Life has a funny way ….

14 05 2008

of getting in the way of blogging …. I do hope to get my thoughts (as scattered as they might be) on John 16 and 17 up soon as well as finishing up the Bonhoeffer exercise.

In the meanwhile, thanks to Jarred over at Musings of a Confused Man for pointing me to Slacktivist’s scathing critique of Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins’ book Left Behind. Slacktivist is a Baptist who has nothing but sharp criticism for the book, and quite frankly the critique shows how uncharitable the religious right is. Also, the books are Very Bad Writing mixed with Very Bad Theology.

The scary thing that has really hit home about reading the exhaustive critique (he started in 2003!) is that I can see so much of my former attitudes and former self in the characters from being in that culture and if not for the fact that I’m gay and questioned what they call a “literal” reading of scripture (which honestly is much more convoluted than any Anglican could come up with!) I might still be in that mindset. So, i can honestly say ….

THANK GOD I’M GAY!!!!!

You all may also know that recently something called The Evangelical Manifesto has recently come out of a gathering of folks and Evangelical leaders in Washington, which I shall peruse briefly on my lunch break. I still consider myself an Evangelical in some ways simply because I just think the Good News of Jesus is sooooo ….. well, good! …. that it’s a story you can’t help but want to share it. Now, if only we would act more like him ….

UPDATE:

So i made a cursory reading of the Manifesto which may be found here if anyone is interested.  On balance, I believe there is much good that can be said about it.  It reaffirms the core tenants of what the authors feel means to be an Evangelical and the place of faith in the public sphere  and being defined by their theology and much less by their politics.   I especially like the bit where they talk about welcoming and reaching out to “the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, the socially despised, and being faithful stewards of creation and our fellow-creatures.”

Surface criticisms: 1)  they maintain that Christianity has traditionally held a high view of science … I think they are being a bit naive. The high view of science only comes after much conflict (think Galileo and the current nonsense about Intelligent Design).  2) Sola Scriptura (aka Scripture alone) is held up as a virtue, when I have to say my own faith has been enriched by the saints and mystics who have gone before, as well as when I take time to read the Church Fathers.  3)  It appears every member of the Steering Committee who put this together is a male (unless Jesse Miranda is a female, of course). If this is the case, I can only say, “WTF?!?”  4)  While distancing themselves from the more strident voices of so-called “pro-life” activists and opponents of gay marriage, they still bring up two very political topics and affirm their stance when they just spent pages upon pages being critical of themselves and fundamentalists for doing the same thing. To quote the Slacktivist, “Yet even here — in the midst of that argument [that the political and cultural definition of Evangelical is illegitimate, Rb] — the authors cannot avoid bowing to the demands of exactly those political and cultural definitions.”

Indeed, why did they even feel the need to bring up those issues at all?

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7 responses

14 05 2008
Jarred

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the review so much. I finally got caught up today and can now read the remaining review in “real time.”

I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts about the Manifesto.

14 05 2008
Reverend boy

Posted my thoughts in the update …

Another thing that came to mind is that the term it uses the term “confessional” which makes me a bit uneasy …

15 05 2008
Jarred

Why does the use of that term make you uneasy?

15 05 2008
Reverend boy

The only thing I is believe is appropriate to confess is “Jesus is Lord.” Quoting Hillel, the rest is commentary.

In Anglicanism, the Nicene is seen as “the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith” according to the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Codifying anything more just seems a bit unnecessary.

Confessions may start out trying to be comprehensive but run the risk of being divisive, as we are seeing with the whole nonsense of the Anglican Covenant.

But then, I’m Episcopalian, not Baptist so I’m naturally biased against anything confessional 😉

15 05 2008
FranIAm

Well I just finished watching “Because the Bible Tells Me So”- I am not gay but so glad to know, to love, to be in community in friendship and prayer and blogging with so many amazing human beings. Some of whom are gay. God bless us all – we are all expressions of God, so how can anything be bad.

I just finished a 4 day intensive on John’s Gospel. We did not cover too much in 8 hours, but we went deep on what we went into. It was brilliant and left me longing for more and also had me thinking of all that you have written.

As for Left Behind, I will check out the critique. In the late 90’s when they were fairly new and in every airport bookshop (and I was traveling weekly) I bought one.

So I completely concur with your “Very Bad Writing mixed with Very Bad Theology.” insight.

15 05 2008
Anthony

With the current ruling in California, I have a strong feeling those who signed the “manifesto” (even the name sounds fascist) will more than likely be ripping up pages of the document to make new decoupage protest signs. 🙂

16 05 2008
Jarred

Thanks, RB. I suspected that’s what you were talking about. But I figure it’s always good to verify. 😉

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