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, November 29, 2006

Tillich and Belief

Came across this passage while reading Tillich's sermons in his book The New Being. I've noticed that he has a way of rendering John 12:44-50 in ways I had never considered.
"He who believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.." These words follow a bitter complaint of the evangelist about the unbelief and half belief of the people and their leaders.

"Jesus cried out.." He is making an almost desperate effort to be understood. And what he cries out is that believing in him means not believing in him. The argument of the unbelievers was and is...it is impossible to believe in Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus declares "This argument is valid. If people are asked to believe in me, they should not do so. But they are not asked any such thing! They are asked to believe in Him who sent me, who is greater than I..I have not spoken on my own authority."

..Jesus is neither an authority nor an object of faith. None of his superior qualities..make him an object of faith. On this basis..he does not judge anyone. If he did, he would be a tyrant who imposes..thus destroying instead of saving..

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good News

Some indications of why this election was so important. A general serving in Iraq says that Rumsfield signed off on "harsh interrogation techniques". And dems are "seeking information about detention of terrorism suspects, abuse of detainees and government secrecy"

Maybe a return to the rule of law and improving our human rights record is around the corner? And two examples of mainline inclusion in the news, the Pew Forum had an interview with someone from the religious left and religious right on the recent elections.

And Newsweek and the Washington Post has a series of articles from various religious thinkers and they actually included mainliners into the mix such as Martin Marty. I hope this indicates a shift to come where the religious monologue in this nation is ending.

The National Council of Churches are considering a social creed, with demands which could make a difference in the US and around the world, especially for the poor. Though the non creedalist in me cringes at the word, the ideas are worth exploring.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Some Thoughts

I was looking at the Southern Baptist website and they had a piece on how Bush is a great evangelical president because he has increased room for evangelism around the world.

Yet on the same site is a piece on how Bush's state department has declared Vietnam ok in terms religious freedom, much to the consternation of evangelical groups. They also should have included how many Christians have fled Iraq since the advent of the war.

In this same article Bush is lauded for the war on terror. Of course no word is mentioned concerning torture, or illegal spying or the loss of civil liberties. Only that he was right to see foreign policy as a war between good and evil. Is this actually Christian?

I always thought this was Manichaeism. Christian faith points to the recognition of the pervasiveness of sin, even in ourselves. The good evil dichotomy doesn't describe our world and may obscure our own guilt and our own judgment before God.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.-Cicero.

The Disciples of Christ has a special special Thanksgiving offering that helps support college and seminary students. An important ministry of the church. Happy Thanksigiving

Saturday, November 18, 2006

News Items

Gay marriage will now be a reality in South Africa. Again that country out paces the US. The major monotheistic religions got together in their opposition to gay and lesbians to stop a parade in Jerusalem.

As I noted in my last post, there have been some studies on how religious Americans voted. The dem effort to attract evangelicals was largely unsuccessful, but it had the side effect of attracting mainline protestants and winning the Catholic vote.

Closing the god gap, which made the difference in this election, happened by including a number of religious Americans. The kind that have gotten little media exposure since the 04 election. And they turned out apparently over issues such as Iraq and corruption.

I think there is a major media story here, mainline and catholic voters closed the gop gap. This would be worth covering instead of defining values voters, god voters, church going voters as exclusively evangelical white protestants.

In other news, the North Carolina Southern Baptists have created a mechanism for investigating their congregations, if they are deemed too gay friendly, they can be kicked out of the conference. Is this congregational polity, and is this truly baptist?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Elections

As someone who was born, grew up, and spent most of my life in Montana, the election of John Tester to the US Senate was the highlight of a good election night last week.

Montana has a history of progressive leaders from Jeanette Rankin, the first woman in congress to senators Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf. It's good to see that tradition re-affirmed. Hopefully the anger with the war in Iraq will make for some substantive changes.

What is interesting is the role religion played in the victories last week. The Catholic vote swung to the Democrats. And the mainline Protestant vote is becoming a part of the dem coalition while evangelicals remained true to the GOP.

The moral issues were much broader, including religious efforts to increase the minimum wage. While this is good news, there are pitfalls for the religious left, in the midst of these victories. But for now I'm content with the changed landscape.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Torture and the Election

"It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney claimed in an interview with a right wing radio talk show host concerning the use of waterboarding, or "dunking" suspects, by the United States government.

This election, find out how your member of congress has voted on torture, on the ending of habeas corpus for terror suspects, and granting unchecked power for domestic surveillance. And vote as if the nation's soul is at risk. Because it is.