anonymous said:

I know it's not Wednesday (sorry!), but I had to ask this. Do you think that if you have sex before marriage that you're choosing sex (aka flesh, the world) over Christ? Do you think premarital sex will send folks to hell or somehow diminish our salvation since we're disobeying the Bible? I've been trained in evangelism, so part of me knows once you're saved, you're saved. But the rebuttal against premarital sex is always that God will stop blessing you if you deliberately disobey The Bible.

I think the teaching that God will “stop blessing you” if you do X is deeply, deeply problematic. We have this great, omniscient, omnipotent being, and my disobedience is going to make it super angry? That’s not a loving God; that’s a dictator.

I propose in my book that the context of the relationship and the attitudes in approach are much more concerning to God than whether or not we do the ding-ding before the ring-ring. Are we being respectful of the our partner? Are we obtaining consent? Are we valuing their pleasure as much as our own? Are we acting in a gracious, loving, and forgiving manner toward the other person? Are we shaming others for their experiences or are we recognizing that these experiences are human?

My entire philosophy toward sexual ethics is about making sure we apply the “love your neighbor” teaching to our sexual lives, not just our service projects and church sponsored activities. Loving your neighbor needs to be such an important thing to us as Christians that it permeates all other aspects of our lives - that it would become unthinkable to proceed in a sexual situation without consent, without respect, without value, without discussing things with our partner.

It is no longer about disobedience and punishment. It’s about love. It’s about care. It’s about selflessness.

We can insist that it’s incorrect to identify Christianity as a Muslim-hating, gay-hating, crusade of contempt for the poor, but that’s probably about as promising as insisting that it’s incorrect to say “flaunt” instead of “flout,” or “flounder” instead of “founder,” or “begs the question” instead of “raises the question.” The word “Christian” ought to mean something at least vaguely Christ-ish. The word “Christian” ought to have more to do with Fr. Nary’s radical hospitality than with the brutality of the anti-Balaka. The word “Christian” ought to have more to do with World Vision’s gospel-driven service to the poorest than with the sanctimonious contempt of the white evangelical bullies. But when the armies of hate are on the march, insisting that “We are Christians and we do this because we are Christians and because this is what Christians do,” then we have to recognize that the word is changing for the worse, whether we like it or not.
When some Evangelical magazines and websites wrote snarky things about my participation in my gay son’s wedding, several prominent Evangelicals contacted me in private and said, “You did the right thing.” One told me that the hardest part of his job as a denominational executive was hearing from the parents of gay children who were driven out of churches in his denomination. He couldn’t change the denomination without splitting it, he said, and he was glad that he could retire soon because he couldn’t stand the agony of being part of causing pain for so many gay people and their families. A charismatic leader told me had had performed a wedding in private for his gay grandson. People would be shocked how many people seem to support the status quo by their public silence, but privately aren’t there.
Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture. Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world. Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do. In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace.

You know what I love about Tumblr and Christian blogs?

I feel like denominations aren’t such a big deal on here. We are just a bunch of people who love Jesus and want to live for Him. It doesn’t matter if we are Baptists, Pentacostal, Catholic, Lutheran, or Evangelicals.

The point is that we are living to give God the glory. Life a life of worshipping God and loving others.

I think thats pretty incredible.

What struck me most forcefully when I started reporting on the Quiverfull and homeschooling movements was how seriously they took the threat of feminism. They wrote a library of books instructing conservative evangelical women that women’s equality was a slippery slope, and that accepting careers or family planning led directly to divorce, abortion, child abuse, and gay marriage.

This first struck me as an almost hysterical overreach, but I came to see it as something else: Christian conservatives acknowledging feminism’s revolutionary potential, taking it far more seriously than did mainstream society. And that’s something else Faludi diagnosed early on. While the 1980s media raced to declare feminism’s obsolescence — a “fringe” issue and “sideshow” to the New Right’s more serious policy objectives — “the players in the right ­wing fundamentalist drama knew better,” as Faludi writes. “For them, public punishment of autonomous feminist women was no less than the main event.”
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