• Frank

    There is no love in supporting sin. In our world that’s doesn’t know what real love is, those that have experienced the love of God are called to love they way God loves, which is completely countercultural.

    If your love isn’t countercultural it isn’t from God.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Laura,
    The fruit of the Spirit—the traits that are meant to mark Christians—is “is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” There are plenty of examples of these in the general culture, and plenty examples of their lack within Christendom. If we focus on the fruit, how we are perceived won’t matter so much”
    What you describe is a pleasant philosophy, (and I like it) but nonetheless, it is plainly heresy. Jesus may well have agreed (we do not know), but in any case, your view does not appear to pass muster as Christianity of any recognizable stripe.
    Why then do you wish to be thought os as Christian?

  • Doc Anthony

    Love is for humans, NOT for the dominant culture.

    So love people **unconditionally.**

    But fight this Messed-Up culture **uncompromisingly**.

    Do it today!!

  • Ben in oakland

    “Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography.“

    I haven’t read the book, and probably won’t. but if the title is any indication, my quite harmless, quite private marriage has been compared to poverty, racism, sex slavery, abortion, persecution, and pornography.

    It’s a good indication about the obsessions of the religious right with what other people do with their dangly bits. And this is exactly what the author its talking about. “Evangelical Christians aren’t called to be counter cultural. We’re called to love.” And yet, to those on the receiving end of that “love”, it is indistinguishable from hate, and likewise indistinguishable from narcissism.

    In fact smells exactly like DOMINIONISM

  • Frank

    It feels like hate to you because you have surrendered to sin and therefore sin is distorting your view of love. Sad.

  • samuel Johnston

    The evangelicals who come to my door always bring the same message:
    Join us, or go to hell. Jesus made the sacrifice of his blood and his life, for you- you ungrateful wretch- (what a primitive and savage thought). Pardon me if I prefer civilized conversation and friendly behavior. The Episcopalians have it all over you guys in that department. Sad.

  • samuel Johnston

    “fight this Messed-Up culture **uncompromisingly**.”
    I am trying, but you are resisting, Doc.

  • Frank

    Oh Samuel it’s always a tragedy to see a smart person like you acting and believing something so dumb and foolish.

  • samuel Johnston

    I have no beliefs, if you use the word in the sense that Christians ask you to believe. Attitude, caring behavior, empathy, duty, etc. all matter, but they are not the same as belief in the Christian sense. If I were to say I will believe in your religion in the same sense that I “believe” in Darwinism (i.e. seems the best explanation until a better one comes along), any Christian community would (or should) reject such opportunism.
    The egotistical desire to have powerful friends, to be a member of the elect and select on earth- with the bonus of a magical afterlife- this is the bait. Pardon me if I smell fraud. Can you say- SCIENTOLOGY?

  • The Great God Pan

    I, for one, heartily encourage these countercultural evangelicals to go for it. Take too much acid and go live on communes with no internet connection. Bond with Jesus far away from all the immigrants and orphans who vex you so. And don’t forget to not mail in your ballots in election years.

    Tune out. Drop out. Shut up.

  • Philip

    Laura – you have a knack for being cynical about evangelical Christianity. Much is justified, and I would agree with you. But your problem is you don’t seem to stand for anything of substance. You are squishy like a kids toy. You prefer to set up straw men so you can knock them down, like this piece where you assume something without giving any evidence from the book. Anecdotal only. Perhaps true, but we wouldn’t know that from what you wrote. Then you advocate something virtuous, like love, and quickly take the high ground. Careful. You certainly won’t be well received by evangelicals, but you probably won’t be embraced by the culture that you seem to prefer. Bottom line – you are part of the younger generation that is right in critiquing the traditional / evangelical church, but you make the mistake of wanting to be respected and affirmed by the (secular) culture around you because of the positions you take, and that will prove fleeting.

  • Trebor

    I haven’t read Platt’s new book yet either, but I wonder, can there be no middle ground here? Does “counter culture” necessarily have to mean “standing against”? Can the church not be countercultural without waging an all-out war against the world? Can we not love the world, but not be like the world?

    By definition counter culture is one “whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society.” That sounds like a great way to describe the church if you ask me (see Rom 12:2, John 17:6). Our norms and our behavior SHOULD be substantially different from the world. Should be, but unfortunately, often it’s not.

    Again, I haven’t read it yet, but I HOPE this book is not a call for the church to take up arms against the world, but a compassionate call for the church to stop behaving so much like the world. A call for the church to help eliminate poverty and slavery, care for orphans, and cast off it’s racism and pornography. A call to take up the Fruit of the Spirit once again that, as you said, should mark the church.

  • marty

    comment thread, comment thread
    does whatever a comment thread does

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Phillip,
    “But your problem is you don’t seem to stand for anything of substance.”
    Oh I agree, but she is young. There are worse faults than wanting to get along with everybody. For example, one can join a cult (say Rev. Moon’s) or any other group that one is unable to see through (yea, I have made few mistakes).
    At some point, hopefully when one is ready, it is best to “go to the desert” and find yourself. This is not the end of the search, but it is the beginning of “knowing one’s self”. The “savior” folks have missed this step. That is what makes them so desperate and intolerant.

  • Ken


    What you seem to demand is that Christians celebrate your behaviors. It IS your “dangly parts” and what you proclaim you do with them . . . that literally defines you. No matter the dodge, the “hate” attached to Christians by the mind-warped progressive pop culture, is hate itself. Christians face a massive campaign against them to force them to become just the same as the dominant culture. Which of course is to persecute them.


  • Ken


    I do not believe that you are telling the truth. The only thing that “evangelicals” bring to your door is an invitation to attend the Church at their address. Which carries with it your right to avoid. C’mon man, keep it real.

  • Ken


    “Only Evangelicals are not like us real counter culture people who in the 1960’s began . . . ”

    . . . The sexually transmitted disease plague on society. Now, the children of your era need a STD Cancer vaccination to ward off promiscuity cancer.

    HPV, the legacy of the baby boom generation. From the depraved comes its fruit. And we do know them.

    And you’re still at it with your blue pills to keep your guru-ized erections and sexual immorality marching to the beat of a promiscuous drum.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Ken,
    You are correct, in that they do not say hello- you are going to hell, but if I engage them in a conversation about why I should attend their church, they start talking about sin and salvation. Now their theory of salvation is exactly as i have described it. It is disgusting, primitive, blood sacrifice mythology.
    I grew up in the Church with these God fearing folk, and I know that their behavior is no better than their unchurched neighbors, however, in some regards they are worse. They are more self righteous and more intolerant.
    Worst of all, they do not ask questions about the validity of Christian claims, they just swallow them whole.

  • Philip

    Thanks, good points.

  • Frank

    You can say whatever you like. Comparing Scientology to Christ only exposes your own ignorance and bias however.

  • MarkE

    Laura – really good column. I’m sorry, however, that I can’t even consider engaging in discussion here because the trolls have taken over and it saddens my soul to such a degree that I can only turn it over to Christ.

    Trolls – May the Light of the World soften your hardened hearts and bring hope into the darkness of your lives.

  • Larry

    No, the demand is that Christians act like civil human beings and stop using their religion as an excuse to act badly to others. You can put hate in quotes but it doesn’t make the attitudes any less true.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi MarkE,
    I am sorry you are in such pain. I hope you feel better soon.

  • samuel Johnston

    So enlighten me Frank. I am waiting for you to define your terms and make a coherent argument.

  • Frank

    Samuel when you have anything cogent to say on the subject I will respond in kind.

  • Ben in oakland

    “What you seem to demand is that Christians celebrate your behaviors.” No, that’s YOU speaking. Classic fundamentalist projection. I don’t define myself by my “behaviors”. That’s all you. I want you to stay completely out of my life.

    “Christians face a massive campaign against them to force them to become just the same as the dominant culture.” What, no screed against “politically correct?” Even more projection. You want to have your particular, peculiar version of God and Christianity to have dominion over the lives and beliefs of people who don’t share them. No one wants you to become the same as the dominant culture, and with 80% of the population Christian, you ARE the dominant culture. We want you OUT of our lives.

    “Which of course is to persecute them.” Of course. there is no other possible explanation for it. Believe me, if you would just shut up about your particular, peculiar beliefs about me, sin, and god, keep them within your church and your family, you would learn that we couldn’t possibly not care about you any more than we already don’t.

    Get down off your cross. We need the wood.

  • Laura – you have a knack for being cynical about evangelical Christianity. Much is justified, and I would agree with you. But your problem is you don’t seem to stand for anything of substance.

    She’s a scion of the evangelical nomenklatura. It’s a reasonable wager what she stands for is derived from the social dynamic between young people, and that’s not very edifying.

    Oh I agree, but she is young. There are worse faults than wanting to get along with everybody.

    I’m afraid that’s a bad mental habit women seldom get over until senility sets in.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Maybe you should have found another congregation of believers. I see congregations of faith that make up a given church as a hospital for sinners. Frankly, that analogy may not suit you. Take another one, I worked as a therapist and counselor with Alcoholics and addicts for a number of years. It has been so interesting to me how the AA twelve steps are so appropriate for recovering sinners as it is for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Every day is a step to be taken starting with confession then on to the next steps.

    Finding faith in God has little to do with any church, actual faith is an experience. Maybe many experiences, to me those experiences of God’s love, sometimes in the worst of times, as keep me grounded in my faith. Yes, I have doubted, feared, sometimes I seemed to have hung on by a thread, but the saving grace of God was still and is manifested.

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  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “It’s a good indication about the obsessions of the religious right with what other people do with their dangly bits.”

    Long ago, I came to the conclusion that Christians are just as messed-up sexually (and obsessed with sex) as everyone else, just in a different (and usually opposite) direction.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Sounds like a Christianese boilerplate response.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “Tsk, Tsk” Christianese boilerplate with a covert helping of Moral One-Upmanship. Isn’t this was Laura was talking about?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Laura, everybody:

    Do any of these “counter-cultural” types ever remind you of this?