Monthly Archives: June 2011
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship,
We have read of your recent anniversary and would like to give you our sincere congratulations. Undoubtedly, there were many in the early 1990s that said such a thing as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship would never last. Who would have thought that a small group of dissenters from the largest Protestant denomination in North America would have managed to survive for twenty years? We resonate with your story. Even though we were not alive to see the events that led to your establishment, they alienate us from Southern Baptist life (and life in other denominations!), as well. We were stunned when we began to learn of the events that defined Baptist life in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is in many respects a tragedy. We have seen brochures and catalogs from our seminaries before the fundamentalists’ rise to power. We were poised to do great things, but something happened. But while we understand your exilic narrative, there are things that simply get in the way of people like us flying the CBF banner. Read the rest of this entry
Earlier this month, I posted a piece about the recent Alabama immigration law. It was reposted by Church World Service and I received a lot of feedback both in online venues like Facebook and in person. In that article, I talked about what I termed “holy dissidents.” I did not elaborate too much on that topic, choosing to dwell on the issue itself more for the time being. However, in case you were wondering what such “holy dissidence” looks like, it happened this past week in Birmingham.
The Birmingham News reports of a candlelit march that took place in Alabama’s largest city on Saturday. Approximately 2,500 people from different religions, states, and communities gathered to march in silent protest of the new law (coming into effect on 1 September). Organizing via Facebook (I got the invitation but wasn’t in Birmingham Saturday night), other online website, and undoubtedly by word of mouth, this group of “holy dissidents” showed resistance to what they saw as injustice perpetrated by the state of Alabama.
I applaud their efforts and especially the diversity represented by the crowd present. It is remarkable how people from all different socio-economic statuses, races and ethnicities, and religious convictions can come together and respond to oppression. It is this kind of solidarity that shows us that religious conviction in a pluralistic society is still relevant and good for the promotion of justice, peace, and human rights. Read the rest of this entry
I was reading the issue of “Christianity Today” sitting on a coffee table at Samford University this week. As I flipped through it, I noticed something peculiar. Every once in a while, the magazine gathers statistics related to theological viewpoints among evangelicals related to current events. They had a page relating to the death of Osama bin Ladin. At the bottom, it had some telling numbers:
71% of evangelicals compared to only 50% of Americans support an increase in military spending to fight terrorism in the years to come.
Why? Why is it that the followers of a man who said to turn the other cheek are more apt to support such military efforts? Why are the followers of a nonviolent revolutionary adamant about this kind of violence when Americans are even less so? Why are adherents to the words of a man who said that the poor are blessed so eager to increase the largest military budget in the world while around 40 million people in their own borders are in poverty?
What has happened to we evangelicals that the good news has been so distorted? When did we forget that peacemakers are blessed? When did we forget the good news is about the blessings of God to the poor (in spirit) and not the security of worldly possessions?
Those questions obviously illuminate what I think, but what do you think about those numbers?