Brainstorming and Unifying

I posted the following questions to my nesties:

Liberal Christians- how do we change the image of Christianity in this country w/o becoming as obnoxious as our fundy counterparts?

(Please know that there are evangelical Christians whom I know to be respectful and intelligent.)

What are you involved in, and what sort of alternative "moral issues" are you vocal about (women's rights, the environment, peace)?

How do we make progress in the shadow of those who share the name, but represent ideas that are *not* what we believe?

They responded with some great things:

*I educate myself on issues and challenge fundies when I hear them making sweeping statements. I really try to keep abreast of the news, and I do my best not to speak in ignorance.

*I also plan on getting involved with the local Pride committe and volunteering/helping with gay pride events.

*But mostly I do my best not to be a sheep - I listen to BOTH sides of the story and then make my own opinions. And when I hear zealotry in action, I kindly point it out and present the other side.

*I guess to answer your question, Liberal Christians should exhibit more of a presence. Explaining why we are liberal in our beliefs and politics. The Bible says we should love everyone and not judge others. When I look at political issues and how I think the country should be run, I try to look at it as what is best for everyone, not what fits in with the beliefs of a particular religion.

*We choose to surround ourselves by positive/'safe' people, no matter their religion/race/age/etc - in doing this, we meet so many others that are loving/happy people and no longer think that the far-anything is the majority.

*I think the fundamentalist wing of Christianity has also co-opted the bible, and a lot of progressive/liberal Christians I know seem to have given up on the idea that there is a different - and authentic - way to read scripture which is not literalist. I want to engage all kinds of Christians, including myself, with a wider view of the scripture and what it says on any given topic, and, more importantly, what the bible is for and how we read it. I find a lot of people in my denomination (Lutheran) are intimidated by the sorts of Christians who take verses from here and there and put together some kind of patchwork theology based on unrelated texts. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. (Can you tell?) The accusation always seems to be that conservative Christians are heartless and liberal Christians don't care about the bible, and both of those are patently ridiculous. Since I tend to be on the liberal end, I try to keep scripture at the heart of discussions rather than just cave in to folks who can quote a verse out of Habbakuk and sound impressive doing it.

*What ever happened to "God loves ALL his creatures"... if I am not mistaken, the verbage doesn't read " God loves all his creatures, except for the ________ people....fill in with whatever term you like... but either way.

*I think if you really want to change your image, you need to be brave enough to attack the fundamentalists who are generating the image you don't want to be associated with.

*I'm an atheist and I hear again and again from people I know things like, "remember, not all Christians are like that," in reference to what Phil Graham has said, or evangelical groups' boycotts, or what have you. But you know what? The evangelicals have put a public face on Christianity. They hold press conferences and they announce to the world what God wants, where he is sending his wrath next, and who should be hated. They pour money into waging war against liberal causes.
As far as I can perceive, christians want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, move statues of the 10 Commandments into every public building and courthouse in the nation, put prayer and creationism in schools, prevent access to birth control, and make homosexuality a publicly reviled concept. A lot of that doesn't make sense to me, as my rudimentary understanding of Christianity is that it is about loving others and doing good, but why shouldn't I believe it? I don't see anyone among the Christian leadership refuting any of it.
It's all well and good to do "behind the scenes" acts, but if you really want to change the image, you need to form a group strong enough to make a public showing that this is not what you stand for.

*I think it IS important that we take back Christianity. I always say, "Jesus was a liberal and a dissident." I don't think that if he were alive today he'd be a member of a mega-church or supporting Pat Robertson's bigoted agenda.
What can we do though? I'm a member of the Christian Alliance for Progress (christianalliance.org), a group that is trying to reclaim Christianity from FOF and the AFA. I think it's a good start - progressive, liberal Christians need to start becoming as vocal as the conservative fundamentalists.
That, and I make sure to write FOF and the AFA whenever I feel the need to call them out on something. The responses I get back are always fun. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:17 PM

    wow. these were really refreshing to read. we are friends with a lutheran preacher who has a "Jesus was a liberal" t-shirt. I heart him. love, lola


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins