Friday, November 11, 2011

"Wings on a Pig": The Inevitable Rise Of The Christian Left

I know I link to him all the time (it's because he's awesome), but the very reverend Mr John Shore has a new book out. It's called Wings on a Pig: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn't Work, and you all who are able should definitely buy it, because it is a most excellent collection of Shore's refreshingly direct essays on the topic of homosexuality and Christianity (ending with the clearest, most brilliant, most faithful and biblically-sound refutation of the clobber passages I've ever read), interspersed with letters of testimony from gay Christians, one of which may or may not be – well, they're anonymous...


Aside from the excitement of seeing words what I wrote in eInk, I think it is a super-important book. (Did I mention that I contributed to it?) On the ground, the issue of Teh Gays really is causing major upheaval in America's churches (and to a lesser extent, if only because of the vastly lesser role of religion in UK society, in Britain's).

This makes me think there's a very striking disconnect between the theologies of my queer progressive Bay Area seminary and the theologies of Middle America. Here, we don't talk about whether God has a problem with gays, because we're all gay or gay-adjacent. Here, admitting “actually I believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human and that he died for my sins” is tantamount to outing yourself as a paid-up member of the Religious Right. Here, being a far-leftist as well as a Christian does not make you a *~~*special snowflake*~~* (you should see the amount of activism and support on our campus toward the Occupy movement).

And yet, during my two years in a conservative Christian church, being a far-leftist gay Christian did make me a *~~*special snowflake*~~*; and, for tons of people all across this country, the same is true. The testimonies in John's book assure me of that.

Even so, I do have hope for the future of Christianity in this country. While I was living across the Pond, getting all my US news from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Rachel Maddow Show, and AlterNet, I very much got the impression that the Religious Right was the primary – if not only – vocal Christian movement in the States. Progressivism, of course, went hand-in-hand with secularism – a universal extrapolation I, like many others (including prominent theorists who really should know better), made from the example of Western Europe.

But that's not how things are going in America. Religion is still a hugely powerful force in this country, uniquely so among industrial nations, and that's not changing anytime soon. (Did you know how much effort and money the '08 Obama campaign put into religious outreach? Because it was a lot.)

What could – and, I hope, will – change soon is the tide of religious feeling. Contrary to the messages of much of the media, the religious left is a dynamic force in the United States, and I believe it's on the rise. It may still be a smallish force, but it's gaining momentum among the young people and on the internet and in the queer-progressive-heretical seminaries and everywhere that people are having the courage to consider the issues for themselves, seek out resources like John's book, and defy the party line of Christian conservatism.

The religious left is here, it's queer(-friendly), and it's not going away.

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