Thursday, April 14, 2005


Thomas Bushnell has made another blog entry concerning the "Christ and Culture" discussion. Now, much of the tone of what he writes invites objection, notably the phrase "the queers are taking over". If want to say it for yourself, do so; don't even vaguely imply that I said anything like it.

As far as Louie Crews' seat on the Executive Council, the entry borders on disingenuity. You can check his church resume for yourself, but the picture I read from it-- and I first encountered him almost twenty years ago-- is that of a prominent and influential member of the church establishment. When I see Todd Wetzel or James Staunton or Jack Iker on the executive council, I'll be much more impressed by its balance. As it is, prominent liberals are represented, and prominent conservatives are not. It's hard for me to believe that anyone who pays any attention to ECUSA politics can deny the significance of seating one of Integrity's founders on the EC.

And that suspicion brings me to the main point. Theology as rationalization is all over the place; if one's opponents are doing it (and they often enough are) then onesself (or at least one's allies) are probably doing it too. Talking about motivations is always a dangerous opening for rationalization.

I'm not utterly convinced that the conservatives are that reactionary; I personally don't feel any moral nostalgia for a 1956 in which my parents had been married for one year. I can understand the longing for a "return" to a public culture was more directly informed by a "Christian" perspective, whether or not the image of that culture is historically accurate. Conversely, the language of enlightenment humanism is constantly on the lips of the liberals, but the Christianity of this language is at least debatable.

And "cultural"? Well, of course; one of the things that people use to draw lines around cultures and subcultures is shared values. And one of the chief of these is differentiation from those outside the subculture. My experience of theological discussion in general is that issues of inclusion and differentiation contaminate such discussion very heavily. I'm either supposed to see the liberal side as controlled by their unwillingness to accept traditionalist theological principles, or I'm supposed to see the conservative side as controlled by their theological principles. As far as I think I am applying theological principles, I don't get either side, so I personally have to believe this way of differentiating the sides is just not where the discussion is coming from.

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