A reader gets a conversation going:
I just finished your Deep Dish podcast with Matthew Vines, and found it quite enlightening. More than anything, I found your enunciation of your Catholicism and its comparison to Matthew’s reformed Protestantism instructive in how I read the Dish and your response to evangelical Christianity.
As someone who is also a Presbyterian like Vines, I found his discussion with you on biblical inerrancy very helpful to the those uninitiated in the reformed/Calvinist traditions. While I am not the target audience of his book (I have oscillated between Mainline and conservative Presbyterianism), I unfortunately do not think his argument will get the job done. Remember, these are folks who split the denomination (in a most painful way) over Paul’s epistles and the issue of women’s ordination, preaching, and even Sunday school teaching. While I am sympathetic to his cultural relativistic argument regarding Paul and his understanding of same-sex relationships, more conservative Christians will only see this as the camel sneaking further into the tent and the overall erosion of biblical authority.
On your ongoing dissents regarding the biblical view of marriage, I implore you and your readers to pick up Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. Like Vines said, I think this book does a good job of the importance of marriage in modern society as well as the biblical rationale and goals of marriage. The book changed the way I look at my own marriage and motivations.
Your dissents also argue that “if only those churches were more accepting, they would have millennials rushing to the pews.” Bull. Shit.
As we are expecting our first child, my wife and I joined a new PC USA Church to ensure our son was raised in the same environment and community I was. The church just signed off on gay marriage, has allowed ordination of gay pastors for years but, despite this, still has a median age of 82 and an average hair hue somewhere between ivory and blue. There is no evident impending wave of millennials now that the last social/cultural barrier of marriage equality has been removed. If young people want to support these institutions that are opening their doors as broadly as possible to all people, from all walks, they can start by showing up on Sunday – but it simply is not happening.
I feel and fear the evangelicals may be right: liberalizing theology will not reinvigorate the church with young faces and energy; it will simply hasten the downward spiral of mainline Protestantism as people leave for more conservative mega churches/lightshows or the faith altogether. At least, that’s the view from my pew.
The reader, piggybacking on another thread, adds a “bonus: my never more relevant black beagle mutt, Kirk”:
My previous thoughts on the podcast are here. And don’t forget to check out Matthew’s remarkable new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.