Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sex & Religion Round-Up

Reported at Ex-Gay Watch:

The UK evangelical ministry Courage lent its support to a new anti-discrimination campaign this past weekend.

Courage began in 1988 as an ex-gay ministry, but announced it was gay-affirming in 2001. Now the pioneering organisation is among the supporters of Would Jesus Discriminate?, a campaign being run by the Metropolitan Community Church in Bath, England. Other UK Christian organisations backing the initiative include Ekklesia and Accepting Evangelicals.

At the heart of the campaign is an appeal to Scripture, with a call to look again at the biblical teaching on homosexuality, beginning with an examination of Jesus and the Gospels:

The gospels are clear. Jesus refused to be bound by cultural prejudice. Repeatedly, he took up the cause of the oppressed and defended them against narrow-minded religious leaders. Unfortunately, the Church has often failed to live up to Jesus’ example.

Perhaps most significant is that the majority of the campaign’s proponents are evangelicals.
Those wacky evangelicals in the UK. Didn't anyone tell them there's a culture war going on?

Meanwhile, at Pam's Blend, I got a little squeamish at the way they blogged about a Baptist minister was found to have accidentally killed himself while engaging in kinky sex with himself. Go here if you want more the explicit details. Though I understand the value of exposing hypocrites, this poor guy died alone. When someone dies, it hurts me. I don't want to tromp all over him before his body goes cold.

I think some people felt I did that when Jerry Falwell died. So, perhaps the lesson here is to fix my own flaws before trying to fix anyone else (if that's even possible).

Andrew Sullivan referenced a news story out of Dayton that another Metropolitan Community Church congregation has left the denomination and joined the United Church of Christ. (I don't know anything about this story; so I have no new insight). But Andrew sees it as a sign that the "gay culture" is on a "death watch." Given the fact that more churches are examining their holy books and discovering that they might have gotten this one little thing wrong, I am more of the opinion that the heterosexual culture is on a death watch.

Gay church loses members as acceptance spreads

DAYTONA BEACH -- Metropolitan Community Church began in 1968 as an alternative for gays who felt alienated by most churches' condemnation of homosexuality.

After a contentious summer in which the denomination suspended local worship for a month and revoked the credentials of the local pastor, the Rev. Beau McDaniels, Hope Metropolitan Community Church members are doing what many congregations do after a fight with church headquarters.

They are thinking about joining another denomination. The United Church of Christ, a liberal Protestant church that has ordained openly gay clergy and affirmed same-sex marriage, is mentioned as a possible successor to the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

BoingBoing: It also seems that of progressives are discovering that they may have more in common with the average evangelical than evangelical leaders have ever wanted to admit. A site called "Revolution in Jesusland" is a blog that describes itself as "a guided tour for secular progressives to America's Fourth Great Awakening."
First, progressives will never achieve their goals as long as they are hostile toward and ignorant about the faith of 100 million of their own people who are born again Christians.

Second (and we know how difficult this is to believe) there is an incredibly large and beautiful social movement exploding among evangelicals right now that stands for nearly all of the same causes and goals that secular progressives do. Those goals include: eliminating poverty, saving the environment, promoting justice and equality along racial, gender and class lines and for immigrants--and even separation of church and state.

By learning to work together with "progressive" evangelicals, secular progressives will stand a better chance of achieving their goals and also learn an enormous amount from these remarkable people and their organizations that will help secular progressives strengthen their own movement.

Truthdig enforces this with an article by E.J. Dionne about a group called "A Third Way" whose goal is to "end the culture war" and learn to find the things people have in common -- allowing the things in disagreement to sit on the sidelines.

Joe.My.God. has a link to a really beautiful video which is an ad for Californians to legalize same sex marriages. I was thinking I might want to ask Jim to marry me. (In the video, a beautiful bride is getting ready to go to the ceremony, but suddenly all these obstacles appear, ripping off her vail, tripping her on the ground, etc).

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