Richard Mouw, Timothy Dalrymple, Same Sex Marriage, and the Common Good

It seems that I disagree with Tim Dalrymple on lots and lots of stuff. Nevertheless, it’s been interesting watching him publicly wrestle with the question of whether his evangelical abhorrence of gay sex should be codified in anti-same-sex-marriage laws. First, he asked, Is it time for evangelicals to stop opposing gay marriage?

the question at hand is not whether we should abandon the historical Christian teaching on marriage.  The question is whether we should contend for laws and regulations that give this vision of marriage the sanction of government.  And to make one more distinction: the question is not whether Christians have the right to promote their views, just like everyone else does, and to support or oppose laws on any grounds they wish, including religious grounds.  There’s nothing categorically wrong with supporting laws and politicians who recognize and affirm what marriage actually is, even if your view of marriage is religiously informed.  The question, rather, is whether it is still wise to press for American law to recognize only heterosexual unions.

There are about a million and one caveats in that post. Tim knew he was going to be hammered by his fellow evangelicals. He furthered his questions and clarification in a second post, Ten things I believe about evanvelicals and same-sex marriage:

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Best Advent Hymns

In seminary, I took a class from then-provost-now-president Richard Mouw. He began every class with a meditation on and then singing of a hymn, which he prefaced with the statement that much of the best theology of the history of the church is archived in our hymnody. (I could add that some of the church’s worst theology is also catalogued there.)

Sure, “A Mighty Fortress” is good, if you’re into that kind of thing. And there’s a plethora of Easter hymns that joyously proclaim resurrection. But I’ve always thought that the hymns of Advent are the most theologically articulate and nuanced in the corpus of hymnody.

That was reaffirmed to me last night when, breaking from the tradition of not singing cover songs, we at Solomon’s Porch sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” in which we find this beautiful verse:

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What Seminary Education Ought To Be – A Student’s View [VIDEO]

Tony Jones and Brian McLaren Teach in the BWCAW from tony jones on Vimeo.

Tony Jones and Brian McLaren teach the doctrine of creation to a Doctor of Ministry cohort from Fuller Theological Seminary in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.

Carl Anderson is a Presbyterian pastor in Nebraska, and he’s also in the D.Min. cohort that I lead. He wrote the post below — unsolicited by me — and asked me to post it here. So I am. Enjoy.

Paradigm shift. There isnʼt another accurate description. Things are now different.

One year ago, our cohort in Christian Spirituality through Fuller Theological Seminary gathered in Pasadena to begin our journey in studying Christian Spirituality. We spent half of the week in a classroom on Fullerʼs campus and the remainder in a classroom in a monastery. But somehow, Year 2 dominated the questions and fears. “Are we really going to be camping? Outside?” “I donʼt like bugs. Or physical activity.” We were assured everything would be worth it. And so we left Year 1 with excitement and a little anxiety.

The online conversations over the past year tended to drift into the canoeing and camping. Each time, Tony assured us that the Boundary Waters would be challenging, but doable. And so, BWX provided packing lists and we dutifully prepared ourselves.

One by one, we arrived in the Twin Cities. The early folks got together at Tony and Courtneyʼs house, getting to meet Tonyʼs kids. We met the rest of our cohort at Solomonʼs Porch that night before finally being able to sit down and catch up as a cohort at the exquisite Pizzeria Lola.

We oriented at BWX the next day and it was time for the water; we set off in our canoes. Paddling, portaging, making and breaking camp, these were more than just our activities in the Boundary Waters. They became the means of prayer, the foundation of community, and declaration of solidarity. We connected with each other and creation in ways only made possible through this shared experience.

The intensity of our class time around the campfires and under the tarps was magnified as pretense was stripped away. We wrestled with the implications of Moltmannʼs theology of Creation. Tony pressed us, again and again, with the question, “Should pilgrimage to creation/nature be a requirement of Christian discipleship?”

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What Seminary Education Ought To Be [Part Five]

This = class break. (Photo by Courtney Perry)

Finally, this: where one studies should be consonant with what one studies.

Last week, we were studying the doctrine of creation and its relationship to Christian spirituality. It seemed to me downright silly to study the doctrine of creation where I did, in a classroom.

I get that there’s a certain efficiency to gathering hundreds of students on a campus and having a centralized factory of learning. It’s got a bit of Henry Ford to it. And maybe the type of theological education that I’m proposing is eminently impractical — maybe it would be way too expensive.

But it seems to me that with the innovations in technology and transportation of the last hundred years, there are all sorts of possibilities for studying theology, the Bible, church history, and ministry leadership in spots that fit hand-in-glove with the subject matter.

I took a chance in nature, challenging the students to live for four days in the most primitive wilderness in the continental U.S. They bested that challenge easily. That success has only put wind in my sails for

Where would you like to study theology?

Part OnePart TwoPart Three | Part Four | Part Five