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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Robert Duncan, bishop of Pittsburgh and head of the Anglican Network, which is working to kick the Episcopal Church out of the Anglican communion, joined other conservatives in throwing some rhetorical grenades at the church recently. Varied are the charges but they revolve around the idea that liberal protestants are not Christians. This charge is poisonous enough that dialogue with the evangelical right breaks down before it even had a chance to begin.

It's one of the reasons I've linked Wesley Blog. We undoubtedly hold some very different positions on the major issues facing the church but he's one of the few sites who is able to see this as folks with differences within the church instead of as competing religions. If one thinks as Duncan does that the other side if a false religion, an anti-christian religion which claims for itself christianity, of course dialogue doesn't happen. Vanquishment is the only option left in such a situation.

Why does he say this? Because he pits the "gospel" of inclusion against the "gospel" of transformation. Problem is, inclusion is a key feature for individual, societal, and community transformation. That is, there is no transformation without the engagement with the other, who can enlarge our world, our sense of what God is doing the world, voices which we try to ignore that God may be using to call us into account. If we're trying to ignore the "other" we may be ignoring the still voice of God in our lives.

This is an encouraging piece of news embedded in a disturbing article. In a move Jewish groups consider positive, the ELCA voted last week for "constructive investment" to partner with Israeli and Palestinian organizations that promote peace. It's a way out of the dilemma of keeping faith with the social justice concerns which rightly concern the mainline but in a manner which does not fray the important interfaith relations and work with Jewish groups. I'm hoping other mainline bodies explore such an option.

I also wanted to apologize for the huge lapse in postings. Now that summer has opened up for me some time, the posting should largely be more regular minus a trip here and there that will likely take place. I'm off to visit blogopotamus! this weekend in Iowa which I'll be blogging about, probably at her house. And than I'm likely to attend a Discordian gathering in Illinois and see what bits of religious insight and fellowship might be had. And I'm thinking of attending the UCC nat'l gathering in Atlanta, which would probably make for some postings. Anyways it's good to be back.


At 2:41 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

Oh, brilliant, I love your statement surrounding the phrase "Problem is, inclusion is a key feature for individual, societal, and community transformation. That is, there is no transformation without the engagement with the other".

As if the above were not adequate common sense, a principle of "accept first, ask later" is to be found right in the letter of James. To deny that and get stuck up about some Victorian-era sense of morals in defiance of simple reality (`the "other" exists! deal!') really seems bizarre.

Does anyone out there not see that Christianity is a path from unsaved to being with the Lord, becoming more Christ-like - but never satisfying every human constraint in this life-time? Does it follow that, IF homosexuality is viewed as a sin, that it's somehow any more worthy of preventing someone becoming a fuller servant of Christ than, say, speeding, or tardiness paying their taxes, or any other sin? We *cannot* demand perfection on earth, but we *must* allow God to be big enough to appoint whom He wants, when and where He wants, to do His work.


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