Friday, September 12, 2008

    The Future of Evangelicalism . . .

    This interview, part of the "Speaking of Faith" radio show, is worth watching just to see Chuck Colson articulate the traditional evangelical view of sexuality and Shane Claiborne sharing what I can only hope is the emerging evangelical view for the days to come. For the sake of the youth in our culture, who see the Church as primarily defining itself as "who we are against", I hope evangelicals are moving in the direction you can read about in Shane's books Jesus for President and The Irresistible Revolution.



    St. Brianstine said...

    Colson and Claiborne both kind of said the same's about "loving people." I don't see a huge dichotomy here.

    current said...

    The huge dichotomy is in their language. Claiborne never even condemns homosexuality. Colson does, then goes on to talk about loving people.

    I'm sure Colson doesn't run up to homosexuals in prisons and tell them that they are sinning, but i think that Claiborne realizes that it is important to talk about "the other" in Christian circles the same way we'd talk about/to them in public.

    St. Brianstine. you're right though.

    ps. who is the middle guy?

    alaina said...

    Thanks for sharing this, Brian. I only catch Speaking of Faith sometimes before church on Sundays. This episode seems to be a can't miss one.

    (The middle guy is Greg Boyd, according to the website)

    Brian said...

    From my perspective, Colson's comments about what is "normal" are exactly the problem. To him, what a man and woman do together is obviously "normal." In his worldview, what is normative for him must surely be normative for all. This is the assumption at the root of every "ism" (sexism, heterosexism, racism, etc) and carries over into biblical interpretation: "The way I interpret the Bible is the right way." Hence, he has a reading of biblical texts that he sees as clear and indisputable but which I would say are completely open to interpretation.

    St. Brianstine said...

    Colson condemns it b/c the Bible does.

    Brian said...

    St. Brianstine,
    I agree that you are accurately depicting Colson's point of view by saying "Colson condemns it b/c the Bible does." I understand this to be your point of view as well, which illustrates the observation I was making in my previous comment. This blog is written from a progressive Christian perspective which does not hold to one particular interpretation of scripture. In my reading of the texts, the writers of scripture do not say one single word about the modern day understanding of homosexuality. You see the text differently, which I respect.

    For a long time, conservative evangelicalism has held to very particular interpretations of biblical texts that they then felt comfortable codifying as public law for all to follow. The new wave of evangelicalism, reflected here by Shane, seems to be moving beyond this absolutist interpretation of scripture.

    Marv Nelson said...

    I've read UnChristian and agree with Shane...I don't think Colson has ANY idea what Christians are saying about homosexuals to say I think we've just gotten a bad rap...I can't tell you how many Christians I have seen hating gays...incredible

    Marv Nelson said...


    St. Brianstine said...

    Are you saying that being an active, unrepentant homosexual isn't a sin, orrr do I misread you?

    Brance said...

    Brian, you said:

    "In my reading of the texts, the writers of scripture do not say one single word about the modern day understanding of homosexuality."

    So how do you "understand" Romans 1? or 1 Corinthians 6:9? Or 1 Timothy 1:10? Or Leviticus 18:22? or Leviticus 20:13?

    These passages all clearly relate God's condemnation of homosexual practices.

    And how is the "modern day understanding of homosexuality" any different than that of Paul's or Moses' day?

    There is some truth to the statement made in the video that it is hypocritical of Christians to condemn homosexuality and look the other way on sins such as greed, gluttony, lying, etc.

    Notice the fabulous truth in that passage in 1 Corinthians. Verses 9-10 give us a list of lifestyles, the practitioners of which will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Verse 11 goes on to say that some of the saints in Corinth had once been among that lot, but having been regenerated, justified, and sanctified by Christ, they have been made free from such lifestyles and will inherit the Kingdom.

    Hence Colson's admonition to love homosexuals into the Kingdom. We should do the same with thieves, liars, gluttons, etc.

    St. Brianstine said...

    thank you Brance

    Levi said...

    I've included a link to a post on my blog of a similar topic.

    If you take the time to read it, I'd love to hear a response.

    The poster, Brian, might enjoy the read, but I hope others find the time to check it out as well. Have a great day.

    blogroll said...

    why is Greg Boyd so smart?

    i find it funny, that once a Christian actually gets to know a homosexual, the homophobic tendencies start to be removed.

    seriously, for some odd reason my ministry attracts gay students?

    i have learned A LOT about interacting with gay students without feeling awkward.

    i disagree with Chuck. I strongly believe that secular society views Christians as homophobic.

    jeremyzach said...

    sorry blogroll is jeremy @ crazy contemplations. i accidentally missed pasted my website.

    Brian said...

    Friends, thanks for posting your thoughts. And I know that we could go around in circles the rest of week with comments regarding biblical interpretation. I don't think that conversation is best had on a blog but I do agree that such a conversation (i.e. what the biblical texts do/don't say about homosexuality as we understand it) is a big part of the conversation that Church needs to continue to have. For my part, I think it is helpful, however, to stop treating this as an "issue" to be debated and start following more in line with what Jeremy is talking about -- dealing with this on a human level. The Church has often judged homosexuality by looking at the worst and most extreme examples of behavior of gay persons (it seems like Pat Robertson never talks about gay people without showing some guy in leather chaps!). If we did the same with heterosexuals, showing only the worst and most extreme of their sexual behavior, the Church would likely condemn straight people too! We must stop looking at this as a clinical issue or a sexual issue or a political issue and do as Jesus does in scripture -- deal with people as people, not as fodder for political and religious debate.