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Homosexuality: a theologically conservative—and inclusive—view

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It’s almost a truism that Christian conservatives see homosexuality as evil.

J. Kenneth GriderBut consider this courageous 1999 paper of the late Dr. J. Kenneth Grider, long regarded as a voice of conservatism among theologians of the Church of the Nazarene* (and of Wesleyans generally).  You just might be surprised.

I’ve reproduced the first two pages to give you the feel of it, followed by a link to the entire 45-page .pdf. And I’ll guess that there are some insights here you haven’t heard before.

He begins with a question of compassion . . .

Grider p1

Grider p2

Click below for the paper in its entirety. Intriguing reading!

Wesleyans and Homosexuality by J. Kenneth Grider

Care to share your thoughts?


*I should probably note the obvious: Dr. Grider spoke (as do I!) for himself and not for the Church of the Nazarene, the WTS, ONU, or NTS.

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Selling snake-oil to the Christian right?

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Many of my colleagues are pretty sure that Muslim extremists are planning all-out war on the USA. Some have attended conventions (with names along the lines of “Conference on the Christian Family) where well-known guest speakers made the case that Islam is inherently against us. Some have 20th-century eschatological views that hold war to be inevitable, and a necessary step toward the return of Jesus Christ. John Hagee, a preacher who advocates that view, has had considerable influence in Washington, D.C.

Now it appears that three of the better-known authorities may be hucksters. Consider these excerpts from a story called Snake Oil Sellers of the Christian Right? from the Inter Press Service, reprinted in CommonDreams:

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) – The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs came under heavy criticism earlier this month from Muslim and religious freedom advocacy groups after it invited to a conference three self-professed “former terrorists” with strong links to the Christian right. […]0222 06

Collectively known as the “3-X Terrorists”, Walid Shoebat, Kamel Saleem and Zacharia Anani are front line soldiers in the U.S. “culture wars” […]

To supporters, the 3-X represent “moderate” voices; they are self-professed Muslim extremists who converted to evangelical Christianity and are now exposing Islam for what it really is. To critics, they are frauds, accused of fabricating much of their past exploits as mass murderers in order to peddle their Islamophobia on the lecture circuit and on cable news networks, including Fox News Corp. and CNN. […]

The relationship between the evangelical Christian Right and 3-X runs deep, with connections to Reverend John Hagee’s Christian-Zionist Christians United for Israel (CUFI), as well as Focus on the Family, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

February 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Conservatives of Jesus’ time were against him

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Remarkable conclusions of theologian Stanley Hauerwas:
clipped from findarticles.com
“The functional character of contemporary religious convictions is perhaps nowhere better revealed than in the upsurge of religious conservatism. While appearing to be a resurgence of `traditional’ religious conviction, some of these movements in fact give evidence of the loss of religious substance in our culture and in ourselves. Christianity is defended not so much because it is true, but because it reinforces the `American way of life.’ Such movements are thus unable to contemplate that there might be irresolvable tensions between being Christian and being `a good American.'”
Phillips Brooks, a Protestant pastor in the late nineteenth century, wrote: “In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical. … His religion has so long been identified with conservatism … that it is almost startling sometimes to remember that all the conservatives of his own times were against him; that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him.”
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So it seems.


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Written by Monte

January 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Christians and war on Iran

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Chuck Gutenson is a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary (Francis Asbury, the early English-American hero for which ATS is named, was an only child, never married, and is thus, alas, no relative of mine). Chuck writes an excellent blog called Imitatio Christi, and writes occasionally for God’s Politics, where I found this much-needed post last April.

Here we are five months later; the Swamp’s tom-toms yet threaten. Gov. Romney and Mayor Guiliani have joined the rant, pitching Imminent Doom Unless (never mind that auto accidents—as with many domestic causes of death—pose a higher risk to American lives, and never mind that Iran has little to do with Islamism, and never mind that Iran hasn’t initiated a war with anybody for more than a hundred years).

It looks like the need for this challenge isn’t going away.

Chuck Gutenson: Iran, Neocons, and Christianity
By God’s Politics

There are some articles that one should not have to write. The thesis they defend should be so obvious that setting it forward should be unnecessary. However, there has been a remarkable degree of saber-rattling toward Iran over the last several months. Further, a founding document of so-called neoconservatism claimed that, “Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has” (and we all know how swimmingly our project in Iraq has gone!). So, unfortunately, it does seem necessary to make and defend the obvious claim: Christian faith is inconsistent with the central tenets of neoconservatism. Let me briefly summarize why this is so. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

September 2, 2007 at 5:37 pm

UN Investigator: Israel commits “massive violations of international law”

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Richard Falk, U. N. Special Investigator for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, spells it out (h/t PeoplesGeography):

clipped from www.russiatoday.com
The Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Convention, both in regard to the obligations of an occupying power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
'Israeli air strikes represent massive violations of international law'Those violations include:Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants. […]

Targeting civilians – the air strikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world […]

Disproportionate military response – the air strikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians […]

Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims. […]

Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give Israel any right … to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes … in its response […] The one Israeli killed today … is the first in over a year. […]

The Israeli air strikes today, and the catastrophic human toll that they have caused, challenge those countries that have been and remain complicit, either directly or indirectly, in Israel’s violations of international law. That complicity includes those countries knowingly providing the military equipment including warplanes and missiles used in these illegal attacks, as well as those countries which have supported and participated in the siege of Gaza, which itself has caused a humanitarian catastrophe

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Since 2000, fewer than 20 Israelis have been killed by Hamas’ primitive rockets – and only one in the last 12 months. By contrast, 3,000 Palestinians have died, and 300 of them perished in the last few days.

Israel’s enabler is the USA, which provides American gunships, missiles, and bombs. Israel kills with impunity because the US vetoes near-unanimous UN rebukes.

Dispensationalism’s blind faith that Israel’s barbarous government is the Israel of prophecy demands re-evaluation. For the pogroms this outfit carries out make it more resemble the Third Reich than the children of Abraham.

And the USA—with the backing of the Christian conservative set—once again has blood on its hands.


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