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.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Apparently the religious right was involved in pressuring Dinsey from dropping a reality tv show because one of the couples was gay. But the part which produced offense was that a number of the other Christian participants by the end of the show had become welcoming and supportive of that couple.

This is one of the barriers we face. The religious right is determined to be the *only* voice for religion in the public square and that means any possibility that a different religious perspective could be expressed, such as being supportive of gay and lesbians, must be ignored or shot down.

It's one reason our campus ministry has taken to posting signs at the school which go through myths of Christianity, myths that have taken hold because of the religious right such as "all Christians oppose gay marriage" or "all Christians oppose the teaching of evolution".

It's received positive responses by folks who are looking for an alternative. By the way, there are a lot of students who are looking for alternative between nothing versus fundamentalism. The question is whether the mainline is in a position to be that alternative.

It's one way we've been trying to break through the monopoly religious conservatives have had in shaping views about religion in this society. But it isn't easy, as one campus pastor from Seattle notes because so much of the church and society is actively working against a message of inclusion.


At 10:20 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

I like that approach. Right on.

At 6:46 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

Yup. As long as the mainstream is where people understand they can be friendly without insisting on their own peculiar 19-point creed, it'll suffice.

Apparently it's the week of Christian Unity. My rector's off to Rome for it. (Insert comments about pizza, cornettos and Bratwursts here.) Here's hoping... :)

At 7:26 PM , Blogger CK said...

Our sermon today was about how the focus shouldn't be on suppressing the "Christian right" voice, but on encouraging a liberal/progressive voice.

I wonder how that can be done when the media seems to enjoy the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells so much. Black and white pronouncements get more airtime than discussions of nuance....

At 6:10 PM , Blogger Michael Alexander said...

I think this blog is a great step in the battle to change perceptions regarding Christianity. The conservative Christians are winning because they have a massive infrastructure that has pushed their message and created a media beast. We need more great leaders to emphasize that liberal political thought comports better with Christianity than conservative thought.

War on Corporate Evil, waroncorporateevil.blogspot.com

At 2:11 PM , Anonymous John B said...

I think what Michael is proposing "We need more great leaders to emphasize that liberal political thought comports better with Christianity than conservative thought." points to the weakness in both liberal and conservative Christian positions. To align one's theology with a particular political party's ideas or platform has no scriptural basis. Our loyality is to be reserved for the reign of God. At times that reign may be better represented by a conservative political view, while at another it may be best supported by a liberal political view.

It seems to me that we as Christians need to have a wider worldview than the very limited one that the Republicans and the Democrats defend.

At 5:47 PM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

I find it hard to square homosexuality, or divorce, or sex outside of marriage with Christianity.

It's a tradition that just seems to frown on it.

What am I missing?

A couple I know were denied a marriage in the Greek Orthodox Church because both divorced and even though both prior spouses dead.

Marriage has never been a right, freely granted by Christians. And that seems pretty consistent over time.

Why should Christianity change? Isn't it better to just not be a Christian if your out of synch with the faith?

At 10:50 PM , Blogger Julie said...

Wow! I am NOT alone! Sometimes, it feels as if I am the ONLY liberal Christian who writes a blog, but looky here, I'm not.

At 12:50 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

What was cool is that a number of campus pastors we've talked to liked the idea enough that I think it might be used on some other campuses as well

I've noticed that the religious left has gotten much better in getting in the media but admittedly even then its more often because they to go for the stark pronouncement over nuance, which is a bit worrisome.

john b
I agree...our religious faith ought not be defined or limited by what the two parties give us. The idea of God is supposed to challenge any and all orthodoxies, whether left or right. The question is how to engage in politics without one's faith being driven by such.

bill baar
The tradition has hardly been uniform on such things. Homosexuality has been debated over the last 40 years and the responses of the churches have been quite varied.

Interestingly enough in protestantism the allowance for divorce has been fairly widespread early on. I do wonder if protestantism would have ever got off the ground if they had taken your tact. Do traditions get added to changed, marked by our presence? If so, then it's a living tradition.

At 7:48 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

Forty years out of a faith tradition of two millinieum isn't much. Why demand the faithful forsake centuries of tradition because of a decades old debate?

What's changed so suddenly to cause the revision?
If Christianity's a living faith; what part's eternal and what part can change with the times?

That's why Orthodoxy so appealing even to the none believer. It's clear. Believe or find another path. Liberal Christianity's a muddle.

At 12:31 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

40 years or so is how long the churches have had to wrestle with this issue, not thousands of years. Undoubtedly both sides have drawn from the resources of the tradition in engaging this and in that I'm not sure how you determined which side was faithful?

At 6:08 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

The Christian Church wrestled with the issue of homosexual sex from the start. Not 40 years ago. The homosexuals lost early; with Paul.

As did everyone else who wanted to have sex outside of a marriage between a man and a women.

People with Faith in Christ believed in these ethics.

They may have failed in practice, but they believed in these sexual eithics.

Are they ethics marginal to Christian Faith? I think not.

I'm not a Christian. I don't share the ethics.

But I respect those who do, and question those who think they're marginal since Christianity has been faithful to these beliefs...

...except in the last 40 years.

At 10:56 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

I suspect we disagree on our reading of Paul on this issue. If you wanted to peruse the whole of the church's teaching you'd find everything from the preference of celibacy and the dangers of sex on one end to the affirmation if not centrality of marriage life on the other.

The point being is that sexual ethics like a good number of things have not been a static thing. Neither has doctrine and with the Reformation that diversity has exploded. The uniformity you ascribe to orthodoxy hasn't existed unless you're placing that label on one institution and even then it's a questionable claim.

At 8:35 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

ok, bottom line then is sexual ethics can change for Christians.

As you say, they're not static.


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