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, July 25, 2005

I apologize for the minimal postings in the last few weeks. I have some major deadlines for summer projects which are rapidly coming up so I expect that until their done posting will remain lighter than I would like . But there have been some religious news stories which have grabbed my attention and I thought I'd highlight them. Aslo I can be caught posting every once in a while at the Progressive Protestant site during this summer slowdown.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada voted to defeat a motion at the tenth national convention to allow a local option for pastors to perform blessings for same-sex couples. It was worded so that when a large majority of a congregation and the pastor supported such a move they could perform such unions. I was hoping that the courage of the Canadian church might make a difference in terms of the ELCA in the US but it was not to be this year.

A new site by Harry Reid is not a bad start in connecting democrats and religious voters. Instead of bashing the religious right or mimicking them by pulling God into every debate the site simply highlights those areas in which democrats and faith groups are able to work together on things from immigration to poverty issues. Highlighting these connections could help in restoring the idea that democrats listen to and take seriously religious people.

I've noticed a line of argument on a number of conservative sites which is a bit disturbing. In response to a liberal Catholic author one site wrote that if liberals had their way "the priesthood would be full of soft, effeminate, self-seeking, bleeding-heart sissies. Not exactly the kind of priesthood I or anyone with any sense wants." Why this bashing the feminine? How does gender come into how we label ourselves and our opponents? Have other folks noticed this line of argument increasing on the web?


At 7:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is not just 1 God, there are many, and Odin is their most honoured one
Juli 26th, 2005
Hi. My name is Orm (that is scandinavian for Serpent) and I would like to state my mind on this here weblog. I am a pagan, a heathen and I think this is something to be proud of, to be still part of the Old Ways. I truly believe that since when Cristianity and Muhamedanism and Judaism have started to arise in this (fucked up) world, the world got fucked up, so to say. Ever since man has left the old Gods the world definitely has not gotten any better, Billions have died for it, and still they are all looking for answers their Gods (Allah, Jaweh and God) will probably never give them. Then they are strange religions anyway, because why should any man fear a God, are Gods not here to make us feel better? I leave it to this for now. Feel free to respond to what I have to say. There is not 1 God, there are many, by Odin…

At 1:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anonymity of the web allows people's true feelings to flourish, so the latent sexism of many is re-emerging.

At 4:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings in Christ!

I am the priest who wrote about the priesthood. In no way am I demeaning femininity. I just think women should be feminine, not men. For men to be feminine is a perversion of masculinity, just as masculinity is a perversion of femininity. Men should be masculine, and women should be feminine, and both are dignified. That is my point.

If you want more info on the whole issue of masculinity and the priesthood check out this article by a priest friend of mine: http://www.fathertodd.com/blog/archives/2005/06/the_forgotten_v.html

Fr. Christensen

At 7:47 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

I think the interest in working out a religious faith outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition can be commendable but from your comments I'm not sure that you've done it yet.

The term heathen, in particular, only makes sense in relation to another religion. One is never a heathen in their own religion per se, so by identifying with heathen your identifying by what you are not, in this case Christian.

The term Odin and what we know of Odin is essentially Roman or Christian authors, and in particular Scandinavian accounts come from Christian accounts. Even the name Odin which has connection with terms like "possession" suggests the demon like status that early Christian authors associated with such a deity.

That is, whatever can be gathered about Odin is rigged from the start. I'm not sure how one would go about constructing a system of worship, etc. outside of Christianity with this account. And does God or the gods make us feel better? That must be some element but it's hard imagining that this is the central goal of religion.

Afterall Odin, was the only deity which demanded human sacrafice, something Yawheh never did. The Roman/Greek deities never would either. Picking a warrior deity while expressing legit concerns about how religions seem to lead to death and killings strikes me as a bit odd. I do consider your concerns important.

The wars and bigotries dressed up as religion in the modern world is tragic. But I think working out an alternative means either constructing new religious systems or working with the rich resources of one's own tradition to deal with the problems of human life. I suspect the latter is more effective, but I think whatever route is chosen, some means of working together across religious divides to tackle these problems become key.

At 7:53 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

Fr. Christensen
Though terms like sissy don't strike me as endearing for the feminine. I have my doubts that such terms are that helpful. They may explain some traits and behaviors typically associated with certain genders, but I think you're treating them as more solid, as boundaries, as fixed. I assume a good priest would be someone who could take a bit from both in some ways..nurturance and authority, empathy and leadership, etc.
I do think the web seems to be the place where the most far out things can be found, if not encouraged. It makes me wonder how much the internet is changing us, perhaps even strengthen the polarization which is happening in this country.

At 6:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


When it comes to christians and their way of looking at a religion like the old northern european ones, I think that most of them do not seem to realize that there are ancient icelandic sagas that most definitely describe the Old Ways from an northern (not cristian, but pagan) point of view. There is a very old document called the king sagas which handles about most of the scandinavian kings of old, and their ways. In fact, this document is one of the most important ones when it comes to references of how the people used to live then. When it comes to human sacrifice I believe that you mistake the germanic beliefs of old with those of the germanics celts of even older whom most certainly did sacrifice humans. By the time the "shaven men" (christians) went up north to try and (eventually succeeded to) convert the people, those practices did no longer excist there. But did not Jehova also command in one of the stories in the old testament that a first born son had to be sacrificed?? An example of this is the story of Abraham and Isaac, which extols the willingness of the father to sacrifice his son and nevertheless ends up as validating the substitution of animal sacrifice for human sacrifice.(go to this url for more info on judean/ cristian human sacrifice http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/maccoby.html )or to this one for more on greek and roman human sacrifice ( http://www.allabouthistory.org/Greek-Gods.htm ) or just type greek and roman human sacrifice in at google or msn search. You will probably be amased to find out how much literature there is on that. So, basically no religion can say that in some time in its existence they have never been ?guilty? of doing so. There is also a wonderfull book called "the long ships" by frans g. bengtsson which handles the period around 1000 AD, when christianity finally made its way up the northern regions. When it comes to practical worship, the people of the north did not really have as much rituals as do cristians, jews or muhamedans, and definitely did not worship them as much. They called upon them when thought necessary, and more than often it was not necessary at all, as long as life was good (good harvests, fat cows etc...). More soon on practical norse worship...... Orm

At 9:42 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

What I wanted to say is that Odin was the only deity in the Scandinavian pantheon which sought and received human sacrafice. Certainly there are other deities in this pantheon which did not which might seem more reflective of the concerns that you've raised. And certainly other religions have it though In the OT story of course no human sacrafice transpires in the Abraham and Isaac story. I think if we want to pursue this as a discussion it'd make more sense to do so by private e-mail. I can be reached at universalist@hotmail.com

At 2:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well ok. You can reach me, and that goes for everyone here at .,.. quasi-mundo@hotmail.com allthough I do believe it is quite an interesting subject to many, and am hoping for some more public response. My first post here however had nothing to do with the subject of "human sacrifice", but it does make an interesting point. If you will want to discuss this as a public thing, I can open a forum on my webdomain, and we can keep on discussing it there publicly, but for now....

At 12:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if I look and listen to some of the things going on on the Web, one that really strikes me the most of recently is the phrase "intelligent design". All sorts of bells go rinkling of in my head right now. Are we being prepared for a meeting with some all mighty, highly intelligent and supreme alien being, being the, say architect of human buildingblocks? Is God really a supernatural, super powerful chemist? Is He a He? What the h... is God, or what the h... is intelligent design? What's wrong with people who are evolutionists? Is there something wrong with them? Were the UFO followers and believers all the time right? Please help me, I am confused, so, probably just not such an intelligent machine, I guess??


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