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, May 05, 2006


Been reading about the coming split with the American Baptists. The right is unhappy that while the denomination has consistently spoken out against gay and lesbians, they have not sought to punish individual churches who disagree.

But the ABC is congregationalist and that means that such decisions are up to local churches. I don't see how that is not evident even to those on the right. Sadly congregationalist governance is becoming endangered by this crusade against gays in these denominations.

The LA Times writes on this issue in the ECUSA. CA is considering who will be the new bishop. A number of the candidates are gay. If one is chosen, the ramifications are quite large for the church. A number of thingssaid in this article are worth noting.

A conservative is quoted as saying that a gay bishop will mean "anything goes". There are divisions between liberals and conservatives in the church, but no one has affirmed "anything goes". If there is to be division, let's have it over actual divisions, not ones made up to make one side look bad.

Dealing with end of the semester and fighting a cold, so my postings are likely to be rare for the next week. Check out this article on inclusion by Chris Tessone. "The exclusion of gays and lesbians from the full life of the church is a symptom of disease in the church."


At 12:48 PM , Anonymous Chris T. said...

What's funny is that congregationalism only seems to be suffering in congregationalist churches. In the ECUSA, every time a liberal bishop makes an unpopular decision, there's an outcry that conservative parishes should be able to do whatever they want.

Of course, I agree to a point—congregationalism is on balance a good thing. But congregations and clergy should also follow the polity of their chosen denom until such time as they can change it...

At 9:34 PM , Anonymous Virginia said...

I must disagree with you on that one, Chris, at least in your statement's potential extreme conclusion. Nothing changes in a church if everybody plays by the book. I think we need to be judicious in how we break the rules, but if the rules are blatantly unchristian (such as excluding people or denying them basic dignities such as marriage), I don't think that Godde is going to wait for the "right time" to call us to action. And when groups such as the Methodists make statements that basically say "if you don't support our polity, you can't even be on a church jury," the only way to resist is to lovingly disobey. I can't imagine saying "Sorry, Godde, but my denomination said no, so I didn't do your work until they changed their mind." Of course, recognizing that there are times when we must disobey is scary and involves trusting one another. And it requires that we bring up our children and new members to be wise about the role of community so as not to abuse situation of disagreement.

At 8:44 PM , Anonymous Chris T. said...

Sorry for writing without thinking—I meant that one should follow the polity and policies or be willing to live with the consequences. I think it's a point in the column of the "reappraisers" that people like Gene Robinson, Beth Stroud, et al., have been willing to stand up to those judicial processes and speak strong words against the very processes themselves. Conservatives, esp. in the ECUSA, have just whined about ideology. If the processes are stifling (and in the ECUSA I think they are), one should work to change them rather than just complain.


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