Posts Tagged ‘Equity



25
Feb
09

The Nature of Marriage

I would like to direct your attention to a discussion on Soulforce forums. The discussion is not primarily about same-sex marriage, although it does enter into the discussion, but about the nature of marriage in it’s most basic form. What is it that makes a marriage?

The post was started by 17 year-old Jennifer – one of my favorite 17 year-olds because of the depth of her thoughts and her gentle spirit. The answers have ranged from the almost, but not quite, mundane to purely and simply eloquent. One of my favorites is post #6 from u-dog, one of the other ministers on the boards. Jennifer’s inquiry began:

What is marriage? Continue reading ‘The Nature of Marriage’

20
Feb
09

A Worthy Woman

Jesus didn’t invent the parable – he may have perfected it, but he didn’t invent it. The book of Ruth is, in its entirety, an Old Testament parable as critical of Jewish culture as Jesus was in his day. The Book of Ruth isn’t just a story with a nice moral, but is just as “in your face” to the Jewish culture as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Ruth, as a Moabite, was unacceptable in Jewish society. Racism was alive and well back then, too. Deuteronomy, Ezra and Nehemiah all tell how Moabites were ostracized – barred from being part of Jewish society. And it all went back to the time of Moses, when the men of Israel blamed their promiscuity on the women of Moab. Sound familiar – well, if they weren’t here, we wouldn’t have sinned. They’re the problem.

How is this story critical of that attitude?

Continue reading ‘A Worthy Woman’

20
Feb
09

ELCA Wrestles out its Conscience

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is not alone in its efforts to find a suitable middle ground in the debate over sexuality. There! That’s some surprising news, eh? The ELCA is on the verge of proffering its won solution to the internal squabbles over basic rights for an entire class of candidates for ministry and the populations they may represent. The “Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality” does essentially the same things as the PC(USA)’s G-6.0106b Amendment 08B – establishes local authority to discriminate or not. It is not an ideal solution, by a long stretch, but a awkward step forward. Continue reading ‘ELCA Wrestles out its Conscience’

16
Feb
09

The Baby in the Bath Water

In colonial America, as in other places where water was fetched and heated only with great effort, ablutions were a family process. One by one, beginning with the father, then the mother and continuing through the youngest child, all would bath in the same tub of water. Both parents, as well all the oldest kids, worked the fields and tended the livestock. Of course, children also played outside. Saturday, in order to be clean for Sunday church service, was the proverbial bath night.  The old German proverb, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” had a very real meaning for early American settlers. Admittedly, even though the water was so tepid and dirty by the time the youngest of perhaps a dozen or more children were finished bathing that it would have been easy, it would have been ridiculously rare, if it ever happened at all, to loose a child in the muck. Rather than literal, the saying came to represent a frontier dweller’s value for resources similar to that expressed in the adage, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Continue reading ‘The Baby in the Bath Water’

13
Feb
09

The Myth or Reality of American Civil Religion

The term “civil religion” was first used by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an eighteenth century philosopher and writer, and refers to “the religious dimension of the polity“, or the intertwining of religious presuppositions with the political and social aspects of life. It is easy to understand why Rousseau would be critical of religion, since in 1717 he was born and subsequently raised in Geneva, at that time a still flourishing theocracy – in other words, a civil society under the rulership of God and scripture. His cynicism gave Rousseau a keen perception of the role of the power of suggestion in social life, which is illustrated in this famous quote, “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said, “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society.”  Continue reading ‘The Myth or Reality of American Civil Religion’

11
Feb
09

Growing Beyond Numbers – a continuing project

This is a project I was involved with several years ago, while in seminary. I have threatened numerous times to revisit this and continue to work at the basic premise. It was good, just not complete. If you feel inclined to help, I would appreciate any suggestions. I will no doubt make sure that the revisions can be seen apart from the original, which is owned collectively by all the authors. Each gave their permission years ago to work with this, as long as attribution was given.

Be prepared: This is a small book. It is, at least I think, interesting and challenging – especially for churches in flux and those trying to redefine their identity – but it is not a quick read.  

Continue reading ‘Growing Beyond Numbers – a continuing project’

09
Feb
09

Can the Church Reconcile with its Own Victims? (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2

From this point forward, this paper follows a fairly radical ethical line – one based on Mat 16:25-26,

“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” (NRSV)

The church has based much of its behavior, since becoming an institution, on maintaining its status, solvency, relevance and political clout in the world. That behavior, as stated above, has included the historical marginalization or oppression of significant groups, many of who are still found within its doors. When this conduct is measured against what is perhaps the most significant Christian ethic, the “greatest commandment” of Mat 22:37-39[1], it fails miserably. The antidote for this ethos is none other than to embrace the message of the greatest commandment even if it leads to the church’s own material demise. The life of the church is founded on the concept of being the light of Christ to the world and, however divine the calling may be, is a temporal and, therefore, quite possibly a temporary presence in society. To maintain its existence at the expense of any of its neighbors, which includes any part of God’s creation inside or outside its walls, is to seek life over its mission. Continue reading ‘Can the Church Reconcile with its Own Victims? (Part 3)’

08
Feb
09

Can the Church Reconcile with it’s Own Victims? (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Reform movements have been associated with the church since its earliest days, generally when it was considered too focused on earthly or material matters. John Chrysostom, in the late fourth century, wrote of the political intrigue, power struggles and scandalous excesses being enjoyed by priests and laity of the church.  He restructured the finances of the church in Constantinople, selling many of the acquired luxuries of the clergy to feed and cloth the poor,[1] thereby enraging many of the priests. One thousand years later, the Brethren of the Common Life, an order started by Gerard Groote, railed against many of the same problems, including the secularization of the church.[2]  Between these two examples and their respective timeframes, history tells of myriad other reform movements that sought to correct very similar patterns of behavior, resulting in a list of dissidents within which almost all Protestant denominations can find their roots – Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and Wesley to name but a few. Continue reading ‘Can the Church Reconcile with it’s Own Victims? (Part 2)’

05
Feb
09

Land Ethic – A Model for Environmentalists?

Catching up on some old reading, I came across an article, “The Land Ethic” by J. Baird Callicott, that stirred my juices for discussing some aspects of environmental ethics. I do this from time to time, it’s part of my ‘illness’ to engage in something for sheer geekfest value. If this interests you – hmmm, well, I wouldn’t want to criticize. Continue reading ‘Land Ethic – A Model for Environmentalists?’

03
Feb
09

Towards a More Robust Community

 … building a better place for all.

What is community?

The first, and most important, ingredient of community is people. A community is a group of people who share a common sense of belonging to something. That commonality is most likely a place like a neighborhood or village. Sometimes there are micro-communities that form into a community – smaller groups of people with common interests who cooperate with other groups to achieve broader goals. This is actually the most common definition of a healthy community. Continue reading ‘Towards a More Robust Community’

01
Feb
09

Marx on Religion & its Role in Oppression (Part 3)

Moving Towards the Reality of Empowered People …

Marx conceived of a day when the disenfranchised proletariat would rebel against the powerful gentry and communalize all real holdings. The intermediate step would require a socialist structure, before the final step to communism would be possible. The leaders of this nation would be accountable to the proletariat, operating purely in the collective best interest of the larger community and the resulting government would be very democratic. In the instances where Marxism has been exercised to any degree, virtually the opposite has occurred. In the end, a new bourgeoisie developed – an elite group of politically minded people living in stark contrast to the general populace – that was more oppressive than that which it replaced. Productivity in countries without private ownership decreased rather than increased. The result was squalor, hunger, poverty and disillusionment – the very conditions Marx wished to overcome. Continue reading ‘Marx on Religion & its Role in Oppression (Part 3)’

01
Feb
09

Marx on Religion & its Role in Oppression (Part 2)

Did Disillusion Foster More Illusions?

Criticizing Marx on particulars is relatively easy, especially since there has been a considerable expanse of time between his writings and the current social, economic and political climates. It becomes easier yet when using proof-texts upon which to base the critique, as opposed to performing a broad study of Marx’s ideas. The latter would obviously be outside the scope of this paper. While further criticisms will undoubtedly develop, it would be appropriate to concentrate largely on integrating the three subjects previously discussed into a dialogue that may be useful to the very people that Marx wrote against – capitalists and Christians. Continue reading ‘Marx on Religion & its Role in Oppression (Part 2)’

01
Feb
09

Marriage Denied

I would like to point you in the direction of a brief article that takes a different tack on the marriage issue.

It is brilliant in it’s simplicity, and makes a cogent point easy to understand.

It can be found at http://www.religiondispatches.org/blog/sexandgender/755/.

Enjoy the chuckle, but give serious thought to the implications.

28
Jan
09

God as Mother – Masculinity Lost? (Part 4)

Continued from Part 3, or go to beginning at Part 1.

EMASCULATION OR UN-MASCULINIZATION OF GOD

Opponents of inclusive imagery and language about God often claim it is bordering on blasphemy, with a significant number of those making the case being women. Proponents cite myriad reasons for its legitimacy. For now, let’s begin by looking at the arguments for the masculine image of God, so we can determine what’s at stake in changing our approach.

Except for Mormons, many who believe there is a God-mother beside the God-father, and some non-trinitarian sects, most adherents of Christians sects believe that the totality of God is wrapped up in the trinitarian formula, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Spirit).” To change that formulation, many think, is to attack the very nature of God and to lead people away from the “true” God. Besides the fact that God does not need protecting, on which I hope we would all agree, then what is in need of protection is a tenet of faith – a dogma – a way of understanding God. The way in which we speak of God does not change who and what God is. The tenacity with which people hold onto specific images prompts us to ask, “What is really at stake?” Continue reading ‘God as Mother – Masculinity Lost? (Part 4)’

26
Jan
09

Liberation Theology and Globalization – Part 4

Continued from here or go to Table of Contents.

THE UNDEVELOPMENT OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD

The dominant U.S. theology of entitlement seems to conflict with not only liberation theologies, but most theologies that include political and social action as essential tenets. Such European notables in political theology as Jurgen Moltmann, Johannes Baptist Metz, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were joined by Reinhold Niebuhr and John Howard Yoder of the U.S. In his 1972 book The Politics of Jesus, Yoder detailed the biblical evidence which justified his belief, “Jesus is, according to the biblical witness, a model of radical political action …”[1] Disturbed by theological thought that separated Jesus from the political sphere, he attempted to prove that faithful Christian disciples should adopt Jesus’ political approach. Continue reading ‘Liberation Theology and Globalization – Part 4’




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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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