Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reimagining Christianity 2.0

Affirmation 10 holds that loving ourselves includes claiming the sacredness of both our minds and our hearts, recognizing that faith and science, doubt and belief serve the pursuit of truth. This seems, again, straightforward and in accordance with the scriptural command to love God with heart and mind and soul. But one doesn't have to look far at all to find faith, science and the pursuit of truth utterly confused. Whether the subject is creationism (check this scary site), atomic warfare, or sexual orientation, the views of science and the "literal word of God" (an interesting phrase when you consider who uses it and who doesn't so much anymore) are held to be at odds in the minds of many.
The heart breaking results of such confusions are plain to see in a piece in the New York Times on gay evangelicals trying to find a faith home. Robert Gagnon, quoted in the Times piece, is correct about one thing: "the concept gay evangelical is a contradiction.” Of course, he's wrong about everything else. The concept is a contradiction precisely because we have for too long allowed the rest of the key words that he uses -- authority of scripture, self-affirming, evangelical -- to be construed narrowly in a discourse controlled by a conservative orthodoxy. The entire enterprise of reimagining Christianity, it seems to me, aims at wresting control of the discourse away from such narrow-minded voices.

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