Theological Community, EcoTheology, The Church, The World, The Blogosphere

McLaren: Good News for Southern Baptists

March 11, 2008 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

As apt as I ma to rant about the negative stuff I see in SBC life,  this is indeed a corrective turn in the right direction

I frequently hear from young Southern Baptists who express deep frustration with the ethos and image projected by some of their leaders in recent years: they want their denomination to rise above the old polarities of left and right, choosing transcendent Biblical values over ideological and partisan alignments. The current and future signatories of this statement will give young Southern Baptists something to be proud of – and that’s no small thing.

God’s Politics – Jim Wallis blog, faith blog, religion, christian, christianity, politics, values

Let’s see if this will move beyond a “position” (and this consideration can also be applied to the larger “concern” for environmental issues;  is it “concern” of a level that will lead to a change? 

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War Casualties Still Acceptable to "Pro-Life" SBC

December 16, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

from a new study by LifeWay Christian Resources:

On abortion: “Based on our conviction that all human life is sacred from conception until natural death, Christians must oppose abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, human cloning, and any technology or research that involves the destruction of a human embryo.”

Ethics Southern Baptist Study Puts Women in Their Place

I’m much more interested in the above quote than I am in the absolutely inane, silly SBC pronouncements about women.  Actually,  I’m glad the SBC is “pushing” the nonsense espoused by the likes of Al Mohler and company,  since it can only serve to make more people in the rank and file of the SBC EMBARASSED at what is being presented as “what Southern Baptists believe” (ala the statements on women). 

But for me,  far more disturbing than their inability to shake male dominance,  is their inability/unwillingness to put issues of war into their “respect for life” concerns.  It is what belies just how “respectful” of life they really are. 

What they really mean by “life” is the lives of middle class (and upper class) Americans.  Iraqi deaths are completely acceptable at the hands of our government who shield us from the fact that 650,000 Iraqis have probably died as a result of our “leaders” decisions to deceive us and their determination to “remake” the Middle East (and it’s not even to “remake” them into a “democracy”,  but rather a “democracy that ensures ‘free market’ ownership by capitalist firms from the outside who know how to ‘maximize profits’.  )  For quite some time now,  I have seen the SBC as “America’s denomination”.  None of the leadership (that is allowed to speak their mind) is anything but glowingly patriotic (meaning,  totally supportive of ALL of our present administration). 

Al Mohler and his like are totally irrelevant.  Mohler never speaks on the issue of the Iraq debacle.  He certainly offers us plenty of the same old empty “sanctity of life” stuff,  completely ignoring how wars are calculated, economics driven, rationalizations of how our “enemies” are threats to “our way of life”,  when what the real threat that’s being fought is the lack of “cooperation” by the other party  in the “free market” we are offering them. 

They have raised up a generation of followers who have been trained to scoff at the notion that powerful people have undue influence on the ideologies driving the foreign policies of our government.   Especially this administration,  which has been more unabashed at pushing through pro-corporatist economic programs as ever before.   Such notions cause “pro-Americans” to shake their heads and summarily dismiss the outlandish notions that the rich want to get richer,  and have the means and the influence to “educate us” about how “the market” needs to be allowed to work;  that it is benevolent and good for all of us,  if we would only “let it work”.   Even though scripture tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evil”,  it has become “ridiculous” to suggest that corporations would want to manipulate public perception in a manner that enables maximum support and are experts at “manufacturing consent”.  It seems that such “scoffing” is just what the powers intend,  and have accomplished. 

It seems that the best argument they have for their scoffing is that such ideas are “anti-American”.  Indeed,  “pro-Americanism” is its own argument.  It’s “anti-American”,  so it has to be wrong.  It is “conspiracy theory”,  as if it doesn’t actually take the literal meaning of “conspiracy” to collaborate on a plan to “sell” the plan as something that is “other” (ie. “freedom and liberty”, “fighting communism” or “the war on terror”)  than creating conditions that maximize profits. 

Georgia Baptist resolution criticizes Baptist blogs

November 26, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

SOME Southern Baptists are quite the backward folks sometimes when it comes to church and theology.  What a misguided, ignorant reaction.

Wayne Bray and William Harrell, pastors at Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville, submitted the anti-blogging resolution, which said blogs are used by “certain people … for divisive and destructive rhetoric at the expense of peace among the brethren.”

A group of younger blogger-pastors have risen to prominence in Southern Baptist Convention affairs in the past two years, with many calling for reform in the denomination’s structure. But the Georgia resolution said blogging has become a tool for personal attacks on Christians and promotes a negative view of the SBC “in the eyes of the society we are striving to reach with the gospel.”

Georgia Baptist resolution criticizes Baptist blogs

Anything and everything that expresses dissent,  and “publishes” the fact,  is held as “divisive”.  Reminds me of how folks critical of the Iraq war are accused of being divisive,  which is set equal to “unpatriotic” or even seditious. 

Hat tip to UMR

There’s trouble there in River City,  when there’s Baptists noticing Blogs, which leads to Bashing ,  which leads to BEER!  (Or something like that)

(Update:  OK,  here’s a more accurate representation of the way the song goes,  applied to this case:

“There’s trouble in GBC City, Trouble with a Capital T which rhymes with B which stands for Blogs.”

(thanks Julie,  who works with me and whom I just visited downstairs and told her about my post)

Ethics Southern Baptist Leader Attacks Gore, Says Christians Should Save Souls, Not the Earth

October 16, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

It’s been a while since I came down on Al,  but I just couldn’t resist when I saw this:

The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said on Friday’s “Albert Mohler Radio Program” that he takes a “middle position” on global warming. He believes the evidence shows the earth is warming and that human activity is at least a contributing factor, but he doesn’t know how much humans can do to reverse it. He also argued that most Americans aren’t ready to support the radical lifestyle changes required if Gore’s doomsday scenario is accurate.

“I am one who is thankful that human beings discovered carbon-based fuels,” Mohler said. “I am thankful that we discovered electricity and how to use it.”

Mohler said those things “come with a tradeoff.” He called it a sin to “deliberately misuse” the earth, because the Bible says the planet ultimately belongs to God and is entrusted to humanity as a matter of stewardship.”

Welcome to Ethics!

Oh,  so it’s a matter of “most Americans aren’t ready to support the radical lifestyle changes required if Gore’s doomsday scenario is accurate.” So what “most Americans” WOULD do is the measure of obedience.  How inane.

“He called it a sin to “deliberately misuse” the earth”,  but since the “science” is so “unclear” (it’s NOT , according to actual scientists),  this is not a case of “deliberate”.  That lets us off the hook.  Mohler is one of those participating “thinktank” people who champion the cultural right viewpoint,  and helps to drag the Southern Baptists into the mess.  And all under the guise of “pure Christianity”. 

Religiously Flavored Secularism

September 04, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Uncategorized

 Michael Spencer of internetmonk replies in the comments to one commenter, with a point that suggested the problem I identify in the title of this post:  that the resistance to the idea of an intentional, structured, disciplined effort at “formation” is a secular force that many inside the church have fallen victim.  The secular tells us that “religion” is a “private matter” for individuals,  and that to be so insistent on the importance of formation is somehow challenging the secular spiritual dogma of “individual freedom”. 

every tradition, including Lutheranism, contributes to the current state of deprived and demeaned spiritual practice. I know enough Lutherans to know that even serious talk of a devotional life will have someone crying “legalism!” I am not talking at all about justification or salvation, but spiritual formation. The argument that there is no meaningful formation beyond justification is, in my opinion, part of the problem. » Blog Archive » Post-Evangelicals and the Path of Catholic Spirituality

This is SO much a big problem in Southern Baptist life (I have seen how thoroughly versed most of us are in resisting the things which smack of “monastic”.  A while back one of my commenters ,  himself a pastor of a large New York church,  said that The Church of the Saviour is more like a “monastic community” than a church,  which illustrates for me how far the church has secularized itself and become “domesticated” in this culture.  It’s a form of looking condescendingly upon those whose actions communicate resistance and opposition to cultural forces.  Many “evangelicals” identify such things as contemplative emphases and “spiritual disciplines” as somehow dangerous,  luring the unaware into “pagan practices” such as “meditation” and that’s just too “Eastern” and “Hindu” and “Buddhist” and lately, “Muslim”. Did I just sort of scan the “Non-Western” religions? 

Again,  I have The Church of the Saviour to “blame” for my sensitivity to these issues of how we’ve departed from the contemplative and claim to have become people who can “appreciate” the value of such an endeavor even as we move further and further from the practice of it as a formative discipline, shared in community.