A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

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.


At 2:29 PM , Blogger Deborah said...

You are so correct. Just discovered your blog....great reading. Will bookmark it.

(I'm at Heart, Soul& Humor, also at blogspot. http://HeartSoulandHumor.blogspot.com I consider myself a liberal evangelical.....born and raised Presbyterian, switched to an evangelical church in middle age, four years ago.)

Your words speak to me.

At 3:19 AM , Blogger Nate said...

The worst part is that I'm told the bouncer thing has actually happened (I can't confirm it). If it did happen, I can't even imagine what kind of church that must be -- certainly a museum for "saints" rather than a hospital for sinners, no?

At 10:48 AM , Blogger Mumcat said...

I like the ad. The "bouncers" at the entrance remind me very much of the kinds of guys one would encounter when trying to enter a very exclusive club. Unfortunately, that's what some churches have become.

If I weren't Episcopalian and finding that ECUSA allows me to think, to question and to be okay with working through stuff, I'd join the UCC in a minute. I'm glad they had the courage to do this ad.

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At 5:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were talking about reading and I was wondering how open-minded you are. IF you are, you should read a book written by a former Christian song writer, (over 100 published songs some of which are top selling)
Christian Youth leader and Minister for many years.

His name is Dan Barker and his book is:
"Losing Faith in Faith"

thanks for your time.

Neil C. Reinhardt


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