Thursday, January 16, 2014

Old Nick and the fiery furnace

I listen to radio preachers twice a week, during the brief drive to church on Sunday mornings and then again, on the drive home. This is not intentional, but my car radio is set when driving around town to the nearest local station, broadcasting "live from the Albia square," and on Sunday morning, that's what you get.

If I'm running on time, the message is Lutheran; running late, fundamentalist. Middle-of-the-road arrives about 10:30, I think.

I've learned interesting things during these brief exposures --- not all congregations are created equal when it comes to music, for example, so sung liturgy is not always a good idea; and that the voice of a preacher with a broad southern accent causes the hair on the back my neck to stand straight up as teeth are bared and I start to growl. That's a personal issue and needs work.

The midmorning preacher was worrying Sunday that not all Christians are going to heaven. I'd pulled into the garage and turned the vehicle off before I found out if he was talking about his own flock, or Episcopalians.

But it did bring to mind Seattle mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll, who set the righteousness wing of the World Wide Web atwitter last week by announcing that, "If you are not a Christian, you are going to hell. It's not unloving to say that. It's unloving not to say that."

Now personally I figure that hell is a control mechanism adapted from earlier cultures and then refined by Christian preachers to control the faithful and scare the unchurched inside and up front to say the sinner's prayer, then start adding to the collection plate.

But I was interested in Zack Hunt's take on this at The American Jesus. Go there for further reading.


Rachel Held Evans, recovering Southern Baptist and another favorite blogger, spent last weekend at the Gay Christian Network's "Live it Out" conference in Chicago.

The Gay Christian Network, which causes the hair on the back of evangelical Christian preacher necks to stand straight up as they bare their teeth and growl, is an attempt to carve out a safe space for LGBT people who, despite the historic best efforts of most Christians, still are faithful. Reconciliation with those who as a rule consign us automatically to hell is another goal.

You can read "Unstoppable Grace: Thoughts on the Gay Christian Network Conference" here. I generally read the comments on posts like this, too.

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