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.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Agora has a piece on the future of the Christian faith. There is rapid and astonishing growth in places like Africa and Asia. This is coupled by membership decline in more liberal churches in the west. One example is Nigeria where the Anglican Church with 17 million members has the largest active membership in the communion. One suspects that what Christianity may look like in the 21st century will be defined by the developing world.

But the future is something that I have some ambivalence about. Most of the growth is concentrated in those bodies which are stridently conservative, in ways which would likely make evangelicals in the US blush. I remember hearing a Nigerian church leader give a sermon at the last episcopal convention. It was loaded with terms like God's army and infidels. I won't go into his language about homosexuals, but Falwell is much more charitable.

If there was a way in which there could be learning from each other, north and south, liberal and conservative churches, I think something could come of this. But I worry that the forms of religion are so different, that they are going off in different directions. I'd like to think there was some space for a number of forms of Christian faith and that they'd be able to communicate, connect with one another. If not it's likely that a space for liberals forms within the faith will continue to shrink.

And here's a piece on the ongoing campaign by the Bush administration to marginalize the United Nation. It was written by Clare Short, who was the UK's International Development Secretary from 1997 to 2003. She writes that the UN is "the only system we have for taking co-ordinated action to enforce peace, respond to humanitarian crisis and reach environmental agreements" and she highlights the critical role the UN is playing in relief and the future reconstruction of areas in asia devestated by the tsunami.

4 Comments:

At 8:50 AM , Blogger Rational Radical said...

Sometimes it seems as though Christianity is really two separate religions. I find it difficult to believe that I can profess the same religious faith as Falwell, et al. It is one thing to pray for unity and work to dialogue, but the results are often discouraging.

 
At 5:16 PM , Blogger Drina said...

It's frightening to see Christianity essentially follow the footsteps of radical Islam, where reasonable voices are being squeezed out by militant fundamentalists. The parallels in language are reason enough to fear for Christianity's future. But then again we should remember that we have a pretty nasty past, so we can't expect to have a nasty-free future. There will be atrocities and abuses committed in the name of Christ as long as this planet is still around. IMHO, those of us on the merciful end just need to make sure our influence will still be felt when these things happen.

 
At 10:40 AM , Blogger Matt25v40 said...

I believe that love, compassion, concern for other (not just love of God) is central to Christianity. If we only needed to be about getting right with God and developing a relationship with Him, why would Christ have spent so much of his ministry deliberately reaching out to others-- and telling us to do the same? Loving others, *including our enemies*, is a primary message (it is, after all, half of the two Great Commandments).

How so many folks can feverishly work at nurturing a relationship with Christ and then turn around and ignore this essential message of His work on Earth just escapes me. Do you love Him enough to actually do what he asks, or not? What does it mean to "love Jesus" and ignore the fact that he went out of his way to give us countless examples of loving OTHERS, not just those who look like us? If you love Him, can't you be faithful to him? If we are loving our neighbors and enemies, how can we issue venomous comments from a pulpit against ANY group of human beings?

 
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