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Conservative Bashing Hurting The Pc Church


fatherman
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I'm prepared to take some heat on this one!

 

PC churches strive to be inclusive; however, there is a blind spot. Progressives are not welcoming to conservatives or even moderates sometimes. The first question to consider is WHY should we be?

 

1.) Many progressives have spouses who are more conservative who come to church with them

2.) Many blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are conservative, and we want them to feel welcome

 

So what we end up with is a church insulated and set apart from the rest of the Christian church and are mainly white.

 

The second question is HOW can we be more welcoming?

 

 

1.) We must drop the hostility toward conservatives. Even though there are conservatives bashing progressives, we must return no evil for evil.

2.) We should focus on the things that we are more likely to agree on: which is Jesus' teachings and example and worshiping together.

3.) I think it's better to have a moderate preacher who is fluent in both left and right theology. Who's willing to challenge and minister to both sides.

 

I was a member of a progressive United Methodist church for 15 years until I took a music director job at a moderate church. It's true that atheists, questioning, and gay folks were more welcome, but ethnic minorities where almost entirely absent. At my current church (not the church I would have otherwise chosen) there are progressives, moderates, and conservatives. The pastor is moderate. There are a proportionate number of minorities. For the most part, we all get along. The pastor is not afraid of ruffling either progressives' or conservatives' feathers. I believe this church is healthier than the progressive church I attended. Perhaps It's not as inclusive in some regards, but it is in others. Following the pastor's example, we work out our faith together with mutual respect.

 

Don't you know that the earliest church had conflicting views and squabbled? What good is it to attend a church where everyone agrees? How will you grow without diversity? We have to grow tougher more tolerant skins.

 

The following scriptures speak to these issues (at least in my opinion)

 

Romans 12 3-5

 

"14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited."

 

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

 

Romans 12 7-8

 

"7 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

 

 

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Good advice fatherman.

 

PC is not perfect. It is a progressive Christian journey and sometimes we stop the journey until we are motivated to move on. Yes, it does seem to me it is wise to not return evil for evil. I wish all PC's could be more welcoming but to me PC is not a church. To me, it is merely a label one chooses and no two may be at the same point in the path.. No heat from me here. :)

 

Joseph

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We have two feet, and if we intentionally injure one then we can't go anywhere. It doesn't matter if it is the left or right the result is the same. The students of a Zen teacher criticized him for telling one student one thing and another student the opposite. The teacher's answer was one student was walking down the right side of center and the other one down the left side of center so I told each one what they needed to hear.

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  • 2 months later...

I have similar issues.

 

I am formerly Eastern Orthodox (I left for pastoral reasons) and I just can't find a Protestant mainline church I fit into. Eastern Orthodoxy is hard to pidgeonhole as "conservative" or "liberal", because it comes from a completely different culture.

 

I'm disabled and I've just never really identified with the surrounding culture, that's an issue too. IT was easy to be an outsider in Eastern Orthodoxy because I was among other outsiders. There is something very homogenous about most mainline Protestant churches that is not truly diverse, that reflects a lot of white, middle-class, liberal cultural values. Being "Nice" is valued way to much, and being "real" about life is actually one of those things not high on the list. And I know nothing about non-denoms or non-mainline churches to go "church shopping".

Edited by FireDragon76
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A difficult situation for you by the sounds of it Fire Dragon, and I'm not sure I can contribute in any meaningful way, but I do wish you well in finding a church that fits for you.

 

I left church nearly 30 years ago and have barely put a foot back in one except for the occasional wedding/funeral. I do miss elements of church-going, but I think I have gained so much more with freed up Sundays! :)

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I was a member of a progressive United Methodist church for 15 years until I took a music director job at a moderate church. It's true that atheists, questioning, and gay folks were more welcome, but ethnic minorities where almost entirely absent. At my current church (not the church I would have otherwise chosen) there are progressives, moderates, and conservatives. The pastor is moderate. There are a proportionate number of minorities. For the most part, we all get along. The pastor is not afraid of ruffling either progressives' or conservatives' feathers. I believe this church is healthier than the progressive church I attended. Perhaps It's not as inclusive in some regards, but it is in others. Following the pastor's example, we work out our faith together with mutual respect.

 

Don't you know that the earliest church had conflicting views and squabbled? What good is it to attend a church where everyone agrees? How will you grow without diversity? We have to grow tougher more tolerant skins.

 

Nicely put. A pastor who's afraid of ruffling feathers (not matter whose) may be missing the chance to help community members see issues that have been papered over and ignored.

 

We are all children of God in need of mentorship, guidance, and the occasional reminder that we're not always right.

 

FireDragon76, I love what you said here: "Being "Nice" is valued way to much, and being "real" about life is actually one of those things not high on the list" (Post #5).

 

This has been my experience, as well.

 

God bless.

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PC churches strive to be inclusive; however, there is a blind spot. Progressives are not welcoming to conservatives or even moderates sometimes. The first question to consider is WHY should we be?

 

I've been thinking about this overnight. I think what you've written here, Fatherman, speaks to a wider issue. I think the issue involves the true meaning of inclusiveness -- not the meaning from our human point of view, but the meaning from God's point of view.

 

As human beings, who stumble and make lots of mistakes, I think we sometimes have a tendency to rely far too much on the power of words and not enough on the power of courage. Words do, indeed, have a great deal of power in our world to create positive, lasting change. (Witness the recent "seismic shift" in the U.S. journey towards true equality, as the CBS News described it in their newscast last Friday). On the other hand, words have often been used in the long course of history as a tool to disguise lack of courage, lack of forgiveness, and lack of acceptance of all creatures as fellow children of God.

 

It's too easy to say "I'm inclusive of everybody so I'm a nice person." If a person who claims to be Progressive is not welcoming conservatives or moderates, then perhaps there's an unwillingness to go deeper into the question of what God means by inclusiveness.

 

You're right, Fatherman. It isn't a new issue in the church. Jesus wrote about it in James 3. I guess we're still trying to understand it.

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One question to consider is HOW can we be inclusive with conservatives/fundamentalists. As progressives, we feel attacked by conservatives. We want to be defense and lash out. But I believe language and respect is part of the strategy with how to do this. We do this already for other groups when it comes to the names we use for God, the music we sing in church, the liturgy we use, and the kindness and respect we extend. This past week's current events were a great opportunity for using these strategies with conservatives regarding marriage equality. I was, in some regards, successful in having meaning dialog instead of gloating and antagonizing. Here are a few things that I wrote on facebook. I share this not to show off or think myself better, but to demonstrate that when you extend respect and base the discussion in terms that conservatives relate to, the likelihood of inclusion is possible.

 

 

Homophobia - fear of homosexuals

We're really slinging this word around a lot these days. There are homophobes out there, that is true, but none of my conservative friends are afraid of gay folks; nor are there beliefs on the matter derived from phobias. They believe being a Christian means believing and accepting scripture as truth and fact to the best of their understanding .

Let me be clear, I don't believe my faith nor anybody's should be used to deny civil rights to anyone, and I know there's a lot of hurt out there, but this name calling is misguided and ugly. It will not help heal our country.

 

Many of my friends both liberal and conservative affirmed this sentiment. The dialog led me to write some stuff that many of you have heard, read, or written yourself.

Believing it is a sin is not hateful either, though there are hateful people. This nation is deeply divided, and names are only going to make it worse. We need healing, not finger pointing

 

 

 

I do not believe it is a sin in today's context. But I do believe, or think it reasonable to believe, that the context described in the Bible was sinful in some regard. The context being that the ancient Hebrews (as in Leviticus) had designated the purpose of sex to be solely for building a nation (God's chosen, as they believed). Any seed wasted would be a seed that could be used to procreate. other cases include pedophilia, rape, and religious sex with a male prostitute of a foreign God. There was no loving context for homosexuality. Men would either be having sex out of wedlock (another sin in that day) or adultery. So I think the scriptural assertion that homosexuality was sin is correct given the context.

But today's world has nothing to do with nation building, pedophilia, and the like. Homosexuality has an appropriate context now. It is not a sin for gay people to be married even by Christian standards, as I see it. I see no conflict in my personal belief that homosexuality is not a sin and my Christian faith.

one conservative response was this.

 

 

that is the best explanation I have heard yet for why context would have been different biblically than it is now. Awesome food for thought, I have never thought of it that way.

And now, this opens up the possibility of a civil discussion. She knows that I'm not going to call her names or disparage her for her beliefs. She knows that I'm not ignoring what was written in the scriptures. How can a conservative have a legitimate discussion with a progressive about the scriptures if I don't start with what is actually written? Cons have there ###### and so do progressives. If the conversation starts with the ######, it is doomed.

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I agree with you, Fatherman, and I think you've presented a wise and sensible solution.

 

I suppose I should amend that to say it's one part of the solution, since the solution involves more than one element, but your approach of using historical context is an important and often overlooked element in the overall discussion.

 

Thank you.

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It has to start with forgiveness. I think that people are very angry with conservatives as a whole because of some of the not-so-loving public, political displays we've seen over the years. I think it's similar to the way people judge Muslims based on the extremists. I once expressed my Universalist perspective in my Sunday School class at church. It's a mix of conservatives, moderates, and liberals...imagine that! One of the conservatives said, "Now see! We can be friends and worship together even though I think you are dead wrong. I just think that's great." And I did think it was great. He respected me, and I respected him. More often than not, that is my experience with conservatives. He's a loving, mission-oriented, devoted, Christian man.

 

Facebook can make it worse, or it can make it better. It's what you make of it. Are you posting words and images that bring people together or antagonize them? Yes, I'm dismayed by some of the attitudes of people out there, but as Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird says

 

 

 

"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

 

 

Conservatives are getting desperate. They see their values becoming more and more sequestered. They want to live in a world that affirms their beliefs and behavior. We all want that to an extent....to an extent. Can we not have a little compassion for them? Love thine enemies. And are they even really our enemies? In my case, we're talking about my aunts and cousins and friends and church family.

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