Friday, February 08, 2008

God Moves to the Left

Great piece by our friend Giles Fraser in The Guardian today -- reflecting on his pilgrimage to the U.S. last fall, which included a stop-and-stay here in Los Angeles.

Here's the introduction to "GOD MOVES TO THE LEFT":

America's evangelical Christians are anti-gay, pro-gun, keen on capital punishment and obsessed with lower taxes. And, of course, they all vote Republican. At least, that's what vicar Giles Fraser thought -- until he went to meet them.

You really must read it all here ... but in case you're rushed for time and need to bookmark it for later, here's the conclusion:

For two months I travelled the US on my mini-pilgrimage, preaching in churches, staying with friendly church leaders and listening to the views of ordinary Christians in the pew. A lot has been said about those US Christians who are to the right of Attila the Hun and who believe multiple crazy things about the world and the world to come. We are rightly anxious about the degree of political influence these people have come to exert. But they are actually in the minority.

We don't hear about the progressive side to US religion because it doesn't fit the stereotype. These Christians are passionately concerned with issues of poverty and social justice, they run soup kitchens, give generous proportions of their income to good causes, have taskforces to reduce their carbon footprint, go on demonstrations against the war, and speak out against the use of torture. God bless America.

Indeed! And God bless Giles Fraser ... and God bless the commitment to proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ Jesus that shatters stereotypes and brings us an inch closer to that Garden of Eden growing green again!



Jim Costich said...

Okay, I'm lost. Evangelical, Pentacostal, Fundamentalist, Non-denominational Christians make up 25% of Christianity in the United States. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest body of Christians after that. What did he encounter when visiting them?

Progressive Christians are not in the majority in the United States. I'm glad he found Progessive Christians and Christianity for be wonderful. I'm an Episcopalian from a very progressive diocese and I think progressives are great too. There are Progressive UCC, Metropolitan Community Churches, every Episcopal church in my area, American Baptists, Presbyterians, it's a great list in my area! But even here we're not the majority, and when people think of "THE CHURCH" they think of Roman Catholocism (Gay hating) or Evangelical/Fundamentalist (Gay hating).

I live in New York - not very close to L.A. but heaven knows the Mega churches in CA are 100 times the size of the ones here. The average Episcopal church has a couple hundren members. The average Evangelical church has thousands.

Please clarify.

Jim C.

bob said...

Oh, this is Giles. The fellow who penned the genuinely moronic piece about Christians and *Plato*? Is this what Anglican "scholarship" has descended to? Is this the organization that once produced people like C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, Derwas Chitty, Gregory Dix? Uh...Now it's Rowan, Giles, Schori.
This is at least one reason it's so hard to reason with Anglicans. They have no one who is learned, no one who is reasonable. There is no *there* there.