Saturday, December 09, 2006

some recent comments on certain matters...

Since becoming part of Christian-bloggers I've been able to read many blogs on a variety of issues. Here are a couple of issues that I have responded to most recently. Counter-comments are always welcome:

On the notion that all Christian denominations are essentially the same with none being better than any other I said:

I was raised in one denomination (Southern Baptist), was a paid college
minister in another (episcopalian), was a youth minister in yet another
(Presbyterian), have taught several paid assignments in adults ed in YET ANOTHER
(Catholic), and have finally ended up in seminary in the Orthodox Church.

My journey has led me to a vastly different conclusion - I think that there
are many gods on the market, and many of the bad ones go by the name of Christ.
The churches I've been involved in have some real differences from one
another... serious points of disagreement on some very core issues, even with
the very question of how we discern points of doctrine and practice. I would say
without any real hesitation that the god of the Southern Baptists is not the god
worshipped by the Episcopalians/Presbyterians, who is in turn not the god
worshipped by the Catholics or Orthodox.

I wouldn't actually use the language of "accuracy" in the strictest sense
to describe the differences, but rather the language of "authenticity". We only
know God through the practices and understandings bequeathed unto us by a living
tradition, and some traditions have grappled with the basic matters a hell of a
lot better than others.

Does this mean that they're perfect? I would not be so naive as to say
that. But, I would say without hesitation that a very few groups have kept to
some form of the genuine message of Christ much more authentically than have
others, often through no fault of their own. This is entirely the wrong medium
for me to make my point in a full and sufficient way, but I am commenting in
order to give a different perspective. I view many Christians not as brothers
and sisters in faith, but as mission territory.

Another guy was fuming that Christians rant and rave about things like homosexuality and cohabitation while "real problems" like mud slides and poverty are not attributed to God. Here was my post (which includes mention of a previous post who's meaning I'm sure you can discern):

I think there can also be a certain healthy separation between affective and
effective divine intervention. Generally I don't see God effectively judging.
Never seen lightning bolts strike down the evildoers or anything like that, but
I've certainly seen the consequences of bad decision making made manifest in
unfortunate results.

While we should all mourn mudslides and such, I have to agree with Lunt's
initial point - don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. An overemphasis on
cohabitation doesn't mean it's a good idea any more than an underemphasis on
poverty means that it's unimportant.

For my part I find far more people who are far more willing to talk about
starvation than sexual misconduct within the congregation... but then i'm not
around evangelicals all that much.


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