Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things January 29, 2013

Suem: “Evango-phobia”

Some of my best friends are evangelicals and even some of my family. As long as they keep it private and don’t go flaunting it by saying things like “Praise the Lord,” I’m just fine! I wish that they would change their ways, of course, in fact I used to be in that sort of lifestyle, I left it and so anyone can. …

… For me it’s a case of love the believer, hate their beliefs. I’m also fascinated by the way that they have their little signs to tell each other who they are, the fish symbol in the car, the use of a strange lexicon including words such as “sanctified” and “backslidden” and “convicted.” We might also think they are so full of themselves and their bloody status-among-the-elect/saved-by-grace/washed-in-the-blood/baptized-in-the-Holy-Spirit or whatever term they use to make it clear they are a better class of Christian – but in reality they also feel quite beleaguered, a persecuted minority facing prejudice and misunderstood in larger society. So, just think about what that feels like that next time you are tempted to judge! Finally, they’re not all bigots who hate women and gays, in spite of what you’ve read in the papers.

Daniel P. Horan: “When Jesus Broke the Rules”

Marginalization, discrimination, violence, hatred, and so forth, even dressed up in the sheep’s clothing of legal righteousness and religious zeal, are nevertheless indications that the priorities of God are being supplanted by the personal or collective interests of human beings. One only has to look to Jesus, the fullness of God’s self-disclosure and the very exegesis of God, to find example after example of what Divine priority really looks like.

When Jesus broke the rules, he always did so for the sake of the other and never for his own personal gain. Nothing summarizes this truth better than the crosses we affix to walls and churches and chains around our necks. God does not care about our justifications for the unjust rules that some so passionately defend. God only desires that we “Do Good‚” and “Save Life,” even if it means breaking the rules.

Rachel Held Evans: “The Scandal of the Evangelical Heart”

They said all of this without so much of a glimmer of a tear, and it scared me to death.  It nearly scared me out of the Church.

For what makes the Church any different from a cult if it demands we sacrifice our conscience in exchange for unquestioned allegiance to authority?  What sort of God would call himself love and then ask that I betray everything I know in my bones to be love in order to worship him? Did following Jesus mean becoming some shadow of myself, drained of empathy and compassion and revulsion to injustice?

Charles J. Reid Jr.: “The American Catholic Church and Roe v. Wade”

As a Catholic and a pro-lifer, I ardently hope, indeed, I pray, that the pro-life cause abandons a path that had led to 40 years of failure and chooses a new direction. For if it does not, in 10 years’ time or in 20, the pro-life movement will appear as crankish and irrelevant to American life as the Prohibition Party or the old-time Whigs.

Samara Azam-Yu: “5 Things I Learned About Abortion by Checking My Assumptions at the Door”

I grew up in a conservative area and had internalized some challenging attitudes about abortion, poverty, and the death penalty — attitudes aligned with policy that worked against my (and my family’s) interests. Still, I discovered that I was ready to drop everything for a friend who needed my help. Eventually, I learned to hold this level of compassion for complete strangers, too.

… While volunteering, I had the honor of meeting incredible, resilient women who chose to terminate their pregnancies. The most striking part of this experience was when I realized that despite how seemingly different each woman is, we are also all deeply connected by the human experience, and that I needed to check my assumptions at the door.


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