Issues of religious liberty in the United States are often discussed in terms of wedding cakes, taxpayer-funded church playgrounds and politics in the pulpit. In other parts of the world, it’s more about survival.
It is a confusing time, but one thing is crystal clear to me: if committing an adulterous affair with a porn star, if that kind of morality and that kind of character is “completely irrelevant” to a Church that has always said exactly the opposite, there is another thing that will be “completely irrelevant” to today’s culture — and that is, sadly, the Church.
By what ethical framework do we say that individuals and churches are supposed to take one stance towards the poor and dispossessed, but as a collective nation we should take a different — even opposite — stance? If something is right or good depending solely upon who carries it out, is that not a form of moral relativism?
Donald Trump’s victory suggests that the influence of white conservative Christians extends far beyond the borders of evangelical culture. Not everybody outside the white evangelical camp is bashing that tribe. Especially in the South and Midwest, white evangelicals are valued as custodians of traditional sexual ethics by white folks who attend Mainline Protestant or Roman Catholic churches.
What if more of us believed in and trusted in a more loving, gracious, inclusive God? What if more of us focused on this life rather than the afterlife and understood salvation in terms of healing, wholeness, reconciliation and liberation from the life diminishing forces that possess us and oppress us, so that we are free to truly love God and love others?
Justice is a tool for working out God’s care and showing that God is “with us” as a way of entering into the real, physical circumstances of those who hurt, not just a concept abused by the culture wars.
The year 2017 may not have been the biggest ever for religion news in the U.S. or the world, but it has to be close.
Americans may disagree on politics and religion, but many of them are in step when it comes to booze. As in, they like it. And that embrace of alcohol is on obvious display leading in to the New Year.
Thinking of ditching the term “evangelical” to identify yourself as Christian? Get in line. Clergy, scholars, congregational coaches and innumerable laypeople are expressing increasing anger and disgust that the once respected term no longer describes their commitment to Christ and church.