Thursday, July 27, 2006

I suppose this is another complaint

This reflection here is a tangential responce to the Young Fogey's comment to my post on not feeling Protestant (though mostly a tangential responce), as well as the beginning of an attempt to puzzle through my own relationship to the currents of contemporary American Protestantism.
I am puzzled by what seems to me to be a clash of "Image" and perception. Some Orthodox and Catholics on the internet (many of whom are converts from Anglican or other Protestant churches) a few who read this blog, have an image and a perception of Protestants that doesn't necesarily fit my limited but ground level experience. There is much focus of the theological malaze in the mainline churches (recently the focus has been on the Episcopal Church) around the issue of human sexuailty and Woman pastors or priests. These problems and debates and the unconsidered words by leaders in these churches (and Spong doesn't help) surely give a certain image or picture, that seems to indicate a wide spread disdain or distaste for any thought pattern that is older than the 1960's, let alone any sense that the church is not simply made up of those who live contemporaneously with each other. The claim seems to be that those who either advocate for a reevaluation of Christian understanding of human sexuality or for woman pastor or priests simply don't care for the tradition of the church or Biblical fidelity. While I certainly understand where this image comes from it is not what I see in my regular contact with those who are not the talking heads or who do not have the spot light and attention. What I in fact see is Christians who do see (rightly or wrongly) that woman can be priests and that the church can bless committed same sex couples and who also seek to be orthodox. Now I can understand disagreeing with that position but ignoring that it exists and painting everyone with the revisionist brush as if acceptance of woman priest and homosexuality equals being in complete agreement with Bishop Spong. I guess I'd like to see a finer point to these agruments and engagement rather than braod brush strokes I tend to see used. There are exceptions certainly, Huw Raphael is one of them though it seems to me he gets a fair amount of dificulty for his carefull attention to the complexity of the current situation and debates.

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