Politics

Kentucky's Governor Might Be a Christian, but I Don’t Think Much of His Christianity

Kentucky's Governor Might Be a Christian, but I Don’t Think Much of His Christianity

Look, I don’t care how many Jesus fish you’ve got on the back of your car, or how many times you’ve sung Shine Jesus Shine, or how stirringly you can talk about orphans in foreign countries, if you refuse to help the people you have it within your power to help, then the Jesus you’re so publicly selling doesn’t have anything to do with the one found hanging out with lepers, giving sight to the blind, and holding the hands of the untouchables in the Gospels.

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Are There Limits on Diversity?

Open ArmsDiversity. Good word. I’m a progressive, so I use the word a lot. But I’m wondering about the limits of diversity. We progressives prefer not to think about the fact that—as much as we like to think so in theory—in practice there’s no way to include everybody.

Ok. There. I said it. You can’t include everybody.

Wh-what?!?

Somebody will almost certainly exclaim gleefully at this point: “See, I knew it! Liberals want to include everyone except those who are exclusivists!”

Continue reading at [D]mergent . . .

DOMA and the Supreme Court: Its Time for the Church to Get Its Story Straight — [D]mergent

On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 26 and 27, the Supreme Court is going to hear three hours of arguments on two cases concerning the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act DOMA. Both have to do with the legality of denying marriage to same gendered couples. That the way this issue is argued, and ultimately decided, bears watching should go without saying. I along with a number of other people will be paying close attention.

Since legal analysis isn’t my area of expertise, I will leave that to the professional legal pundits. What I’m interested in taking a look at is the extent to which our attitudes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have changed so profoundly that it is now possible to think that full equality, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is within reach. So, without resorting overmuch to triumphalism, here’s what I think:

No matter what happens in the Supreme Court this week, the war against the exclusion of LGBT folks has been won; we are merely fighting rearguard actions.

Continue reading at DOMA and the Supreme Court: Its Time for the Church to Get Its Story Straight — [D]mergent.

Broken Promises: How We Betrayed the Next Generation — [D]mergent

Last week, on the day of the President’s State of the Union address, Alexandria Petri wrote a piece for the Washington Post on the “State of the Millennial Union.” You know, Millennials—that age demographic that includes those born between 1980 and 2000?Ms. Petri suggested that the state of the Millennial union is anything but strong. Twenty and Thirty-somethings are stressed, anxious. They’re unemployed at a rate of 13.1% … which fails to take into account the 1.7 million young adults from that generation that have given up looking for work.

They are, according to Ms. Petri, feeling a bit left behind by the administration whose presidential campaign relied so heavily on them to win reelection. “Yes,” they say, “we’re concerned about social issues. Yes, we tend to be more liberal than our parents on the soft stuff. But we are concerned about economics—especially the economics that have to do with our own pocketbooks … since those are remarkably empty right about now. We were there for you; we need you to be there for us.

”Why the stress? Why the lingering fear that they’ve been betrayed?

Broken promises.

via Broken Promises: How We Betrayed the Next Generation — [D]mergent.

Bullies, Drones, and Jesus: An Open Letter to the President — [D]mergent

Dear Mr. President,I’ve had you on my mind lately, what with the kerfuffle over drones. I thought I’d write you a little note.In sixth grade I punched Russell Burgess in the mouth. He never saw it coming. Well, I mean, he saw it coming in the sense that he saw my fist coming toward his face. But he didn’t know I was going to do it.Russell was an easy kid to dislike. He wasn’t necessarily mean; he was just always there, underfoot, at the wrong time, desperately seeking affirmation from prepubescent suburbanites who were socially and biologically engineered to sniff out neediness for the purposes of withholding approval. We had power we were unafraid of wielding, usually without regard to the consequences experienced by our victims.The reason I punched him, I suppose, had to do with my own need for approval. Standing in a crowd, I told him to take a hike. He laughed at my presumption. So, I punched him in the mouth.My outburst caused no small amount of consternation.

via Bullies, Drones, and Jesus: An Open Letter to the President — [D]mergent.

Disgusted Young People: How Martin Luther King Predicted the Decline of the Mainline Church

martin-luther-king-being-arrested

"So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent—and often even vocal—sanction of things as they are.

"But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

There’s been a series on NPR this past week about young adults leaving their religion behind. The thrust of the weeklong series centered on the increasing number among the emerging generations who no longer claim any religious affiliation.

Some gave traumatic grief as a reason for giving up, and others named a ponderous ecclesiastical hierarchy they no longer found useful, while still others struggled with what felt like the silliness of trying to find consolation in mythology. I get the impression from listening to them that they’ve thought more about religion than many of the people I know who’ve remainedin the church. They’ve carved their disbelief out of the cold existential marble of a future scape devoid of religious infrastructure.

Interestingly, though, some of what I heard sounded like wistfulness, a desire somehow to have the “something” they felt like religion offers. “Not consolation, necessarily” they say. “Not so much forgiveness,” they’re quick to add. For some it sounded like a desire for community. For another I heard it as a longing for the kind of taken-for-grantedness associated with a meaningful afterlife, which some religion offers.

Continue reading on [D]mergent . . .

Supplanting: Will the Church Continue to Grab the Heel of the Culture? — [D]mergent

Supplanting: Will the Church Continue to Grab the Heel of the Culture? — [D]mergent

From the vantage point of those whose full inclusion is on the line, the calculation looks like this: Mainline leaders—who for the most part agree that sexual identity and gender orientation shouldn’t be an obstacle either to civil rights or to full participation in the life and ministry of the church—fear the inevitable fallout from being too far out front on this issue; but they also fear driving away LGBTIQ people and their allies if it appears the church is too far behind on it either. So, it looks for all the world like a decision to embrace welcome and hospitality can come only after it appears the culture has made it safe for the church to be faithful.  

Continue reading: Supplanting: Will the Church Continue to Grab the Heel of the Culture? — [D]mergent.