In my car this morning, I ended up behind a truck with a bumper sticker that read (something like) I’m a Christian (in big print) and I’m at war (in smaller print).  It said more than that, but I didn’t have time to read the rest.  And my bet is that this is a conservative Christian who sees themself fighting the culture wars on behalf of Christ.  I’m a Christian too.  And there are certainly parts of our culture that I might like to convert.  But I hope I’m not at war — not even with the guy driving this truck, with whom I’m pretty sure I’d find much with which to disagree. (more…)

I read an article from the New York Times, seemingly from a religious conservative, this past week.  And the tone was along the lines that if we could just stop fixating on sexuality, maybe conservatives and liberals in the church (in the broadest sense) could focus on real Christian ministry.  Jeremiah talked about the real sin of Sodom being their unwillingness to share what they had with those in need.  And conservatives have begun to focus, perhaps, less on their personal faith, and more on living up to the gospel.  They have been challenged from within to start doing a better job of responding to the desperate needs of the world around them in God’s name. (more…)

I need to begin, I think, by offering prayers for all who died on this day, and for all those who’s lives were disrupted (and who’s lives may never return to “normal”) in the aftermath of this day.  What happened was awful.  And what happened was intentional — as is so much evil which happens every day around the world.  It captured our imaginations as a country (and maybe even holds us hostage, to our detriment) in a way that Oklahoma City never really did — awful as that was.  I guess maybe because it happened at such a prominent landmark in New York City and because it was done by foreigners — we didn’t do it to ourselves.  It was done to us. (more…)

I keep hoping we’ll all stop doing hateful things.  (I know hateful things are not the exclusive province of liberals or conservatives or Christians or non believers or any other group.)  But I was sad when I heard that my former bishop (and friend) Jerry Lamb has been receiving hate messages and death threats for his work in our Diocese of San Joaquin.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s because of the Episcopal Church’s policy of inclusion of the GLTBI community or because those who left our church there look to be losing in their efforts to take our church property with them.  Likely it’s both.  And then I see things like this, from Bishop Dan’s of Nevada’s blog:

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Bullhead City is a lovely small congregation in a town that is largely a retirement community. The congregation is primarily senior citizens. They are not the sort to march for liberal causes.

But just before Pentcost, they recieved a handwritten note threatening to burn their church because we are a gay inclusive denomination. I am not sure whether I am speechless at the absurdity of evil or whether the response to this sensless venom is too obvious.

One thin[g] I hope it will clarify for us as a diocese and a denomination is that we are in fact a family. What we do affects each other. That’s why we must support each other, consider each other, and appreciate each other.

It’s sad.  For me, things like this go along with the shooting at the haulocaust museum.  They are simply unacceptable.

Like I could stop it, right?

But of course, if we were all out front about how unacceptable such behavior is, I do think we could stop it — at least mostly.  And I think we should.  Even when it means that sometimes our friends and families might find us annoying (or too PC).  When we ignore and laugh at hateful things, we really allow them to continue.  We give tacit approval.  I don’t think Jesus is laughting.  I don’t think Jesus is looking the other way.  I don’t think Jesus approves.

Hopefully this is so self evident I don’t have to explain it to anyone.

This won’t be eloquent.  It’s simply an expression of my sorrow, for all those who were told today that they aren’t people like other people:  they cannot marry the person they love.  It may be, as a matter of law, that the people of California have a right to change their constitution.  And I am relieved for those whose marriages, though threatened, were preserved by the ruling.  (I’m talking about the same sex couples people wanted to tear apart.)  But I am deeply saddened by a law, passed by a majority of our voting citizens, that takes basic human rights away from some of our citizens because they are different.  I can’t imagine God would approve.  I hope we change the law very soon.

Dean Baker has been highlighting how states and the District of Columbia have been moving to accept gay marriage.  One article I found particularly interesting is about New York, and how some Republicans have been moved to support gay marriage.  If you want to see this, you can go here.  I heard second hand, yesterday, about how Sara Palin greeted a friend she grew up with in her home town.  She was introduced to his partner.  And she said something to the effect of “you seem to make him happy — congratulations.”  No, I don’t think she’s likely to support gay marriage.  But more and more people have a face for gay marriage.  And people tend to be supportive of those they care for, at least on a personal level.  I know.  Not always.  And it sure takes a long time sometimes.  But I continue to see movement towards justice and inclusion and love.  It gives me real hope.

I somehow missed this on Fiat Lux when it came out.  The suggestion is that some evangelicals in the United Kingdom and the United States are changing their position on gay marriage.  You can see Jim’s whole piece here.  Most interesting to me are links to two op ed pieces.  The first is jointly written by David Blankenhorn (a conservative) and Jonathan Rauch (a liberal) called A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage  (suggesting a way to compromise).  The second is by William Saletan called This is the Way the Culture Wars End.  I don’t agree with either of them.  But they offer a lot of food for thought.  And they both try to suggest a way forward where people who disagree actually talk to each other in good faith, rather then demonize each other.  I certainly like that idea.