Ok, so I'm on break from the blog because I have enough on my plate with papers and grading but the temptation to post has gotten to me.
While the ad produced by the UCC has had a good deal of success in spiking interest in the denomination some on the right are not happy with the ad. The IRD, which applauded the defrocking of Beth Stroud, can't believe that some churches could be protrayed as not being open. Jim Berkley, who has brought up charges against the Rev. Jane Spahr for her blessing of a same sex union, believes that the church is welcoming to folks of varying sexualities.
I admit, I'm confused by their reactions. How do you bring up heresy trials and then smart over the impression that the church is not an open place to be? I don't get it. And to include another example we have the The Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino CA, an urban ministry that serves the poor and homeless. They have been stripped of their recognition by the ELCA because they installed an associate pastor who is in a committed lesbian relationship.
I also wanted to respond to Wesley Blog's recent posts on education in liberal seminaries, since I did attend such a school. He criticizes the fact that in many such schools, students are not likely to be exposed to a number of evangelical thinkers. And I agree that this is a shame. But I also have my doubts on how exposed evangelicals are to liberal religious thought in their seminaries. How many folks in such schools have read or are familiar with the work of James Gustafson, John Cobb, Katie Cannon, Marjorie Suhocki, Carter Heyward, and Gordon Kaufman?
One program that I was involved with was a joint course between my seminary and an evangelical seminary where we had major themes of Christian thought taught by two professors, one from each school. Then we'd break up into small groups, mixing up the students from both schools to work out the lecture and the themes on issues from christology to ecclessiology. I'm not sure how prevalent such programs are, but it certainly is one example out there of efforts to break down the barriers between evangelical and liberal protestants.