2013 Theoblogy Predictions [VIDEO]

For the past several years, I’ve appeared on Doug Pagitt Radio to make my annual predictions for the upcoming year in religion. You can judge my prognostication abilities for yourself:

2012 Predictions

2011 Predictions

2010 Predictions 

Looking back, it seems that I’m batting about .500. Not bad (for a baseball player).

So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the Year in Religion 2013:

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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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Evangelical Colleges and Their Gay Students

In my neck-o-the-woods, Bethel University‘s provost recently held an open conversation with gay students and allies, where they were able to talk openly about their experiences at a college that officially discriminates against them.

At one of my alma maters, Fuller Theological Seminary, a campus-wide conversation about sexuality was recently held. Heteronormativity was ultimately upheld at each of these institutions, but here’s what I think: As soon as you give LGBT persons a voice, they are humanized. And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before discriminatory policies begin to collapse.

At HuffPo, Ron Davis writes about a similar debate being held at his alma mater, George Fox University:

Like many evangelical colleges, the school requires students and staff to sign a lifestyle agreement which, among other things, requires them to refrain from nonmarital sexual activity and proscribes homosexual relationships. A group of LGBTQ and allied alumni called OneGeorgeFox presented the administration with an open letter. The letter challenges the University’s policy, and disputes LGBTQ stereotypes, invoking gay student’s desire to have families and demanding their Christian community’s support.

The University responded to the letter with characteristic civility, affirming everyone’s dignity, and acknowledging the need for improved communication, but ultimately reiterating its heteronormative theological position. Less characteristically, the administration has told its faculty that, although they can facilitate discussions among students, signing the letter or otherwise publicly advocating for a position at odds with the University’s policy violates their employment contracts.

Consequently, a passionate, ideologically diverse faculty’s signatures are notably absent. This is egregious. Universities exist, in large part, to encourage truth-seeking, and the faculty form the backbone of this pursuit. That a Quaker university could display such gross epistemic hubris strongly suggests the administration has lost sight of these guiding principles. (Read the rest: Ron Davis: Evangelical Universities, Gay Students and Faculty Freedom.)

I am an adjunct professor at Fuller, and I can say that, to Fuller’s credit (most notably, Kurt Frederickson‘s and Rich Mouw‘s credit), they have never attempted to silence me. They have simply asked that while I’m teaching a Fuller class, I respect their Statement of Community Standards. That seems completely reasonable, and I happy to comply with that request.


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