Much has been made over the past few years about how folks getting to know gay people personally has converted them to the gay-rights cause. There’s a lot to that. It’s harder to hold stereotypical views of someone in a particular class if you know them personally. Yet I wonder: does it ever occur to liberals that they ought to try to get to know, say, a conservative Evangelical? If not, why not?
I say again, I’m so genuinely pleased to know many many many Christians who fully support the rights all of people to marry and love openly. And, yes, I realize that Christians and “conservative Evangelical”s are not one in the same (and yay for that)… I know plenty of both.
While I don’t consider myself a “liberal” in the mode of traditional political boundaries, I do go out of my way to meet people of all different backgrounds and lifestyles as often as possible… including conservative Evangelicals, even though virtually my entire existence was overflowing with them prior to the age of 20.
Here’s what I know about the cloistered fundamentalist world in which I was raised… it’s one of the most insulated and set-apart cliques in all of religion. The idea that the rest of modern civilization needs to reach out and see the world through your eyes is hilariously self-absorbed, given the undue influence you’ve had on contemporary America since the early 80s following the co-opting of your beliefs by the Right for calculated political gains.
All of my gay and lesbian friends and family know many many many conservative Christians. All of them. And virtually none of my conservative christian friends and family want anything to do with actually getting to know their fellow human beings who happen to be gay or lesbian (to say nothing of bisexual or transgendered or the myriad other orientations), short of being a pet personal evangelism project or something akin to a “bring your effeminate male friend to church” outreach program in an effort to show you’re “down with it” while secretly enjoying the gender-normative admonishments that get dropped from the pulpit.
My views are not stereotypes borne out of caricature and uneducated bias… the first two decades of my life were spent steeped in the very culture you now claim this unapologetic gay-and-lesbian-loving former-fundie needs to reach out and try to get to know.
This is not a “gay-rights cause.” Non-straight people are not a mere “particular class.” These are basic human rights. These are your fellow human beings, not a misguided movement of “less than”s in need of yet more information and education about the “conservative Evangelical” viewpoint. We’ve had enough conservatism and evangelicalism over the past 40 years… and this incessant wailing on about marginalization and persecution are nothing but the final throes of an antiquated worldview. I’m happy I’m alive to witness it firsthand.
I want to apologize to my neighbors and the people of Seattle who have felt the myriad of hurts and pains and accusations that have come from this organization that I was a part of.
I want to apologize to women everywhere for being part of a culture that didn’t value you as equal to men.
I want to apologize to the people of different sexual orientation who have felt the weight of judgement.
I want to apologize to the religious people who I helped enlist in this and similar movements (my recommendation for you is to please consider leaving for at least a season to get some perspective—you have no idea how much clearer things become with a little distance). I’m not going to make an argument for Mars Hill being a cult, primarily because the word shuts down reasonable conversation, but I would say that if you’ve been part of Mars Hill or a church like it, you should read these warning signs that help identify if you are in a cult.
I want to apologize to non-religious people who see Jesus as a warrior with a whip or a judgmental dictator because of the example we set.
Every little crack in the Mars Hill facade brings me joy. Here we have one of Mark Driscoll’s direct/immediate longtime associates (”I was the guy who organized conferences, planned and promoted books, directed the online content, and later worked directly on all of Mark’s projects—I was at the center of all of this and I was proud of helping make it bigger.”) effectively calling Mars Hill a cult.
Kind of a big deal.
If the [Supreme] Court buys into the idiotic notion that a legal entity (Hobby Lobby Inc.) prays, worships, and hates the idea of including contraception coverage in health insurance plans, it can simply stop providing health insurance coverage. In that case, Hobby Lobby’s owners will spend substantially less paying a minor fine for not offering health insurance than providing it for their employees. However, that ruling would eliminate Hobby Lobby’s original intent to force compliance to their religious beliefs on their employees; that is the real impetus for their lawsuit.
Even if the Court’s conservatives find that providing contraceptives really is a burden on the corporation’s religious exercise, it could tell Hobby Lobby that contraceptive coverage “forwards compelling interest in women’s health and equality under the law” and does so in the least restrictive means to the Green’s religious beliefs. The Court should also dismiss the truly bizarre notion that contraceptives are abortifacients regardless what manner of voodoo drives Hobby Lobby’s owners’ beliefs about contraceptives; reproductive coverage is crucial to women’s health and Hobby Lobby must be reminded there are other Americans’ lives and welfare at stake. Despite what the Greens’ and the religious right believes, the world does not revolve around their inordinate religious sense of self-importance particularly when it is founded on their distorted definition of religious freedom.
So the Supreme Court weighed in on this issue today… kind of a big deal, I think. Incredible.
"I’ve been a deep believer my whole life. 18 years as a Southern Baptist. More than 40 years as a mainline Protestant. I’m an ordained pastor. But it’s just stopped making sense to me. You see people doing terrible things in the name of religion, and you think: ‘Those people believe just as strongly as I do. They’re just as convinced as I am.’ And it just doesn’t make sense anymore. It doesn’t make sense to believe in a God that dabbles in people’s lives. If a plane crashes, and one person survives, everyone thanks God. They say: ‘God had a purpose for that person. God saved her for a reason!’ Do we not realize how cruel that is? Do we not realize how cruel it is to say that if God had a purpose for that person, he also had a purpose in killing everyone else on that plane? And a purpose in starving millions of children? A purpose in slavery and genocide? For every time you say that there’s a purpose behind one person’s success, you invalidate billions of people. You say there is a purpose to their suffering. And that’s just cruel."
LTMC: The problem of evil takes down another true believer.
When some Evangelical magazines and websites wrote snarky things about my participation in my gay son’s wedding, several prominent Evangelicals contacted me in private and said, “You did the right thing.” One told me that the hardest part of his job as a denominational executive was hearing from the parents of gay children who were driven out of churches in his denomination. He couldn’t change the denomination without splitting it, he said, and he was glad that he could retire soon because he couldn’t stand the agony of being part of causing pain for so many gay people and their families. A charismatic leader told me had had performed a wedding in private for his gay grandson. People would be shocked how many people seem to support the status quo by their public silence, but privately aren’t there.
Despite what the HR plants on Glassdoor are saying, it’s not a good culture. The mandatory staff meetings do little more than give Dave another platform from which to rant and management a place to pat each other on the back. For someone’s who’s so into working hard, we have a lot of meetings that go absolutely nowhere. I’ve watched Dave get crazier and crazier over the years. From the time he brought a sword and a bat to a staff meeting in which he was angry with The Tennessean to the time he brought a real, working handgun to staff meeting to teach us a lesson about gossip to his inability to humble himself and consider another point of view and railing against other Christians who are too “liberal.” And seeing how much he’s changed from a decent guy who seemed like he was out to help people to a money hungry control freak. No one can disagree with Dave. Even some of the best leaders we’ve had in the company have left. Of course no one knows why because of the “rapture” that happens with many coworkers. People will leave for another job or be fired and you may not notice for weeks that they’ve gone. And when asked, it’s like you’re talking about the dead. I guess I’ve just watched the place go from something good to something just weird and most of these reviews on here are being put up by HR trying to keep up the “Best Places to Work” facade. If you’re looking for “work that matters,” then go work with the homeless or orphans or widows in the evenings or the weekends and get a job with a company that treats you well and respects you as a whole person, not just what you do for them.
Shocker. Another religious guru with mucho bucks has built his empire using fear, threats, coercion, and insanity.
Religion and science are competitors for the truth about quite a number of things, including the origins of the universe, the nature of human beings, and the belief that the laws of nature can be locally and temporarily suspended - thus allowing for miracles. We can be confident that if tests were arranged to adjudicate between these competing claims, they would be won by science.
We shot the service at the National Cathedral, and during rehearsals there were a number of clergy standing around watching. I walked up to a priest who was standing nearby and said, “Excuse me, Father? I think you should know that in the scene we’re about to do Martin Sheen is going to curse at God.” He smiled and said, “I know, it’s gonna be great.”
Some definitions of liberalism don’t apply to me. For example, I’m not a big fan of reducing the gospel to fit into the categories of Enlightenment modernity. I see the gospel challenging all human categories - premodern, modern, postmodern, whatever. But if people are considered liberal because they follow their conscience and their best (and growing) understanding of the Bible and Christ - even when doing so means disagreeing with contemporary gatekeepers of tradition - then, yes, the shoe fits. But by that definition, Martin Luther was a liberal, and so were C. S. Lewis and John Stott and Dallas Willard. So, in fact, was Jesus.
I’m dumbfounded by people who claim Biblical literalism but want to set the fixed date for its cultural relevance and intrinsic meaning somewhere around the early 20th century.