ecumenical-canoe-trip_david-hayward.jpg One of the things about the way I’ve been reading blogs lately is that I often get summaries after-the-fact and reactions from others on various topics and happenings, which offers me a shortcut to catching the drift of some notable posts. And sometimes in this exchange I feel perhaps I’ve missed something important. Often I let it just slip by, but then there are times when I find my feet just instinctively digging into the sand adjacent to home plate as my eye fixes itself on the ball. This time it’s internal bickering among some who insist that any bickering on these points could not be classified as internal, because It’s fun to exclude others.

Now, According to Ron Cole, who posts on terrorism on another front…IHOP rallies troops against an emerging enemy, one of the places that people in my CLB (including yours truly) used to like to go for conferences or purchase books and tapes is actually a no-emerging zone. Mike Bickle, who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of criticism and other controversies, has made a pretty specific statement against the emerging church: “Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being allured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice. No amount of increased ministry activity can ‘balance out’ their profound spiritual compromises.” Apparently intellectual assent to dogma trumps action, so be careful about “increasing in works of compassion and justice.” You don’t want to get caught up in that stuff. Or something like that. Ron gives it a good response, but me, I’m thinking that even those folks who are steeped in the whole prophetic “thing” can be pretty myopic. Which is odd, considering how it reminds me of a certain verse in John chapter 9.

And speaking of hypocrisy — well, the concept makes a poor segue considering I won’t get back onto it for another paragraph or two. But hang in there, I’m still warming up.

So apparently there’s something called the Manhattan Declaration, which is not like the Manhattan Project (well, maybe just a little…). It basically says that the three main things that Christians should be concerned with are (1) abortion, (2) opposing gay marriage, and (3) continuing the co-mingling of the faith with American politics. Of course I’m paraphrasing somewhat here, but if my summary is correct, it would reveal the wisdom in Andrew Jones’ reason not to sign it.

My idea was that for a document subtitled “A Call of Christian Conscience,” I would have thought it might mention, oh, poverty, and, um, genocide or peacemaking, and, er, maybe… I don’t know… basic human rights, or loving God and others, or some of those sorts of ideas. But I gather these are lesser items in the Christian conscience because they’re so much more controversial and things upon which Christians will have a harder time agreeing upon than the fact that they should be picketing abortion clinics, opressing opposing homosexuality in every way they can, and voting Republican. Because clearly, those are things everyone can agree upon. You see, it’s so clear that homosexuality must be so abhorrent that to hang with people who aren’t completely sure that it’s abhorrent and would pass up the opportunity to say that it is just because their co-worker’s husband’s niece’s friend is a lesbian might tarnish our Christian witness. On the other hand, poverty, well, Jesus said we’d never solve that, so why bother trying? After all, if the poor would just have more faith, they wouldn’t be in that predicament. It’s just those liberal compassion and justice-type Christians who think they’re doing anyone any favours here. After all, dogma is the most important thing to consider.

As for this Manhattan Declaration, Al Mohler signed it while dissing John Franke over pluralism while the latter was busy affirming that “in the midst of our diversity, we must remain unified on this point–Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” which reminded me that the Manhattan Declaration signatories say that they “make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (C’mon guys, that’s John 10, just skip back a bit and read the last verse of chapter 9.)

I guess we should deduce that pro-life anti-gay Republicans are not a political group, but is somehow a faith-based group affirming that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Or maybe in this case, “Way” is code for “Republican,” while “Truth” is code for “heterosexual-only,” and “Life” is a code-word for “anti-abortion.” Perhaps I go too far. But hey, if you can’t dish out some kind of scathing attack on another Christian while signing an ecumenical statement of faith about what you agree upon, what’s Christianity coming to? I mean, really?

Maybe if our behaviour would line up a little better with our rhetoric, people wouldn’t continually lose so much respect for us in our hypocrisy.

Sorry, just felt the need to oppose something for a minute there. My apologies if I inadvertently spilled any cynicism on your keyboard.

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