Here's a photo of the missing ceiling that I promised. The computer survived the ordeal. I've finished cleaning up the place this weekend, so I can finally have a place to set up the computer. I wanted to thank Wesley Blog for the plug he's done of this site. He was responding to a newspaper piece out of Missoula, MT which happens to be where I did my undergraduate work. The question raised: can evangelicals deal with other issues like poverty and still do work on social conservative issues?
There does appear to be some basis for thinking that social issues often dominate the interests of evangelical communities in a way which other issues do not. I was struck by my conversation with a Southern Baptist campus minister. He informed me that he could never work with the local UCC Disciples campus ministry because of our open stance to gay and lesbians. Now for sure, there are other differences, but homosexuality is increasingly *the* dividing line within religious communities, in determining if you are with us or against us.
If one begins to look at public statements, this perception is re-enforced. If one compares the UCC and the Southern Baptist sites the contrast on the issues which are focused on is striking. The SBC focuses almost exclusively on conservative social issues, except a piece on the environment where regulation is criticized. In the UCC site we have issues such as protecting social security, AIDS, stopping budget cuts of poverty programs, farm labor legislation, and nuclear weapons.
Of course it is possible to be socially conservative and work on a wide range of issues, dealing with poverty, etc. The catholic church might be a good example of this. But I can't find an evangelical denomination or group with power in the public arena that spends much or any effort on issues of reducing poverty, environmental protection, and non-violence. I'm aware though how generalizations fail to hit the mark. I'm keen on finding issues which can solicit greater cooperation across these divisions in our church and society.