A Good Start

On the About page of this blog, I express, in essence, the hope that at some point, the church will be able to discuss differing opinions on any cultural, moral or political issue civilly no matter what it is.  I hope that this includes the “agree to disagree” principle so that we can come as close as humanly possible to the truth about such things as respect for human life (death penalty, abortion, etc.), the government’s versus the church’s role in providing for widows and orphans, etc., etc.

Same sex marriage is among the issues that I know a vast majority of Christians can’t, under the current church climate, question in their church.  I know there are exceptions, and I hope that this is beginning to change.

Well, I just came across this document calling for exactly this to happen.

A Call for a New Conversation on Marriage

Now, I looked at the list of signatories and am not satisfied with the number of church leaders involved.  There are a few who are to the right of center on the conservative spectrum, and there are a few (“liberal”) seminary leaders and a Bishop in the Episcopal Church.  I applaud these church leaders, but I wish there were more conservatives on the list.

The most encouraging for me is the name of the President of Fuller Theological Seminary.  Fuller has for a long while been a distinctly Christian institution, with a good reputation for facilitating this kind of discussion.

I do hope this document is the spark for a new kind of discussion..

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Dangerous New Front in the American Culture War

Watch this video, and keep an open mind.

Look past the “bias.” Look past the fact that it’s an opinion piece, and listen to what the Christians are saying.  There is no way you can take this completely out of context and make them mean something other than the words they’re saying.  Listen to the last words of the video at the very least.

Gospel of Intolerance

Unfortunately, I could only insert a link and not the actual video, but I think it at least speaks enough for itself to at least provoke your thought.

Newtown and Responsibility

I wish I could avoid writing about this because I feel like I’m just adding to the noise.  And, of course, anyone who comments on this tragedy, unless that comment is a direct memorial to the lost lives, runs the risk of distracting from what’s really important.  I’m taking that risk, but I hope there’s been enough time to process and someone benefits.

First, a couple of videos, a comment (at the very end) in context and a (presumably more prepared) follow-up:

Now, I like Mike Huckabee personally even though I disagree with his political statements at least 40% of the time. I think he’s generally a fun-loving, commpassionate, smart guy, and for better or worse he’s not a cookie-cutter conservative.

But, during the election season and in response to the Newtown tragedy, Mr. Huckabee confirmed the worst Christian stereotype. And, I’m afraid many preachers followed his example in their sermons the next Sunday.

He tried to place the blame somewhere that it doesn’t belong. The blame lies squarely on Adam Lanza and anyone who knew of his impaired mental health, was in a position to help him but did nothing.

I actually heard a sermon in which the preacher, after he talked about those who “celebrate what God says is wrong” invited his congregation to repent on behalf of those who were responsible for the nation’s turn from God, which resulted in this shooting. That’s almost a direct quote, and I’m pretty sure it’s not hard to figure out what specific group of people he was talking about. I was frankly appalled.

Now, there are a lot of reasons I believe that what Huckabee said was wrong and that it was the wrong time to say it, but I don’t want to get lost in the weeds here. I think it’s enough, for now, to say that I was disappointed that such an admired Christian spokesman as Mike Huckabee chose to use this tragedy for political purposes.

I’m also disappointed that he chose to use the “God’s Judgment” theme in a way he likely knew would be repeated in churches across America. It’s arrogant and it damages Christianity! God will stay undamaged, but His followers won’t.

To be sure, the Christian Right is not the only group to use the tragedy for their own purposes (notably the gun control advocates), but Christians should be better than this.