An Exchange Between Pastors On Critical Theory

two hands touching against a black and white background

An Exhcange Between Pastors On Critical Theory

Friend: Interesting. I was sent these links from another church leader in town, saying, “This is an important appeal from a theologian and black pastor about how some CRT discussions can both demean the dignity and experience of black Christians while also being a distraction and deflection from grappling with the real challenges of ongoing racism and injustice.”

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 1

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 2

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 3

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 4

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Responses

Discerning Friends from Enemies: Critical Race Theory, Anglicans in North America, and the Real Crisis

Pastor Troy: It is interesting. Not one Scripture reference in any of the articles. Meanwhile, most of those subscribing to these sorts of ideas choose to reject (or at least refuse to accept/support) what is written in the Dallas Statement, which is loaded with Scripture references.

Friend: Right. No scriptures.

Stackhouse was editor for Christianity Today until 2018. I don’t doubt his scholarship about the definitions. However, it strikes me as a different problem. His high-level dissection of the “movements” involved seems to leave him out of touch with how CRT in particular (which he rightfully ends up rebuking pretty firmly) and his description of CRT’s offspring movements with gender, religion etc. (homophobia, islamophobia etc.) has metastasized in American schools, colleges, media, government, etc. The cancel culture’s ascendancy is precisely the concern. Very few on the left in government or media appear to be clearly rebuking the “new morality” and calling for free debate. If it is not rebuked it will continue to grow and define even those on the left who are not fully on board.

Also, perhaps he feels out of touch because he is Canadian and so not speaking from how things are “on the ground.” I find that most African American pastors I know are splitting important hairs. However, importantly, since George Floyd, many seem to be sucked into, intimidated by and possibly even supporting the cancel culture aspect of CRT. Silencing debate is not the right way to advocate for true justice.

Pastor Troy: Yep, it definitely struck me as an “ivory tower” piece. Had good scholarly aspects to it, but absent a “boots on the ground” feel.

I become more persuaded by the day of just how dangerous this cocktail of ideologies can be. It seems to have a particular controlling power over people who choose to “try it on for size”. Sort of like “my precious” in Lord of the Rings.

Friend: It feels to me like Stackhouse is trying to “make peace” with the Democrat side of the house here. As such, his only reference to the Conservative side is to say that we are misunderstanding the left and then that Trump’s fake news guys are now doing the same “New Morality” thing. What he has not done is accurately describe the right. Nor has he endeavored to recommend some of their benefits as he has done for these left-wing ideologies. Which seems to give him away as being partial to them?

It would seem to me that conservatives and the right are just as nuanced and that they do not fit his post-modern or critical theory definitions so well. Does he recognize the persistence of so many on the right to stay engaged in the discussions/debates? Does he recognize that the right’s persistence to do so has brought them to the place of needing to clearly identify the “fake news” approaches of both the CRT, post-modern and the New Morality guys of the left? Perhaps we are slower to adapt to a new worldview. Either way, from Limbaugh to Beck to Hannity to Cal Thomas, Dennis Prager, and others… there is a deep ongoing commitment to absolute truth and to debate as essential. Does Stackhouse recognize that?

Pastor Troy: Most often the “right” is dismissed (perhaps sometimes accidentally) as Neanderthals/bigots. When two experts are on the same show: the lefty expert is an “analyst”, the righty expert is a “conservative commentator”. Two schools: the lefty school gets easy accreditation; the righty school has to walk a tightrope for accreditation. Two cultural icon talk show hosts: the lefty (such as Oprah/Cooper/Lemon) is the queen/king of all things good; the righty (such as Rush/Beck/Ingraham) is an ambassador for dastardly “hate talk”.

I recently had a friend/acquaintance – a man who gives every appearance of being a thoughtful Christian — tell me that I was dangerous to the community because of my views that insist on evaluating truth claims in light of primary source evidence – as opposed to merely trusting the words of the “credentialed class”. All of this has me feeling that it’s time to be more on the offense, and less on the defense, at this moment in history.

Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner