December 8, 2004

He is a Christian Too

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:38 pm

Just for fun, I googled “I am a Christian too”, and the first hit was this opinion piece by John Sugg entitled, not surprisingly, “I am a Christian, too”. Okay, so it looks like I wasn’t the first to come up with this counter-conservative slogan. It also looks like I am not the only Christian that objects to the religious right on theological as well as political grounds (more…)

December 7, 2004

An Open Letter to Bob Jones

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:49 pm

From the Rev. Tony Auer, Senior Pastor of Hill Avenue Grace Lutheran Church in Pasadena, CA. Bob Jones’ original letter to George Bush is no longer available on the Bob Jones University website, but dailyKos has an excerpt here. (more…)

December 6, 2004

Time and Newsweek Do Christmas

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:54 pm

Time and Newsweek are running their cover stories on Christmas this week. Maybe I’m too cynical, but these obligatory Christmas and Easter stories always strike me as transparent attempts to drive newsstand sales while not actually providing any real news. They all follow the same formula: talk about the historical Jesus, quote a conservative evangelical, quote the Jesus Seminar and the liberal academics, bring up the Gnostics, remind us that most Americans are believers, and close with a reassuring statement about faith. Newsweek has stuck to the formula this week, but Time breaks out of a bit, which is why it’s a much better article. (more…)

December 5, 2004

More on the UCC ad…

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:06 pm

…welcoming gays (among others) to worship with them. Chris Matthews had Jerry Falwell on Hardball last week where he tackled the gay-as-sinner-or-saint issue (Slate also blogged this item).
(more…)

December 3, 2004

The UCC Shows Some Real Courage

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:14 pm

Much has been made of the broadcast networks’ refusal to run this UCC ad. But I think the real amazing story here is the courage of the UCC to run an ad campaign targeting gay Christians. The ad shows people of color, the disabled, and gays being denied admittance to a church while wealthy whites are welcomed. While I’m sure many minorities and disabled are made to feel unwelcome in some churches, as a group they don’t have anywhere near the trouble being accepted in a church that openly gay couples do. What stands out to me (and I’m sure the major networks) is the male gay couple holding hands as they approach the church, and the lesbian couple in the closing shot. I have to believe that the UCC made an explicit decision to reach out to gays. Implicit in this is a confidence that the congregations of UCC churches will have no problems with the commercial, and will in fact be welcoming towards any gays taking them up on their offer. This is a brave and admirable move, especially as we begin another four years of the Rove era.

The other mainline protestant denominations (I’m a long-time member of an ELCA church) won’t even think about openly inviting gays to their churches. While many of the leaders of other denominations would like to follow the UCC’s example, they can’t risk having their congregations rise up in revolt. The ECUSA is battling schism, the ELCA is carefully handling their own potential timebomb while already dealing with conservatives making veiled threats, and the UMC has defrocked a lesbian minister. The UCC’s courage should make the rest of us mainline protestants feel a bit chagrined at how far we have to go.

December 1, 2004

Donations

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 2:08 pm

Jesus Needs Your Money!

…but I don’t. All expenses for this site, minimal as they are, I gladly pay for myself. However, there are programs sponsored by mainline protestant denominations that need financial support to continue and expand their ministries. Each of these links provides a wealth of worthy ministries. Find one that looks good to you, and please help them as you are able:

ELCA Giving Opportunities

UCC Make a Gift page

Tsunami Relief

Why This Blog?

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:50 pm

The national media has summarized the results of the 2004 presidential election as “Christians voted for Bush and the Republicans, and non-believers voted for Kerry and the Democrats.” A Bush voter was quoted saying that he “voted for Christ”. Richard Viguerie, a conservative fund-raiser, is counting on Bush to pursue his “pro-Christian agenda”. According to Bill Schneider at CNN, the best predictor for who voted Republican is whether they attend church on a weekly basis. (more…)

What I Believe

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:34 am

Others may disagree, but my religious beliefs are pretty mundane. I believe in pretty much anything found in the Lutheran Book of Worship. While I am a life-long Lutheran, if I found myself in a neighborhood with no ELCA church, I know I would be very comfortable attending an Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist or UCC church. This is not to say that there aren’t real theological differences among these churches, but they aren’t nearly as important as what they have in common: a belief in our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and God’s call to us to follow him. (more…)

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