White evangelical gatekeeping: A particularly ugly example in real time

Say you have a disagreement with another person about the meaning of a particular passage in the Bible. Do you engage them in an argument to try to show them why your interpretation is better? Or do you proclaim them a dangerous heretic and then demand that they be expelled from the tribe and fired from their job?

If you chose the latter, then you’ve got what it takes to be a Gatekeeper in the white evangelical tribe.

Let’s look at a current example of white evangelical gatekeeping as it unfolds before us in real time. This one involves Christianity Today in its usual role as good cop, and one of Al Mohler’s henchmen in his gang’s usual role as bad cop. This is an ugly, ugly business.

The subject is Eric A. Siebert, professor of Old Testament at Messiah College. Siebert is to be chastened by the tribe for a series of recent posts on Peter Enns’ blog:

1. When the “Good Book” Is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God

2. When the Bible Sanctions Violence, Must We?

3. Learning to Read the Bible Nonviolently

These are thoughtful, cautious essays on a subject that every Christian who has read the Bible must contend with. Genocide, slavery, concubinage, atrocities, slaughter and pillage are all part of the biblical story. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commended. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commanded.

Every Christian who reads the Bible must deal with this.

But white evangelicalism isn’t really about reading the Bible. It’s about using the Bible to enforce the boundaries of the tribe and the hierarchies within it.

Owen Strachan: Tribalist.

So the gatekeepers don’t share Siebert’s questions about these biblical tales of genocide, slavery, concubinage, etc. Those might be excellent questions, thoughtful questions, and crucially important questions, but that’s just the problem — they are questions.

Gatekeepers are not fond of questions. And those who ask them must be chastened.

So first up, the good cop. Christianity Today does its best to portray Siebert as “controversial” right off the bat with its headline: “Is the Bible Immoral? Messiah College Professor Says Yes, Sometimes.”

CT doesn’t engage Siebert’s argument because the important thing — the reason for its report — is not the substance of what Siebert says, but whether or not the tribe finds him acceptable. CT doesn’t want its readers to trouble their little heads wrestling with the texts of terror or with Siebert’s response to them. It’s just sounding the perimeter alarm and informing readers that Eric A. Siebert is dangerous, controversial, etc.

CT’s Melissa Steffan manages to use “mainline” as a pejorative and to hint that Siebert may be a heretic, but she fails to work in the usual gratuitous John Shelby Spong reference. I’m sure her bosses will take that up with her at her next performance evaluation.

Steffan’s piece is mainly just an introduction for the hatchet job by the designated bad cop in this piece of gatekeeping. Frame Siebert as the suspect, guilty until proven innocent. Then frame his inquisitor — the bad cop — as the presumed and unquestioned authority qualified to evaluate Siebert’s standing with and transgressions against the tribe. That inquisitor is Owen Strachan of Boyce College.

And Owen Strachan of Boyce College is a nasty piece of work.

Like CT’s piece, Strachan’s screed isn’t interested in the substance of Siebert’s argument as much as whether or not it is acceptable for tribal consumption. He’s not writing to tell us that Siebert’s argument is wrong, but that it is forbidden. It is out of bounds. And throughout his smarmy little attack job, Strachan keeps the focus on Siebert himself, as a person, and not on his ideas.

Strachan’s title — “Can a Messiah College OT Professor Really Teach the Bible’s ‘Immoral’?” — gives a sense of the awkward style to follow. (I know we’re supposed to recoil in horror from that rhetorical question, but I can’t tell whether we’re supposed to cry Yes! or No!)

Recoiling in horror is Strachan’s preferred mode of gatekeeping. This is the pearl-clutching, fainting-couch, oh-my-I-have-the-vapors school of faux-lamentation preferred by many white evangelical gatekeepers. The more they despise any person or institution, the more they will pretend to be saddened and disappointed  at what has recently befallen them. How art the mighty fallen and oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown, etc. etc.

Strachan lays that on pretty thick, indicating he must really hate Messiah College. Here’s his intro:

A Messiah College Old Testament professor named Eric Siebert just posted a shocking piece on Pete Enns’s blog. It’s entitled “When the Good Book is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God.” You should read it.

If you love the Lord and his Word, it will take your breath away.

You don’t need me to say this, though. Here are a couple of quotations that show just how far this piece is from an evangelical, or even orthodox, conception of Scripture. …

So three paragraphs in and Strachan has already told us that Siebert is a shocking nobody (note that condescending indefinite article), that he has a  breathtaking contempt for God and the Bible, and that he is far from evangelical and far from orthodox.

But that’s the nicest part of Strachan’s punitive gatekeeping effort here.

Strachan’s main objective comes in the next bit, in which he seeks to get Siebert fired:

This is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the statement of faith that guides Messiah College. … At the very least, there is serious friction here between Siebert and his school’s statement of faith.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who has had respect for Messiah College. I know a number of alumni, and the school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. That a faculty member would publish that that the Bible has material that is “immoral,” “problematic,” and is not fully trustworthy is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not tearing it down.

Won’t someone think of the children?

The irony here is that Siebert’s piece was posted on Peter Enns’ blog, shortly after Enns himself wrote this:

Calling for Evangelical involvement in public academic discourse is useless if trained Evangelicals are legitimately afraid of what will happen to them if they do.

There’s no evidence that Strachan read that — or that he read Siebert’s piece either, actually — but if he had set out to prove Enns’ point deliberately, he couldn’t have done a better job.

Strachan isn’t satisfied with merely slapping a “controversial” warning label on Siebert. He wants him expelled from the tribe. And he wants him to lose his job.

This is despicable behavior. Strachan doesn’t like Siebert’s argument, so he tries to get him fired. That’s a total dick move.

Oh, right, we Christians aren’t supposed to say things like “total dick move” — no matter how totally dickish someone is behaving.

So let me put this in language that gatekeepers like Strachan will understand:

A Boyce College professor named Owen Strachan just posted a shocking piece. You should read it.

If you are capable of love, it will take your breath away.

It is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the fruits of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, or the Greatest Commandments.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who is now pretending to have had respect for Boyce College. The school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. Be a shame if anything happened to that.

That a faculty member would publish something suggesting that the gospel somehow is compatible with his unctuous, oily, disingenuous, stick-so-far-up-his-backside-you-can-see-the-tip-when-he-talks attitude toward those he wants to keep in line is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not turning them into twice as much a child of hell as himself.

Or, in the vernacular: Total dick move, Owen Strachan. Total dick move.

 

  • JustoneK

    Okay.

    What?

    If I am reading you right, particularly in context of the rest of the posts you have made so far – race is not inherent to to discussion at hand and the race of the evangelical gatekeepers is not pertinent?  That’s your core argument, yes/no? _

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I don’t know if you’re talking to me or who, but nobody  said it wasn’t a problem or that it was gone. I actually said it is a problem. They just don’t care about discussing it as much. There is intentionally a lower level of conflict about it. For the same reason Brazil has hardly had any wars. It’s not part of their cultural norms. They prefer to enjoy life and get along, despite conflict. And it shows – they’re happier.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Since those against tribalism are for honest questions, I have a few.
    Is this article advocating there be a tribe against tribalism? Is
    attempting to tarnish someone as a tribalist consistent with the fruit
    of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, and the Greatest Commandments? Is there
    even such a thing as heresy? Is asking questions sometimes merely a
    passive aggressive way of making statements?

    … And if you’re so tolerant, why don’t you tolerate my intolerance? And what about Scarecrow’s brain?

  • JustoneK

    I don’t know what the fuck the relevance is at all.  This is not a unique phenomenon we’re looking at here. o.O

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Of course it helps when you autmatically equate “good” with power level.

    And God’s is OVER NINE THOUSAND!,

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Correct. 

    Changing the race of the gatekeeper doesn’t change the outcome or the nature of the discussion. It is an independent variable. Given the same scenario, I can mix and match race, gender, age, nationality of the actors, and still have exactly the same discussion, with the same outcome, and the same criticisms of theological gatekeeping, because it’s a gatekeeping issue about hermeneutics and theology, which, at least in this discussion, don’t originate in the race of the actor. 

    I just wish someone would give me a good argument why this particular theological battle originates in whiteness of the actor, given that both actors are white, and possess opposite opinions. I’ll probably disagree with it, but I’d at least like to hear it. 

  • JustoneK

    Whiteness is not solely a racial marker.  It is a cultural one.  You cannot divorce one from the other and understand any of where we’re coming from here.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Justone, you’re skipping head, but this is good. I’m excited, I didn’t think we’d get to this part. Culture and color are so overlapped as if they were a Venn diagram, they’re often confused for one another. But what people really don’t like about most other people is culture, not color. They just use color to identify what they don’t like. They make it a synonym, when it isn’t. Which implies that people can subscribe to a cultural norm, without being of that same color, yes? (say yes)

    You say you can’t divorce them, but I’m saying you should, that it isn’t  just semantics, it’s actually very important, and what is the main problem with our current level of national discussion on the issue. And this is the basis of my complaint. Instead of looking at culture and color as the same (imagine looking at two nearly overlapping circles from the top down), you should look at them from the side and see that indeed, they are separate, but more importantly, see what’s underneath the both of them that nobody can see (or wants to look at): basic human nature. That human nature is filtered by culture, so that the top layer, “color”, looks like its different from a “top-down” view, but is really a superficial result of what’s underneath. All races/colors share the same basic human nature, and that’s what we have in common.

    Understand this, and you can understand where I’m coming from.

  • JustoneK

    /headtilt

    Same basic humans, yes.  Same cultures, no.  The commonalities are still outweighed by, as Fred notes here, the people who want to put their culture forth as the dominant one.  Whiteness as a culture is very dominant and fighting to maintain it, and every bit of privilege chipped away is seen as a war on them.  Much like this thread itself, it turns the lack experienced by others into the lack experienced by the Normal Humans, whether or not that lack is equivalent.

    We can’t hug this shit out precisely because you are defending this sameness which does not exist and is in fact fought against.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yeah, that’s the core of my point. If your argument is that is it immoral to kill an innocent person, but not necessarily a person guilty of something or other, you shouldn’t use the label pro-life. Pro-innocenti or something I’d have more respect for.

    I’ve only rarely heard anyone argue for the death penalty in person because it’s 2013 and I live in a civilised country, but I have heard a lot of people opposing abortion continually refer to the taking on innocent life, so I suspect many of them are on the same wavelength.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I’m confused by this. I’m not sure what you’re referring to by “same cultures, no”?

    It’s the sameness of nature that causes us to “gatekeep”, whatever are the norms of our tribe. Dominance within a culture is just more of a motivation to gatekeep, but it isn’t the reason for gatekeeping itself. Every group does this in every aspect of group organizational dynamics. I’m not sure where you’re going with what you were saying. I don’t even understand the context of the last sentence. Hug what shit out? Defending what sameness, culture or nature?

  • JustoneK

    Okay.  Okay here.  Crux of Fred’s argument here:  if you misstep, the tribe will damn well let you know about it.  They will cut you off and do their best to either make sure the rebel is either exiled entirely, or at least make their own interactions with other members of this same tribe are as difficult as possible.  This is ensuring their gates to any new members only allow in those willing to conform to this tribe’s rules.

    This is gatekeeping y/no? _

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    That is the definition of gatekeeping. This is basic anthropology. It’s not as if I didn’t understand what he was saying.

    What nobody has done is connect it to the cultural whiteness of the actors, and how the result of this gatekeeping would be different (or exist at all), if the discussion were the same, but (one or both of) the actors weren’t white (culturally). To you, how or what would it change?

  • JustoneK

    …If one of these actors was not ethnically Caucasian or passing for white, the dynamics change – both because of actual culture they are in/raised with/participate regularly in and because of the culture they will be seen as a part of by other tribes.  Whiteness is an intrinsic quality to everything seen happening here.

    What are you arguing here?  That if the culture in question were, say, a generally black church, a latino church, a church not in America at all, a nonChristian type, that the articles and the responses to it would be the same?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wow, two tiresome threads carrying on simultaneously. I hope this isn’t an omen of the future.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    So, I have indeed understood you correctly all along. I just disagree, and to me it seems so patently obvious, I really don’t know how else to restate it. I just don’t think “whiteness is an intrinsic quality to everything seen happening here”. I don’t think cultural whiteness is the cause of pacifism, or the screed against it, and I’ve yet to hear one reasonable explanation as to how it is, other than the fact that most evangelicals are white, and so it Strachan. This isn’t an explanation. 

    You can read any book on anthropology that will describe this behavior amongst every people group in the world. E Evans Pritchard “Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande”, Alfred Kroeber’s book on the Phillipines, to every other modern ethnography. All of them are about norms, and customs to reinforce those norms. You can read any business organizational culture book, and see exactly the same behavior. For some reason, people in the US think this behavior only applies to white culture, and that  if another culture does it, its because white culture started it. 

    The defense of orthodoxy isn’t a “white” thing. Any defense of the status quo is a defense of “orthodoxy”. It just so happens that in this one case, the actors are white. But their discussion isn’t. I can give you any number of examples of gatekeeping by people of “color” in the churches I grew up in where my questioning of the norms resulted in censure unless threats of exclusion unless I conformed to those norms – everything from theology, to religious practice, to dress, to behavior – everything. In that microcosm, theirs was the dominant performance/theological culture, and they did what they did to protect it. It is absolutely no different in any qualitative way from what’s going on with Siebert and Strachan. 

    I am arguing exactly that if the culture were a black or latino church, and the discussion were the same, the articles could, in fact, be exactly the same (not that any two people would argue it the same way, but the gatekeeping result could indeed be the same), for the basic reason (and maybe I should have been clearer about this earlier) that Evangelicals are generally “biblicists”. They believe in the inerrancy and authority of the scriptures, which is what Strachan is aghast about in Siebert’s article. In as much as any two people can actually agree on anything, or behave similarly, two racially separate groups of Evangelicals, sharing the same theology, are generally going to take the position that Siebert is outside of orthodoxy. Some black evangelical could say exactly the same things that Strachan did for exactly the same reasons. But it wouldn’t be because he’s black (or acting white). It would be because he. Whatever intellectual or theological tribe you belong to, you’re generally going to defend it. Not all white evangelicals agree with Strachan, you understand this, correct? Neither would all of black or latino evangelicals. But it isn’t because they’re not white, or not acting white.

    This goes back to my first post: If this kind of gatekeeping is a dick move, then the Council of Nicaea was a dick move, and so was any other synod or assembly in church history, where norms were established, and people shut out. And not only that, but pretty much any exclusion of any kind is exactly the same kind of dick move. In which case, everybody is guilty. And that, is exactly what I believe: everyone is guilty of this.

  • JustoneK

    The fuck are you actually arguing?  It really reads like false equivalency between both types of gatekeeping and _degree_ which is _what Fred is talking about._

    There is a difference between a sunburn and a broken rib.  There is a difference between being ostracized for not conforming well enough and being killed for it.

    The fact that all white evangelicals do not agree with Strachan would be comforting if it made a damned bit of difference to the folks already hurt by him, and people like him, and people allowing him to continue.

    You are painting with a far broader brush than I am.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Please, just take the time to explain exactly how the whiteness of the actors, on a discussion about the legitmacy of violence in the OT, would be different, if any of the actors weren’t white? Based upon race, what would that conversation look like, and why?

  • Lori

     

    The underlying cause of Strachan’s “rebuttal” isn’t race. Because you
    don’t need to be white to want to protect your tribe, and ascribe
    “otherness” to someone’s beliefs. Back to post 1 of mine, what seems
    like eons ago.  

    I really do not understand what it is about this that you can’t understand. Let’s try this without using the word ‘tribalism” and see if it works any better.

    Fred’s position is that Owen Strachan’s comments claim to be about theology, but are actually about policing the in group/out group border. The in group in question is white evangelicalism. The modifier “white” is necessary because there is more than one evangelical culture in the US and the one Strachan is part of is based on whitenes. There are members who are not themselves white, but the culture is a product of the position the white people have in the larger US culture.

    This is a perfectly reasonable thing to say, just as it is perfectly reasonable to talk about African American church culture. Not everyone who attends a “black church” is AA, but the culture and rituals and in group/out group markers were formed by the AA experience in the US.

    You can’t separate these cultures from race. The fact that you don’t want to talk about race doesn’t change that. The term “white evangelicalism” does not express any notions about certain behaviors being directly caused by race. It does describe a group which is distinct from other groups, based on the origin of that distinction.

    All your talk about how pointless the racial descriptor is would at least sort of make sense if Strachan’s “rebuttal” was primarily theological instead of cultural. If you believe that to be the case then you need to stop going on about “white” and instead state your case for why you think this primarily a theological rather than cultural dispute.

    You say you think people in the US are too obsessed by race and that we shouldn’t talk so much about it, but you’re the reason we’ve talked about it for much of 8 pages and why we can’t stop talking about it. If you don’t want to talk so much about race then drop it and we’ll talk about something else.

  • Lori

     

     the same criticisms of theological gatekeeping, because it’s a
    gatekeeping issue about hermeneutics and theology, which, at least in
    this discussion, don’t originate in the race of the actor. 

    Now we’re sort of getting somewhere. You think this is a theological dispute and that the gatekeeping going on is theological gatekeeping. Fred does not.

  • JustoneK

    Yes!  Thank you!  I was running low on articulate matter!

  • Lori

     

    Culture and color are so overlapped as if they were a Venn diagram,
    they’re often confused for one another. But what people really don’t
    like about most other people is culture, not color. They just use color
    to identify what they don’t like. They make it a synonym, when it isn’t.
    Which implies that people can subscribe to a cultural norm, without
    being of that same color, yes? (say yes)   

    It looked like we were getting somewhere, but we’re back to bad sociology again. 

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I know he doesn’t. I think he’s wrong. It’s really simple. The orthodoxy in question (Siebert’s) is a theological orthodoxy (based upon hermeneutics and biblicism), not a behavior or cultural practice. If it were the latter, you could say “white evangelicalism”. But Biblicism and it’s attendant hermeneutics aren’t confined to white people. Black and Latino evangelicals can be just as Biblicist. Unless you or Fred is arguing that its actually impossible for a black person or latino to be a Biblicist without sacrificing their “non-whiteness”, because Biblicism is intrinsically a white thing, and to subscribe to it means to “become white”. At which point, race is irreducible, and the argument becomes absurd. In that world, there is nothing to be learned from anyone outside of your race, since humans are irreducibly racial (and racist). There are people who believe this (or some variation of it), but I think it’s an incredibly obtuse postmodern anthropology, and grossly incorrect. To me, provably so. But that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.

  • Beroli

     “Biblicism” is not a thing here at all. Siebert took a position only a white evangelical would. The fact that you’re arbitrarily declaring that the part of it that matters is the Bible’s involvement doesn’t change that.

    And if you consider something “beyond the scope of this discussion,” possibly you should refrain from bringing it into it. Just a thought.

  • Lori

    The orthodoxy in question (Siebert’s) is a theological orthodoxy (based
    upon hermeneutics and biblicism), not a behavior or cultural practice. 

    If this was true  Strachan’s response would have been theological and it most definitely was not.

    But Biblicism and it’s attendant hermeneutics aren’t confined to white people.

    No they aren’t, but  ways of expressing and using them are different in the subculture formed by the white experience in the US than in subcultures formed by other experiences.

    This particular hissy fit played out the way it did because the people involved are part of the subculture informed by the white experience. If we were talking about gatekeeping in the black or latino church it would look different, not least because, as someone else pointed out, it would not have been triggered by this question.

    We aren’t talking about gatekeeping in the black or latino church. That’s not because anyone here thinks it doesn’t happen, it’s because this is Fred’s blog and Fred is not part of either of those subcultures and so does not address them the way he does his own culture.

  • Foelhe

    “I just don’t think “whiteness is an intrinsic quality to everything seen happening here”.”

    “Intrinsic” is a pointless word in this context. “Intrinsically” we could live in a parallel universe where black people/pagans had been on top of society for the last three hundred years and white people/Christians could have been enslaved and mistreated. You wouldn’t have to change any physical laws to make that happen.

    But guess what didn’t?

    Conservative Christianity is in power right now, and it likes it that way. So anyone else who tries to stand up gets kicked back down, since anyone standing on their own two feet makes the church look smaller by comparison. You could easily say the same thing for conservative white people on issues of race. There’s an overlap in the base, there’s an overlap in the people getting crushed underfoot. And Fred has discussed this plenty of times in plenty of articles.

    I don’t know why he chose the word white for this particular article, but it’s not news for anyone who’s been around awhile that fundamentalists tend to side with the powerful against the oppressed, including on issues of race. The fact that you’d rather argue hypotheticals than deal with that fact says a lot about you.

  • Foelhe

    “Theological orthodoxy” and “cultural practice” are not contradictions. In fact I’d say it’s difficult to separate the two.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “If this was true  Strachan’s response would have been theological and it most definitely was not.”

    How so? Strachan quotes:
    • “You don’t need me to say this, though. Here are a couple of quotations that show just how far this piece is from an evangelical, or even orthodox, conception of Scripture” (note: orthodoxy, hermeneutics)

    • “There are “hard parts” of Scripture, to be sure. But the Bible is wholly inspired of God, without error, and therefore totally trustworthy” (note: Biblicism)

    • “Whatever God does is right. All that God teaches us in Scripture is right.” (note: Biblicism)

    • “That a faculty member would publish that that the Bible has material that is “immoral,” “problematic,” and is not fully trustworthy is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not tearing it down.” (note: this is the only one that is an orthopraxy critique, but the idea that the point of scripture is to build faith isn’t derived from “the white experience”).

    These are theological criticisms. What other criticisms were there in Strachan’s piece that I somehow missed that were “informed by the white experience”? 

    “If we were talking about gatekeeping in the black or latino church it would look different, not least because, as someone else pointed out, it would not have been triggered by this question.”

    *Snort*! “You’re talking out of the side of your neck”, as my old pastor used to say. This is precisely where you, Fred, and whoever else thinks this is wrong, on so many levels.  It is nothing more than a massive out-of-nowhere assumption on your part, because you don’t actually know what the black evangelical experience even looks like, or what black evangelicals talk about or what they preach about or what they concern themselves about on a theological level, other than what others believe goes on there, or you inferred. The idea that rejection of either orthodoxy or orthopraxy would never, or worse, could never trigger a similar response from a black subculture of a church tradition that values either or both is just ludicrous. You’d get your ass handed to you by any number of pastors in the non-white evangelical community for rejecting Biblicism as Siebert did. They’d be preaching from the pulpit against you, saying you were going to hell, not just writing in a blog post about you. It’s obvious as daylight you’ve never had anything but the most superficial contact with a non-white experience in church, to say something like this.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    See my response to Lori. 

  • duckbunny

    Senor Hosenscheisser, is there anything we can say which will change your mind on the relevance of “white evangelicalism” as distinct from “evangelicalism”?
    It seems to me that you are here to throw your weight around, do your best to control how other people argue, and try to persuade everyone that Fred is a terrible person for mentioning the specific tribe involved.
    If your opinion cannot be changed by this conversation, it is a waste of time.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s not that he doesn’t expect it, it’s that he won’t allow it. Allowing comments means that you can’t keep out people who disagree with you. And allowing comments from people who disagree with you exposes your sheep to alternate views. Then they might…THINK! /horrified gasp

  • Lori

    What other criticisms were there in Strachan’s piece that I somehow missed that were “informed by the white experience”? 

    I can’t tell if you can’t understand what we’re saying, or if you won’t understand what we’re saying. In either case I don’t have any further ideas about how to communicate with you.

    It is nothing more than a massive out-of-nowhere assumption on your
    part, because you don’t actually know what the black evangelical
    experience even looks like, or what black evangelicals talk about or
    what they preach about or what they concern themselves about on a
    theological level, other than what others believe goes on there, or you
    inferred.  

    So, the times I’ve attended services in primarily AA churches and the people I’ve known personally who were raised in AA churches and the discussions we’ve had about differences in our religious upbringings, I just imagined those?

    The idea that rejection of either orthodoxy or orthopraxy would never,
    or worse, could never trigger a similar response from a black subculture
    of a church tradition that values either or both (orthodoxy or
    orthopraxy), is just ludicrous.  

    What’s ludicrous is your persistent misunderstanding of what is being said to you.

    You’d get your ass handed to you by any number of pastors in the
    non-white evangelical community for rejecting Biblicism as Siebert did.
    They’d be preaching from the pulpit against you, saying you were going
    to hell, not just writing in a blog post about you. 

    See above.

    It’s obvious as daylight you’ve never had anything but the most
    superficial contact with a non-white experience in church, to say
    something like this. 

    You have not provided any reason for me to think that your experience of the AA church has any more depth than what you’re accusing me of. I suspect it’s now past time for the two white people to stop talking about it before this totally devolves into embarrassing and inappropriate whitesplaining.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ok, You clearly misunderstood my attempt to provide context for one possible meaning of the word whoever was using way back.

    And incidentally, phenomenological hypotheses are fairly common in science.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I can’t tell if you can’t understand what we’re saying, or if you won’t
    understand what we’re saying. In either case I don’t have any further
    ideas about how to communicate with you.

    I think you’ve misinterpreted him. This argument isn’t about understanding or communication; it’s about winning. It’s about scoring cheap rhetorical points by reciting the right tribal signifiers and making baseless accusations that are very generally shaped like a legitimate argument.

  • JustoneK

    No, I just fail at humor.  :P

    This entire thread has removed meaning from anglish for a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1327937763 Cathy Coon Bitikofer

    We saw them in Topeka about a month ago (not the highlight of our visit there), and no one’s heads were covered as they stood on the corner and worshiped their placards.

  • Carstonio

    My understand is that the rule applied to its services in church.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    We’ve spent enough energy on it. We’re not going to agree. We can’t even agree on definitions. You guys think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I understand quite clearly. Let’s leave it at that.

  • P J Evans

     Thank you, Monsieur Poopypants.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Yes, you can go back to your regular programming of: “Stuff White People Think They Know About, But Don’t Have Any Personal Experience With”, on the Patheos Channel. 

    But that’s not surprising. I’ve almost never met a single white Progressive that’s ever spent any significant part of their life being in an environment where they were the cultural minority. They always trot out their “black friends” in discussions, but when you ask them, they live, work and worship in almost exclusive white communities, especially if they are middle class or better. White middle class Progressives communities are some of the most homogenous I’ve ever been around. The black people they know are those who upwardly navigating in their white world. It’s never the reverse.

    I leave you (and whoever is still reading) on this thread with a challenge for what will almost certainly be a brand new experience for you: If you’re a church-goer, go leave your white church, and join a black or latino evangelical church for at least 3 years (not a “mixed” one with a white pastor, but one that is culturally black and has an almost exclusively black leadership). Be the cultural minority. Then you’ll have something to talk about. You guys are like armchair quaterbacks yelling at white evangelicals (who otherwise deserve a much of the criticism directed against them – but not on this issue), but it’s so obvious to anyone with any kind of real experience, that this group has nothing other than superficial contact with anything but white culture, or white church culture. If anyone here did have this experience, they’d be able to clearly articulate what the theological and cultural differences are between white and non-white evangelical cultures. But  nobody here has, or can. They just think it’s different, and declare that black evangelical concerns are necessarily significantly different, and their responses would necessarily be significantly different, because the colors are different. There are differences, that’s for sure, but there are a lot of similarities as well, which so far, few of you can see, or are willing to believe exist.

  • Lori

    I leave you (and whoever is still reading) on this thread with a
    challenge for what will almost certainly be a brand new experience for
    you: If you’re a church-goer, go leave your white church, and join a
    black or latino evangelical church for at least 3 years (not a “mixed”
    one with a white pastor, but one that is culturally black and has an
    almost exclusively black leadership). Be the cultural minority. Then
    you’ll have something to talk about.  

    So that’s what you did? How did that work for you?

    You guys are like armchair quaterbacks yelling at white evangelicals
    (who otherwise deserve a much of the criticism directed against them –
    but not on this issue), but it’s so obvious to anyone with any kind of
    real experience, that this group has nothing other than superficial
    contact with anything but white culture, or white church culture.  

    I assume you’re including the ones who aren’t white, which is interesting.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “So that’s what you did? How did that work for you?”

    I grew up in just such a church, until I left in my mid 20s. I thought that was pretty clear from earlier posts.

    “I assume you’re including the ones who aren’t white, which is interesting.”

    And who, besides Daughter, would that be? Whoever they are, they’re excused. Not you though. 

    Look, you don’t have to like a single thing I said  hitherto, but it’s a fair challenge all the same. You’ve visited a few times already. Just make the commitment and truly be the minority for a good while, past your comfort zone of a visit or two or five. Integrate into their culture – be willing to change the way you dress, what you eat, how you talk, how you worship in church – don’t just be around black people who are integrating into your culture, like most white middle class Progressives (evangelical or not). Get to “know some folks”. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If anyone here did have this experience, they’d be able to clearly articulate what the theological and cultural differences are between white and non-white evangelical cultures. But nobody here has, or can.

    FWIW, the church I attended growing up–as a teenager and young adult–and the one that my mother still attends is minority white, with a non-white priest. Minority as in about 10% white. It’s not something my family actively sought out–we lived in a highly multicultural (poor) area, in a society where church attendance is a minority thing anyway, and even more so amongst white people. So you’re off base with your “nobody” claim.

    I haven’t joined in this particular discussion, though, because I found it exceedingly tiresome on all sides.

  • Lori

     

    Look, you don’t have to like a single thing I said  hitherto, but it’s a
    fair challenge all the same. You’ve visited a few times already. Just
    make the commitment and truly be the minority for a good while, past
    your comfort zone of a visit or two or five. Integrate into their
    culture – be willing to change the way you dress, what you eat, how you
    talk, how you worship in church – don’t just be around black people who
    are integrating into your culture, like most white middle class
    Progressives (evangelical or not). Get to “know some folks”.    

    As I already said, I have done this. I will not be doing it again, not because I’m afraid to be a member of a minority church, but because I no longer voluntarily attend church of any kind. I do currently go to church owing to the need to placate family. Attending anywhere other than where they attend would defeat the purpose, so it’s not going to happen.

    I lived for many years in a minority white neighborhood. I’ve worked jobs where whites were a minority of the employees. In both cases I got to know the people around me rather well.

    Contrary to your overly-high opinion of yourself, you are not the only one who has gotten to “know some folks”.

    And with that, I’m done.

  • Daughter

    FYI, there are other people of color who participate on this forum. I believe Darkrose and Anton Mates are.

  • P J Evans

    I don’t feel a need to go to church to find out what others believe, or how they worship. (I was raised Methodist,and we had people from outside our church come and give guest sermons. Nor were we discouraged from attending weddings, funerals, or interfaith events, because other churches and other religions aren’t contagious. Also, a third of my relatives are RC.)

  • Afisher

    I am no longer a Christian, and that was mostly a result of reading the Bible. The whole Bible. With all its encouragement of rape, genocide, etc. No Christians i asked were able or willing to give me any justification for things that were pretty unjustifiable.

    And so I determined that Jehovah is not my god.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Please, just take the time to explain exactly how the whiteness of the actors, on a discussion about the legitmacy of violence in the OT, would be different, if any of the actors weren’t white? Based upon race, what would that conversation look like, and why?

    Well, if we were talking about black evangelical Christians, the conversation would have a hell of a lot more reference to historical incidence of using OT instructions on how to treat slaves as a manual for how white slaveholders ought to treat their black slaves. There aren’t any black evangelicals stupid enough to start that conversation, which is why we’re not talking about them.

  • Cillendor

    “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

    Of course, that isn’t actually true because it’s in the Bible. Anything that POS says must be a lie, or else our interpretation of it is hopelessly skewed by white, male fundies.—says every patheos writer that I’ve had the misfortune of reading.

    The reason CT took such a strong stance over this is because there is a correct way to interpret Scripture, and Seibert is way off the mark here. There are some doctrines that are less clear, such as the structure of church leadership or when someone should be baptized, but the doctrines surrounding the holiness of Father, Son, and Spirit and the perfection of Scripture are non-negotiable. Any failure to understand a problematic portion of the Bible is a failure on the part of the reader, not God or the Bible.

  • AnonymousSam

    If the scripture is perfect, why does it contradict itself?


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