I was a part of a religious body of churches—something like a regional denomination or collaborative partnership—called the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (NWYM).
A year ago, that organization determined that my congregation and several others were no longer welcome. It determined certain kinds of people were no longer welcome.
We were purged.
Despite feeling frustrated, bewildered, and disappointed in a number of people in light of this purge, I’m fine. But being “fine” is a luxury, reflecting my privilege. Many others affected by the purge are not fine. They may not be fine for a long time.
I would not say I have suffered. Other than whatever relatively minimal suffering comes from being an empathetic listener. Or from watching people bully others or develop ever-tougher litmus tests of who’s in and who’s out (and who seemingly diagnose their “toughness” as a righteous pursuit or protection of truth). Or from witnessing a train-wreck but being unable to help, either because I lack the power to do so or because I lack the courage.
But I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of lamenters, even though what I see is limited. So take it with a grain of salt.
Continue reading “Purged”
Idolatry can be subtle and pervasive. It manifests in the usual suspects like money or success and other familiar villains. But Christians ought to also be wary of the looming idolatry lurking in some of the essentials of the Christian experience.
I think of idolatry as a disproportionate worship of or devotion to something. Maybe you believe that the God who is Love—Creator and Sustainer of everything from the farthest galaxies to the nearest neurons in our brains—is the one to whom we ought to give our deepest allegiance and devotion or most permit to inform how we live and the choices we make. Idolatry, then, would be giving comparable adoration and devotion to something less worthy or worthwhile than God. Especially something that inhibits our ability to care for that for which God cares.
Continue reading “Bibles, Flags, and Other Christian Idols”
Yes, I know those verses. But why don’t you tell me what they are anyway? There’s nothing I love more than a good old-fashioned verse war. You know, that game where Christians retrieve and deploy the verses that affirm their current beliefs and values to take down their theologically-misguided opponents.
A dash of I Corinthians here, a dash of Genesis there. While it sure seems like you—verse warrior—are selectively hurling Biblical texts at me that affirm you and your ideas, you know you are simply and kindly pointing me toward Truth.
Boy, I really feel for the Bible. Poor Bible. If the Bible were a human, even the most racist, oppressive, violent, commodifying, and manipulative person would feel sympathy for what the Bible has had to endure. Abuse. Twisting. Selective listening. Self-serving agendas. Used to bully and pick on others against its will. Misrepresentation.
Continue reading “The Bible Doesn’t Condemn It, You Do”