

hundreds of thousands of us

77:15

and i just it didn't really touch this

77:18

because the the ideology was such that

77:21

the enemy was not the virus the enemy

77:24

was masks or mask mandates or

77:27

liberals or china or you know it was

77:29

defined otherwise

77:31

survey data just continues to to

77:34

demonstrate this kind of loyalty to the

77:36

ideology

77:37

into the trump administration among

77:39

white evangelicals the black lives

77:40

matter movement revealed

77:42

once again the extent of white

77:45

evangelical

77:46

racism and resistance to

77:49

anti-racist efforts and so

77:53

and again the the loyalty of white

77:56

evangelical leaders

77:57

to the trump administration so so no

78:00

more of the same

78:01

2020 is absolutely more of the same and

78:03

more profoundly

78:04

so the question is what happens next

78:06

right what happens

78:07

post-inauguration what happens to this

78:10

movement

78:11

historically we've seen that it's it's

78:14

usually

78:14

when conservative evangelicals are out

78:17

of power

78:19

that they become most powerful that they

78:21

really you know become more radicalized

78:24

and they they give a lot more money to

78:27

their organizations they become

78:29

they they really renew their power under

78:31

the presidency of donald trump was the

78:32

first time that they kind of had one of

78:34

their own in the white house

78:35

where their power was not diminished

78:38

they didn't kind of fall apart as they

78:39

did during the end of the reagan years

78:41

or the bush years and you know

78:42

kind of need to regroup and then you

78:44

know barack obama was this godsend

78:45

because he was

78:46

you know this enemy and so they they

78:48

could they could coalesce again

78:50

donald trump had this uncanny ability to

78:53

both give them access and privilege and

78:55

power

78:56

and continue to daily hourly kind of

78:59

incite

79:00

resentment and fear and continue to

79:02

stoke that

79:03

so what happens once he leaves office is

79:06

is a huge question to me what what are

79:08

the dynamics going to look like are we

79:10

going to see

79:10

a further radicalization or without him

79:14

kind of tweeting from the oval office

79:15

every day is is

79:17

and when he looks like a loser is is his

79:20

power going to actually be diminished i

79:22

have no idea

79:23

[Music]

79:24

yeah and i would completely agree with

79:27

your

79:28

take on white evangelicalism in the

79:31

future of it i mean it's why

79:32

art the church that i pastor we decided

79:34

to drop the evangelical label because

79:36

we've for years have been like

79:38

we can do this we can change

79:39

evangelicalism we can be the ones you

79:41

know and

79:42

it's just no we can't i mean it's it's

79:46

that is it's left the building and

79:49

we actually said we dropped the label

79:51

evangelical for the sake of the gospel

79:53

yeah um because the gospel is too

79:55

valuable it's been diminished by this

79:57

movement

79:58

so you said it's been described as your

80:00

book as having sharp elbows and i will

80:02

affirm

80:02

affirm and confirm that but the

80:04

beautiful part about it kristin is you

80:06

really didn't slam you it what there was

80:08

no opinion in here

80:09

it's just a history book you're just

80:11

quoting people you're just

80:13

literally going through the history and

80:14

saying this is what it is this is what

80:16

it is just so you know

80:17

and letting everybody draw their own

80:18

conclusions the best way to have sharp

80:20

elbows is just data and statistics right

80:24

however doing something that is very

80:26

challenging to

80:28

a huge movement that's seen as very much

80:31

at the center of the gospel or

80:33

at the center of jesus that's

80:37

that comes at a cost you know like i

80:38

know from being a church leader

80:40

that saying things that might be true

80:42

and real that might hurt

80:44

comes to the cost i'm sure i have no

80:46

idea how much hate mail or

80:48

tweets you've gotten as a result of this

80:50

but i want to

80:51

know what is writing this book done to

80:53

your soul kristin i mean

80:54

maybe both in good and bad ways like is

80:56

it is your family okay with everything

80:59

have your relationships been affected by

81:02

it like what is it done to

81:04

not dr kristin kobas dumay but kristin

81:07

oh this is getting personal um

81:11

let's see first i will say that um

81:15

i anticipated that this would come with

81:18

a cost

81:19

publishing this book the cost has been

81:22

much less than i

81:23

feared i have gotten almost no hate mail

81:26

i know it's it's shocking

81:28

my publisher's lawyer had warned me to

81:31

you know prepare myself for vicious

81:33

trolling and kind of i locked things

81:35

down a bit

81:36

as the book came out i've had just a

81:38

little bit of that

81:39

not much at all thus far

81:42

and i've received fewer than a handful

81:46

of negative letters of any sort like not

81:49

even

81:50

mean-spirited i think there's maybe one

81:52

that got

81:54

kind of unpleasant and i cut off that

81:56

communication

81:57

that's it but then there's there's still

81:59

the personal right there's the

82:01

the fact that i personally am deeply

82:03

embedded

82:04

in these communities and my own

82:08

relationships

82:09

often cross over this

82:12

political chasm and that has been really

82:15

hard

82:16

that was hard before i started writing

82:19

this book it became harder as i was

82:21

writing this book

82:22

and there have been some really hard

82:23

moments i really

82:25

think that in this historical moment

82:28

i think we're all called to be faithful

82:31

as

82:31

as faithful as we can be and we're

82:33

called and that will require courage

82:36

and that there are so many forces within

82:37

evangelicalism i think

82:39

that that work against that you know be

82:42

nice

82:43

don't disrupt don't don't disrupt your

82:46

church don't disrupt relationships

82:48

don't rock the boat don't tarnish the

82:51

church's witness

82:52

don't um you know even that original

82:54

impulse of mine

82:56

that sounded kind of noble and it felt

82:58

noble at the time you know do i really

82:59

want to shine this dark

83:01

this bright light and the dark underside

83:03

of american evangelicalism right that

83:06

was was that a good impulse or was that

83:08

just brand protection and is that

83:10

exactly what has gotten us

83:12

where we are now i wasn't wasn't going

83:14

to follow the truth that i saw

83:17

in front of me and so i set it aside and

83:19

so i think this is a moment that

83:21

each of us has to ask you know what is

83:23

required of us how are we positioned

83:26

and and there are going to be costs

83:28

sometimes those costs aren't going to be

83:30

as

83:30

as dire as we fear sometimes they will

83:33

be i know many people who have lost

83:35

their jobs

83:36

over speaking out and speaking into this

83:38

moment

83:39

i know many families that have been

83:41

deeply divided

83:43

and i know lots of churches that have

83:45

really

83:46

struggled and relationships that have

83:48

been broken

83:49

and so i think that there's a cost for

83:51

all of us i will also say that

83:53

when you make that choice and if you can

83:55

do so with as much grace and truth

83:58

as you can muster you also find others

84:01

who are doing

84:02

that and the support that i've received

84:04

has been

84:05

just phenomenal it comes with costs but

84:08

also

84:09

to use a very evangelical word with

84:11

great blessing too

84:13

well i mean kristen thank you for having

84:16

the bravery to write this book

84:17

and can i just say none of your chapters

84:20

thanks for having the balls to write

84:21

this book

84:21

i mean it was amazing um but i really

84:25

i really do i really do there's an

84:27

ironic ending to it

84:32

but i really do think that this could be

84:35

the work the book that

84:36

10 years from now we look back on and

84:38

say this was the book

84:39

that gave a bunch of people permission

84:42

to say

84:42

that's not me anymore i can't do it

84:45

anymore i side with jesus more than i

84:46

side with the evangelical movement

84:48

with white evangelical movement i side

84:50

with the gospel more than i

84:52

identify as an evangelical and i can't

84:54

do it anymore

84:55

and so it's just a very very important

84:58

book

84:59

last question you have another book

85:01

coming out called live

85:02

laugh love i believe right i saw a

85:04

little teaser on twitter can you tell us

85:05

a little bit about it because it sounds

85:06

incredible

85:07

oh i just can't wait yeah i'm ready to

85:09

leave this testosterone field

85:11

masculinity behind

85:13

but you never really can i've learned

85:15

but um

85:16

yes my next book is kind of the flip

85:18

side it is a cultural history of white

85:20

christian womanhood

85:22

it's been on my radar for so so long and

85:25

even as i was writing jesus and john

85:27

wayne and i was writing about phyllis

85:28

schlafly and maribel morgan elizabeth

85:30

elliott i knew that there was

85:32

there was the rest of that story that i

85:34

didn't have time to get into

85:35

because because elizabeth elliot is

85:37

still influential

85:39

but right now it's it's uh you know

85:42

we've moved on we have

85:43

janet oak and we have uh uh beverly

85:46

lewis and we have

85:48

mommy vloggers and we have a multi-level

85:50

marketing

85:51

and hallmark movies and hgtv and that's

85:54

really this

85:55

this purveyor of of white christian

85:58

womanhood is a cultural ideal and so i

86:00

really want to

86:01

investigate that and what does that do

86:03

if culture

86:04

really does shape theology what does

86:07

that do

86:07

what does that do to christianity what

86:09

does that do to theology what does that

86:11

do to politics

86:12

and and so it's it's a super fun project

86:16

i've i'm now watching hallmark movies in

86:19

my spare

86:19

time reading a lot of really bad novels

86:23

and uh you know inspirational fiction

86:25

and it is

86:26

absolutely a blast so yes live laugh

86:28

love uh

86:29

we'll be out in i think 2023

86:33

2023 reading inspirational fiction

86:37

as fun whoa

86:38

[Laughter]

86:40

it's gotta be better than listening to

86:42

mark driscoll germans on repeat

86:45

the book is jesus and john wayne again

86:48

dr kristen kobas du may thank you so

86:50

much for joining us thanks for the time

86:51

oh thank you this is absolutely great

86:55

thanks for spending this time with us we

86:56

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86:58

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walk into a bar