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 28, 2008

UU Church Attacked

"An unemployed man accused of opening fire with a shotgun and killing two people at a Unitarian church apparently targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal social policies, police said."

The Unitarian Universalist Association has set up a condolences website. And as this story has unfolded, Philocrites has been covering it. This story like too many others suggests the danger churches and individuals face for working for justice.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dealing with Real Problems

Cardinal Ivan Dias, the highest representative of the Vatican attending the Lambeth Conference said a number of things which don't give me much confidence about Roman Catholic Church at this point.

He accused the Anglican church of "spiritual Alzheimer's". Not sure if that was Dias' way of showing ecumenical regard. His other comments struck me as well. Liberalism is a form of secularism, which is demonic, and which the church is in an epic battle against.

"This combat rages fiercely even today, aided and abetted by secret sects, satanic groups and New Age movements, to mention but a few, and reveals many ugly heads of the hideous antiGod monster:"

"Among them are notoriously secularism, which seeks to build a godless society; spiritual indifference, which is insensitive to transcendental values; and relativism, which is contrary to the permanent tenets of the gospel.” Dias was quoted as saying.

Is this really the view of the Vatican? It sounds more like the plot from the Da Vinci Code than a serious and careful judgment about the problems facing our current society. Secret societies? Satanic Groups? A bishop who says things like this cannot be taken seriously.

Nor should he be. The church needs to have some care in it's pronouncements. In a world which faces crushing poverty, wars, terrorism, global warming, and the denial of basic human rights and dignity, we need a church that can recognize and tackle real problems.

Otherwise it will be seen as fighting phantoms, something one does to escape reality or to protect it's privilege (in this case against gay and lesbians). Such a move might work but it can only do so by robbing the Gospel of it's efficacy in the world.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lambeth Begins

This site is now 5 years old. It started with the Episcopal Convention that allowed Gene Robinson to become a bishop. There I saw charity towards conservatives combined and a commitment to justice.

I wish I could say the responses after the convention was marked by either charity or justice but already volumes have been written indicating why and how this has not occurred. Despite the contentious issues, a Christian community without charity is neither.

And that's the real tragedy. In the name of defending the church, the meaning of the church has been the greatest causality by it's friends. Lawsuits, church seizures, name calling, and a breakdown of basic church polity (a Gospel issue of how we share our common life.)

Recognizing our finitude might be a way forward: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pluralism and Christian Faith

This is in response to negative response that "Rose" received on a Christian apologist site: I'm apt to believe that Rose is more right than most of the commentators on this site.

If we believe that transformation and good does not happen without God than: Of course there are people of other religions who have experience God's salvation; simply because folks of other religions can give evidence of transformation towards the good.

That doesn't take away from the death and resurrection of Christ. It instead frees us from identifying that event solely with membership in a religion; the ultimate end is for Christ to be all in all where everything even our beliefs are subjected towards this end.

I agree with many commentators on here on the problem of sin, self justification, etc. I don't think it's cured by profession of some propositional claims. Nor is it solved by the pride of knowing one is in the right religion.

Is it possible that Rose's response can give us occasion to be self reflective. Or does it make us and our "very correct beliefs" defensive. If the latter, we can be subject to the problem of pride, trust in self that some are so ready to identify with others.

It may again point to the need of the Gospel to be continually challenge and correct us in the church. That's why we need a Rose to come along every now and again to question our motives, etc even if folks find it not agreeable.