This morning's homily is based on the gospel according to Dan Savage. Oh wait --- I don't do homily. Must be this Sunday morning business.
Anyhow, I've just ordered Dan's newest book, American Savage: On Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics, and that's what brought it to mind.
Dan Savage has written a frank (to put it mildly) sex-advice column, Savage Love, for 20 years, is the parent (along with husband Terry Miller) of the "It Gets Better" project and is an outspoken, effective and occasionally profane --- whatever that means --- advocate of LGBT equality. He rarely takes prisoners.
On the other hand, according to a recent The Washington Post review of American Savage, "In fact, reconciliation is at the heart of everything Savage writes and says. He’s not throwing bombs at all. Or rather, if he is, they are bombs aimed at shaking up small minds to extend traditional institutions to people considered outside them. Beneath its often caustic wit, 'American Savage' is on a healing mission. It’s about unification."
So I'm looking forward to the read.
Savage frequently targets those he calls, Not-all-like-that (NALT) Christians: Those who whisper after a verbal assault on LGBT people or others by right-wing preachers or similar talking heads, "but we're not all like that." The clip here offers a sample of classic Savage.
Dan's response to the NALTs generally is something like, "I already know that --- you're whispering in the wrong ear and you probably should be shouting."
Places like Chariton, seemingly overrun by Baptists, Nazarenes, pentecostals and other fundamentalists meeting in tin sheds under a variety of names, each celebrating its own variety of purity, are cases in point. The old mainline denominations --- generally perceived to be more liberal socially and theologically --- struggle to stay afloat.
Fundamentalists have the edge. At least you can be fairly sure where those congregations stand. Enter a fundamentalist door, and you're almost guaranteed to find folks who hate the same people you do.
It's not so clear what's going on inside the others. In part because of all that whispering: "Don't say it too loud, but we're not like them."
A majority of Lucas Countyans sleep in on Sunday mornings and haven't darkened a church door in months, if not years --- or ever. Who can blame them?