Extremely White Male & Incredibly Homophobic

The news is wild these days! Its almost as if there is a cultural shift underway!
Let me just highlight 4 news stories from the past week:

1) The Pope: Gay marriage threatens humanity’s future

2) Pastor Joel Osteen to Oprah: Homosexuality Is Sin — But Gay People Will Get Into Heaven

3) Rick Santorum: A Straight Dad In Prison Is Better Than Two Gay Dads Who Aren’t

4) Pastor Mark Driscoll’s book on Marriage hits the shelves

It is interesting that all four of these stories have come to my attention in the past week. What most people will focus on is whether there is a Bible verse to back up what they are saying or not.

What needs to be stated before that is two-fold:

  • All four are white males. Somebody may ask “are you implying that their gender or race somehow diminishes their right to speak with authority?” and I would answer “No – I just think that it is worth pointing it out in case later we wanted to examine how people come to power and in what ways authority is constructed, bestowed, or recognized.”
  • When you have the leader of all the world’s catholics, a guy who is renowned for not speaking up about anything or coming down on anyone, a presidential candidate, and one of the most influential evangelical pastors in America saying the same thing… one of a couple of things has to cross your mind.

Either
a) they are all sticking up for the truth or
b) they are all sticking up for an antiquated perspective of the past

The reason that this issue has grabbed my attention is that many are calling it ‘The Last Taboo”. In the past 2 centuries, the issues of race (civil rights) and gender (women’s lib) have advanced to the point the if anyone held an opinion from a century ago about either issue – the people around them would say “what is wrong with you?” or “wake up man, its the 21st century.”

I asked Tony Jones, Lauren Winner and Phyllis Tickle about this issues last year.  Only Phyllis was willing to tackle it.

No matter which side of this thing you are on, it is worth noting that the ‘last taboo’ is predicted to be the worst and most vicious. The problem with the last of anything is that when it is over … it is really over.  We tackled the race issue, we overcame the gender barrier, and now the sexuality issue is front and center.  We can’t go back. This is the last taboo. Once we have dealt with this, there are no more big ones to fall. This is kinda it.* 

I just think that it is worth noting A) who is framing the conversation and B) who is charge of the information and how the process is to be handled.  There might be more going on here than simply the rightness or the wrongness of any given issue or the interpretation of 6 bible verses. 

This will most likely be decided in our lifetime. Denominations will split over it. The future of the faith will be challenged because of it. Like race and gender before it, history will evaluate how we participate in it.  

 

* somebody might say ‘economics’ or some form of disparity, but that is not really in the same category as it is not inherently value laden .

 

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Bo’s Big concern about the future of the church

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to an event at Fuller Seminary where Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner and Tony Jones were speaking. During the Q & R time I asked this question:

When you look at attendance rates across the board, the atrocious rate that we are losing young people raised in the church, and the passing of the WWII generation (I could have listed several other factors) … Do you think that 50 years from now there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today?

And if that is so, will homosexuality be the straw that broke the camels back?

Tony passed, Lauren wanted nothing to do with it (in their defense they are not ‘futurists’ by their own admission) so Phyllis gave the response. It was good. I have it on audio and will let her respond down the road.

I just wanted to post the question here. I do think that in 50 years there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today. I also think that is a problem… not because the church does not function well as a minority, but because the kind of christianity that we have is not calibrated well to be in that scenario.

Like it or not, the majority of our frameworks, institutions, establishments, attitudes, expectations, and Biblical interpretations are hold over from Christendom frameworks (if not colonial ones) but with the added blind spot of a lack of self-awareness. Most Christians that I talk to in Canada and the US seem to think that this is the way it should be.

I actually think that all this is just kindling. There is some gas that will be thrown on the fire. When the Baby Boomers retire (which they have just started to do) there will a significant loss of revenue and we will no longer be able to fund ministry the way that we have been. That is what will inflame the situation dramatically.

Add this to the Internet (making resources available and connections possible), the Browning of America (no white majority by 2050) and internal fighting of those who claim the name … and we may be talking about a tipping point.

Add this to the fact that a lot of people have bought into a form of Christianity (whether it is conservative, charismatic, evangelical, etc.)  that looks for the Rapture (Tim Lehaye style) . But 50 years from that still will not have happened… and the disillusionment will be devastating.

Put it all together and I think that in 50 years there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today. But that it just my opinion – I could be wrong.

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