Non-Toxic Christian Grab Bag.

I keep up with Christian news, obviously. I’d be foolish not to do so, considering the religion’s excessive overreach into my country’s (MURKKKA!) politics and culture. Most of the Christian blogosphere is depressingly cruel, arrogant, controlling, condemning, and privilege-enforcing. But not all of it is so dank and dark. If you’re wondering, here are the Christian blogs I actually think are flying right:

* Rachel Held Evans. She wrote A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which you might remember caused a brouhaha because it used the word “vagina” in it somewhere, which Christian bookstores didn’t like (though these same bookstores were happy to feature books by male writers who frankly discussed both genitalia and anal sex). I especially like her essay How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation. Sometimes she frustrates me, yes, but overall I like what she’s trying to do.

* Clergy Guy. Clergy Guy is one of the most amazing people I think I’ve ever met; I’m very proud that he’s one of my Facebook contacts. His courageous blog routinely angers me (on his behalf), brings me to tears, fills me with love and compassion, and moves me to action. This is the blog I think most ministers want to write. If it isn’t, then it’s the one they should want to write.

* John Shore. He’s a Christian who got into the fight for LGBT rights. He’s also very friendly to women’s rights and gender issues. The whole blog is filled with love, compassion, and a desire to right wrongs. Though I’ve heard rumblings about how he moderates his comments, we once had a brief email correspondence which was marked only by the most healing sort of kindness and generosity.

* Faith from the Field. Another minister’s blog, one I only found very recently. I love what this blogger has to say. Don’t miss American or Christian? and Message to My Girls About Being a Woman.

* Stuff Fundies Like. This might seem a strange choice, but the owner of this snark blog is still a Christian (and from the sound of it, still active in ministry)–just an ex-Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB). The people posting there are sane, hilarious, and thought-provoking.

* Unfundamentalist Christians. Neat name, isn’t it? You’ll find more John Shore goodness here, along with words of wisdom for living like a good human from a variety of people who think it’s more important to treat other people right than it is to force a religion down their throats.

As far as I can tell, these blogs are free of sexism, racism, intolerance, and arrogance. Their voices are small, still, but they are growing. It can be easy to just knee-jerk hate the entire religion and everybody practicing it–this religion’s more toxic practitioners are, after all, responsible for so many abuses and predations–but I think it’s important to remember that what we’re fighting is overreach, meddling, and intrusion. If we ended Christianity tomorrow, its toxic adherents would just find some other way to justify mistreating other people and trying to control them and to punish, threaten, and strong-arm dissenters. It’s not even like Christianity’s the only religion featuring zealots doing exactly that to the societies in which they live.

No, we’re not against Christianity itself. That would be wrong and just as wrong as what zealots are trying to do to non-Christians (and Christians who aren’t like themselves, for that matter). People are allowed to believe whatever they want in the quiet privacy of their own hearts; it’s not like you could force someone to believe or disbelieve something anyway. We’re against tyranny. What we want is to have the rights and freedoms to live our lives the way we choose without worrying about zealots trying to harm us or control us in the name of their distressingly-petty and evil god. What we want is an end to science denial and the glorification and promotion of willful ignorance. And I think society’s collective weariness and impatience with zealotry is starting to take hold at last.

Christianity’s biggest strength is its ability to morph and change as needed to better work in a society, and these bloggers I’ve linked are–I think, I hope–the future of the religion.

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