aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Generational cleavage (!) among evangelicals
Go to minute 36:45, where homosexuality comes up, and stay tuned for a striking contrast between Colson and the younger men.
Colson answers a question about homosexuality with a doctrinaire natural-law exegisis of Paul. The younger men warn against Colson’s hard-edged judgmentalism. Boyd agrees that homosexuality is wrong but can’t understand why evangelicals pick on this one moral failing as a “deal breaker” while downplaying so many sins of their own (divorce, e.g.). He argues that evangelicals’ reputation for “homophobia” (his word) is well earned and that Jesus ministered to prostitutes, rather than trying to pass laws against them. (Subtext here: the tension between the churches of Paul and Jesus.) Claiborne asks what sort of place the Church has become if it can’t minister lovingly to a young gay man who feels like he is one of “God’s mistakes” and wants to kill himself. “If that ‘mistake’ can’t find a home in the church, who have we become?” He goes on to condemn the “meanness” of evangelical political style and speaks intriguingly of “post-Religious Right America.”
I’ve yet to listen but I promise I will. Rauch sees it as evidence “that homosexuality has become a major point of generational cleavage among evangelicals.” I’m right there with you Jonathan—on the gay point. But I think that gay cleavage comes at the same time we’re seeing a depoliticization of evangelicals.
Evidence for that depoliticization comes from a speech Laurie Goodstein gave at Princeton back in October 2006, Backlash: Are Evangelicals Disillusioned with Politics? (podcast here) and, more recently, from Frank Schaeffer, author of the memoir, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back” in his talk Crossroads of Religion and Politics (podcast here), and a myriad of other examples.
It’s the same old story: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Religious Right leaders had unchecked devotion and used it to fleece their flock. Gays were an easy, vulnerable target.
If, in fact, I am correct and there is a depoliticization taking place, I am not a liberal who will celebrate it. I find that here in the south we are not as politically engaged as back home in NYC. And my bias inclines me to suspect that is because government here has not worked well for the people so we are stuck in a self-reinforcing downward spiral of bad governance.
For government to succeed—for government to be good—it needs full participation. I’m ready to engage and debate my Christian neighbors on the topic of same sex love and any other topic of their choosing. Bravo Shane Claiborne. I look forward to hearing what you had to say.
Water Body @ Canopy: Flying Trapeze Movement
We went to Canopy Studio last night—“a community arts center dedicated to enriching the culture of our community and the lives of individuals through aerial dance, movement education and performance arts”—to see a friend’s performance.
Last night’s piece was Water Body:
As an exploration of water, the performance represents the sublime beauty of the Earth, while also exploring the shadow side of ourselves that pollutes and decimates the world around us. Dancers move through the space as if cradled, submerged, or swept away by water-illusions enhanced by video projections depicting water in its many forms. Harnessing the emotional power water carries, the show ultimately honors the balance water represents: strong enough to destroy everything we know, it also gives us life.
Speaking of water, we’ve had a wet spring in these parts, but we’re still in a drought. Here’s current conditions via the U.S. Drought Monitor.