Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I GROW TIRED OF YOUR TALK BLAH BLAH BLAH


i have to admit that i am growing weary of both conservative fundies AND liberal fundies. you can have your arguments and rants. no one is going to win so QUIT TRYING!! i'm gonna stick to the daily office, loving my neighbor without litmus tests, prayer and contemplation. the blog grows tiresome and boring. it's all a game of rhetoric and arm wrestling.... it's all starting to sound like blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....

goodnight folks.

36 comments:

gavin richardson said...

i'm with you bro

Mike said...

I have to say, I wish I could say that was a discipline in my life. Our bishop is making all elders give a weekly calender based on Para. 340 in the Book of Discipline, focusing on our daily habits, work schedules, visiting, working in the community and daily prayer/devotion/Bible study. If you could only hear the grumbling...

St.Phransus said...

who is your bishop mike?

gavin richardson said...

willimon is mikes bishop, he's down in b'ham area.

Ciona said...

Jonathan,

Amen, amen.

Joel Thomas said...

Of course, then there's that danger of too easily classifying anyone who disagrees with you as either a conservative fundy or a liberal fundy.

Mike said...

Or a ain't no "fun"dy. Sorry, I had to...

St.Phransus said...

no not really joel. disagreements i can handle. i don't get too bent out of shape by diversity of opinions. its exactly why i AM a united methodist. john wesley talked of the methodists as the "middle way" which is very anglican. it means that our ecclessiology is BIG enough for a diversity of thoughts and we're actually somewhat flexible to allow for conversation. which is exactly why we aren't creedal (referencing our discussion at john's blog)

however the voice of the middle way is being hijacked by fundamentalism of the right and left.

the right? a doctrinal, rigid pharisaical faith filled with propositions, divorced of most if not all spiritual formation and the idea of faith as a process of nurture. obviously the right for the most part has been the "chaplain" for the republican party and the BIG mistake made is that it has actually allowed the Republican party to become its "chaplain"

the left? in an effort in the 19th and 20th century liberal Christianity took a different route- and that was to look for those universal principles that define most of the world's religions and see what they have in common with Christianity. From there we tried to reduce Christianity into a faith that is universal with just a few principles- mainly- love god and love neighbor. Within liberal Christianity we allowed room for all the sciences to inform how we approach our faith. in the midst of that liberal christianity allowed the ideologies to inform issues and faith rather the narratives of our tradition.

you see joel, both sides claim a faith that is universal- conservatives witha propositional understanding of scripture and liberals rooted not in the narratives of scripture to inform the way of life but ideology from culture to inform how we look at scripture.

i come from a blended family who is trying something else- to allow the narrative of scripture (scripture looked at holistically) to shape and inform the "way of life" for me and the christian community. not a set of propositions that if i dont adhere to, i'm not welcome; and not allowing the ideology of culture and politics to inform how i think.

i know this is long and rambling, but i wanted to give you a framework out if which i'm working. please continue the conversation if you disagree or if you feel the need to.

shalom,
jonathon

Zoomdaddy said...

but it's so much fun being a fundy, you get into all the great parties, you're always hip to the latest news of the day....

St.Phransus said...

true dat

gavin richardson said...

however the voice of the middle way is being hijacked by fundamentalism of the right and left.

amen brother!

Tahoma Activist said...

What exactly is the fundamentalism of the Left? As a proud advocate of left-leaning policy, I'd love to know what it is you find objectionable about the left, and how we can fix your perceptions of us. Of course, I don't speak for the Democratic Party, or the Green Party, or the Revolutionary Communist Party (whose numbers are incredibly tiny, by the way), but I see all of us as being part of the opposition to these presently heinous, destructive policies. Do you disagree?

St.Phransus said...

Within the church, fundamentalism of the left has traded the "story and way of life" of our unique and peculiar tradition for a more pluralistic, universal understanding of faith- ie all faiths are equal and right, the bible's teachings are are good guidelines that all good people can follow.

Liberal fundamentalism, like conservative fundamentalism is very individualistic- instead of holding to a very rigid and tight view of scripture that becomes doctrinal, it holds to a very open view of scripture.

The problem that I see is that the two are both sides of the same coin. We need to go into our pockets and pull out a different coin. Fundamentalism does not work.

Thunder Jones said...

Glad to see the knowing nod to Anglicanism's via media.

St.Phransus said...

ahh yes. you know it, tj!!

Eric Lee said...

Jonathan,

I'm with you, bro.

Was there a discussion on this blog that spurred this post, or on another one?

I used to get into that nonsense myself, which is why since January my blog (as well as my commenting activity) has taken a completely different direction, and for the better, I hope.

Peace,

Eric

St.Phransus said...

tahoma activist,
let me suggest that there is indeed an alternative to the fundamentalisms of the rigt and left.

option is the idea of the alternative community, via Augustinianism mixed with a little anabaptist theology.

the idea is that christians are a distinct and peculiar community of people who follow the way of Jesus, not the ideologies of American politics, not the ideologies of the world. we let the traditions of the church and the narrative of God and Israel and Jesus shape who we are.

However, this community is not shaped by a propositional rigid Christian worldview. It shaped by the holistic story of God, Israel and Jesus. We as a church in effect continually strive to "re-live" the stories of our faith tradition in a truthful manner.

This way of living is a politic- not of the right nor left- but an alternative politic called Church. We are prophetic when it comes to the right and left and not to be hijacked by the language of ideolology. We have our own language- its called liturgy.

St.Phransus said...

eric,
it's really been all over the map from united methodist bloggers.

Joel Thomas said...

Jonathon,

My point was that I consider myself moderate because I hold to traditional views of the atonement, miracles, etc. and oppose abortion while supporting the full inclusion of gays in the entire life of the church from clergy to lay. However, people such as Shane have classified me as a heretic. John of Locusts and Honey has stated that my views should be left in the trashbin. Then my own rhetoric rises to match it and suddenly I'm the bad guy on Shane's blog. That makes me feel used because I once lent modest financial support to his blog and exchanged some e-mails with him. I feel that he accuses me of doing things he does himself. It's not a big deal to remove oneself from another's blog but I don't appreciate Shane's double standard.

St.Phransus said...

"My point was that I consider myself moderate because I hold to traditional views of the atonement, miracles, etc. and oppose abortion while supporting the full inclusion of gays in the entire life of the church from clergy to lay."

Our values run parallel with one another. I understand where you are coming from. I often feel beat up by Shane's readership and ofen have to take a step back. And just like on John's blog- yesterday I got a little fired up and said some things to john that I wish I hadn't. I've often said that these days are exciting when I meet baptists and church of christ and episcopals who can all have a meaningful discussion because there is a convergense going on where liberal and conservative is becoming irrelevant and the discussion rooted in friendship and understanding is happening (even in the midst of doctrinal difference).

but it is quite frustrating when it is not happening in our own family and we have so much bickering.

if you ever need an ear and want to talk email me or im me:
stphransus@hotmail.com; stphransus30

shalom,
jonathon

Shane Raynor said...

Okay guys. I generally don't try to defend myself against every charge that people make against me, but Joel, exactly when have I specifically called you a heretic (or an extortionist as you mentioned on my blog?)

I am generally evangelical, but if anyone thinks I fit the mold of a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, they're mistaken. I like to think that I'm very mainstream as far as Christians go.

I have a very high view of scripture but that doesn't make me fundamentalist, at least the way I define it. Maybe in one sense but not the modern perception of it.

And Joel, I appreciated your support and have told you so several times.

St.Phransus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
St.Phransus said...

shane, i'm not saying i feel beat up by you. there's just always a few folks that i seem to press buttons with and sets them off, and then my superman underoos get all in a whad... and then i step back and say, wow, that was way more heated than it should have been. please don't take offense my friend. you're role in all this is rather amusing to me- the moderate pied piper who has merrily cultivated the voice for conservatism.

it's pretty sweet if you ask me. anywho....

St.Phransus said...

joel,
i cannot speak of whether or not shane called you a heretic or not, but i have always found HIS POSTS to be balanced and thought provoking. yes, he speaks his mind but he does always allow for other voices to be heard and i've always found him to be sincere and genuine. that's my take at least.

now sometimes the comment threads get pretty unruly, which is where i sometimes get frustrated at the lack of respect but sometimes i just laugh and get buck wild back at them. so pooey on me for stooping down to that level. at least in this case i am "a repentent sinner".

Joel Thomas said...

Shane,

Have you directly called me a heretic? No. You simply label several of my views as heretical (such as a more universal view of salvation and my view that homosexual relations are not per se sin) and then state that what the church needs in more heresy trials. Have you personally named me an extortionist? No. You simply accused those who supported the Taco Bell boycott of extortion, knowing that I was promoting the boycott.

And the fact remains that you did accuse me of not being appreciative of your blogging efforts. Why would I have given you PayPal donations if I didn't appreciate your blog? If it is really important for me to go back and find your comment, I will, but the only workable solution is for me to just read your blog and not leave comments.

John Wilks said...

Thank you Johnathon for providing a space for a less combative air.

Even though I make frequent comments on other blogs about hot button stuff, I try not to blog about it on mine because of the boiling anger which fills the comment threads. For the most part, I just stick to devotional writing (those sometimes with hot-botton implications) becuase, well, it is safer. It ain't very sexy and won't get me much traffic, but so what.

You know, I am slowly trying to learn the value of keeping dialog and debates focused on ideas. That means discussing what people actually say and the logic of their position rather than just reacting to how their opinion or even their personality makes me feel.

And I hope I am learning (too slowly I fear) to state things with clarity but without anger.

In doctrinal warfare, we must learn to love our brothers and sister and to love our enemies- and to recognize that our enemies are our brothers and sisters.

That means even when we find someone to be dead wrong and even if we think their ideas are toxic to the Gospel, we must find a way to value the person and try and see why the think what they think.

But it is far easier to take things personally and even easier to make things personal by the tone we employ.

And I am the worst about making jokes or usuing satire in a way that seems innocent to me but pushes someone else's buttons.

All this is a long way to say that we may never get to agrement and we may in fact face a split- but niether of those possibilties, should they both be true, excuses us for being unloving.

So let me begin what I hope to be a long string of appolgies.

Joel, if you have felt unloved due to my comments, please know that such is not my intent and I am sorry for any pain caused. I disagree with you passionatly and that may never change, but I do not hate you nor do I wish to wound your soul.

St.Phransus said...

joel,
although i really respect your opinions i desire to keep this blog a safe forum for people to discuss their views. you may need to discuss further views via email.

jonathon

Thunder Jones said...

Just out of curiousity, where are the two of you from and where were you trained?

Joel Thomas said...

Jonathon,

I will withdraw from your blog, too. If you feel threatened by my comments, this is not the place for me to be.

I find the idea that I have made your blog somehow unsafe to be very insulting and degrading.

St.Phransus said...

joel, you haven't made the blog unsafe, it just seemed that the conversation was getting a little personal and i thought i'd give you the opportunity to continue it with shane via email.

your comments are not threatening and your opinions and ideas are always welcome. you will not be called a heretic here, and if anyone does so on my blog i'll call them to the carpet, but i'll also call people out if there is something personal going on too.

i hope this speaks to your concerns joel and that you'll continue visiting, but if you feel that you cannot then i understand, too.

shalom,
jonathon

Joel Thomas said...

Jonathon,

OK. I'm a little testy, mostly about the Judicial Council decision on church membership. If you had just written "this sounds more like a personal matter that should be handled via e-mail" maybe I wouldn't have gotten so bent out of shape.

I enjoy reading your blog. I shouldn't have used your blog to air my gripe about another blogger. Sorry.

John said...

So much is a matter of perspective. My mentor, for example, considers me a liberal because I think that homosexuality is worthy of debate and discussion. To him, it is completely beyond the pale to even consider the subject.

Now, onto the 'distict community'. This thesis has been written at length in Resident Aliens by Hauerwas and Willamon. The authors need to be a wee bit more humble about what can be accomplished by such a distinct community. It is one thing to say "We should be a separate community with alien values" and quite another to live it. For example, at the end of chapter 2, a student confronts him with a difficult situation. Should the US bomb Libya or not? Ultimately, he dodges the question. Willamon's ideal community can only exist so as long as other people are doing the dirty work of civilization -- addressing the questions that he does not wish to deal with. If he is in the War Room with President Reagan at the time, he can offer no counsel.

So it is rather appropriate that their model of the ideal Christian is a retarded person (beginning of ch. 5). This is a person who has to be taken care of by others. In the same manner, this idealistic community that they envision (but do not personally live, I hasten to add) cannot be self-sustaining. It requires other, non-Christians to protect it from the wicked forces of the world. Or as it has been said, "Good men sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

So the hatred and contempt that is virtually dripping from the book -- directed at the modern Church -- is rather unkind. And inappropriate. The authors have reached the conclusion that the true Christian message has been lost from the age of Constantine until the publication of Resident Aliens. I, for one, have lived and experienced enough of the world not be fall in love with every new idea to come down the pike.

The older people in my church are part of the Constantinian problem that the authors see in the Church. They are institutional Christians who have not grappled with the theological Flavor-of-the-Month. They have grown up in a culture which endorsed Churchianity. They are flawed.

But from these old men and women of the Establishment Christianity that Willamon and Hauerwas despise so much, I have found much wisdom. I am fond of sitting at the feet of my lay elders to listen to them.

Radical Orthodoxy. Emergent. Postmodernism. Neo-Orthodoxy.

As the proverb says, "The dog barks, the parade moves on." Ideas will come and go.

So, unlike Hauerwas and Willamon, I will have a more, dare I say, generous orthodoxy with the Establishment church. There's a reason why it's withstood the test of time.

St.Phransus said...

withstood the test of time john? the established church you speak of is 300 out of the 2000 year history of the church and it is crumbling under the postmodern condition. that's not a long run when put into perspective.

the modern church is not bad and is not history- you're right. but everyday it becomes a little bit more obsolete.

you speak of the older members of your congregation, but guess what, in 50 years the postmoderns will be the older generation and i assume that the church will look very different. i disagree with you- hauerwas and willimon have much to say to us about where we are and where we are going. they don't live out that ideal because that ideal is not being played out in community in many places, yet. i imagine that over the next 10 years the postliberal, the emergent, the radical orthodox thoughts and movements will become more and more prevelant.

anyways, for them its not about being right- its about simply being the church.

thanks for the thoughts,
jonathon

St.Phransus said...

john,
i do agree with you that a much of this has to do with perspective.

i am moderately liberal politically and theologically, but at trevecca nazarene university where i am attending i'm sure that i am basically a red marxist :)

Dale said...

Wow. This is some good stuff in this discussion.

You know I'm swith you Jonathan. Anytimne you wanna chat on this stuff, you know where I am.

Dale

Zoomdaddy said...

Hey everybody, just for the record, you are all heretics, and so am I. :) But seriously, no one has perfect theology. I kind of take comfort in that, because I know God will show grace even when I am tenanciously upholding something He knows is completely off base. And just like JW himself wondered about his salvation at times, I know there are times I am more Christian than others. This whole following Jesus thing is more dynamic than we often give it credit for. (And this coming from a self-described hardcore conservative Wesleyan evangelical--heck I'll even allow the term fundamentalist, derision is fun!)