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.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Campus Ministries II

Just to pick on an example of what I raised about mainline campus ministries earlier, check out this site. There's a tremendous amount of things happening at this center, great social justice events, but no references to any distinctive religious programming.

You'll look in vain to find a bible study, a worship, a discussion group, anything that tries to relate religious faith to students. Reading their self description as well as their staff info, there is nothing to suggest that this is a protestant ministry of any kind.

As someone on the left I support their social justice work and I don't want to suggest that they ever lose such a thing. But when there is no relation between that work and any religious resources, I think both ends get cheated and this creates problems.

Social justice without the transcendent means we simply rely on the collective resources of humans, which is not sufficient. When one has power, like the religious right, this produces arrogance. When one doesn't have power, like the left, it can produce despair.

That's because both assume that we are the only relevant actors. Religion without social justice can also suffer the problem of focus on the individual self, as if we had no responsibilities to go beyond ourselves to the world. Both leave God out of the picture too often.

Now without an attempt to build a faith community it is hard to see how a Christian student would ever join this group. There is a prohetic ministry which is being abandoned, since there's a lot of students, gay and lesbians, questioners, etc. who need a spiritual home.

When the mainline abdicates reaching out to them, the vacuum is filled by evangelical groups. Christianity on campus is defined by them. If one wanted to do a prohetic ministry, linking faith to social justice, providing an alternative vision of faith is a good way to start.

These issues have have been raised by a number of other Disciple pastors. Their response? These reflect a "traditionalist agenda of defending conserving the religious faith and order structures which transmit values important for the socialization of the US corporate transnational security state."

Huh? In any case, there are campus ministries across the country that do not put social justice work in juxtaposition to building a faith community, rather they seek to connect students to religious faith and social justice work. One good example of this can be found here.


At 11:10 AM , Blogger Gaius said...

Doesn't sound like those guys are either religious or liberal, does it?

Atheist hard left, is more like it.

They took over your church thingee, there, Dwight.

At 7:01 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

From what I've seen of their site, your analysis seems pretty accurate. Looking at the `who we are' page I see no mention of any religion at all, it's just board-this structure-that.

As for "socialization of the US corporate transnational security state", well, speaking as a representative of the rest of the world, we've already inherited quite enough of the US' security problems here, thankin' you.


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