If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the evaporation of mainline Protestantism, it’s that theological identity provides the basis of confessional discipleship and spiritual fellowship. The churches in the early twentieth century that tried to hollow out their confessions to “make room” for fundamentally opposing notions of God and man are the same churches now being turned into museums. You can grow businesses and political programs with pragmatism, but you cannot grow a church.
By choosing clarity over obfuscation and identity over politics, InterVarsity is refusing to profit from confusion. It would be easy for a campus ministry group to wink and nod toward their evangelical ancestors, pointing to a doctrinal statement that doesn’t exactly say the right things but doesn’t contradict them either, while buying political protection and cultural shelter through equivocation and virtue signaling. That would be easy, and from a PR standpoint, that would be wise. But it wouldn’t be evangelical, and it wouldn’t be ministry.
(Samuel D. James, The Courage of InterVarsity)
This week, a public protest letter from “concerned ICVF alumni” was posted on Change.org and addressed to Tom Lin and IVCF’s board of trustees. Similar to the authors’ letter, this petition stated that signers “hold a range of beliefs with regard to marriage and human sexuality.” The petition, in part, states:
The new policy, which excludes many Christian siblings and silences sincere disagreement, contradicts InterVarsity’s values of authentic community, loving-kindness, intellectual rigor, and abundant grace. If not changed, we fear for the future of the organization and its ability to continue to minister to students and faculty, to the ultimate detriment of the gospel message and the legacy of an organization we dearly love.
Today, the petition has reached its goal of 1,000 signatures from IVCF alumni.
In addition to these efforts, a large coalition of LGBT Christians has issued a public statement opposing the position. The Gay Christian Network, which has more than 30,000 registered members and runs the world’s largest annual gathering of LGBT Christians, sent Religion News Service a draft of a public letter stating concern that “this decision sends a clear message to LGBT students that they are not wanted in InterVarsity–and many will surmise that they are not wanted in the church, either.”
That last sniveling sentence from the Gay Christian Network is deeply dishonest — unless all LGBT students anticipate being (homo)sexually active and/or eventually entering same-sex marriages. Since IVCF opposes pre-marital sex between straight couples, too, you might as well sniff that “this decision sends a clear message to unmarried students that they are not wanted in InterVarsity–and many will surmise that they are not wanted in the church, either.”
But this is the very mildest kind of emotional manipulation and grievance mongering that anyone with IVCF’s courage and orthodoxy can expect. This one earns the “duly noted stay tuned” category.
Bear with me a minute. This is not a partisan political item:
There seems to be an impression out there that if you think Donald Trump would be a disastrous president, then you need to be freaked out about the Russians trying to get him elected. I don’t see why that is the case. Nor do I see why, if you think Hillary Clinton is overhyping the Russian threat, that means you should be sanguine about the fact that Donald Trump eagerly parrots the most simpleminded Russian propaganda.
It is possible to hold all of the following thoughts in one’s head at the same time: …
(Noah Millman) The insights that follow that blockquote are a welcome mixture of equal opportunity gallows humor and good sense — a welcome reprieve from Pussygate and its Evangelical apologists.
Things I think about when I’m not, oh, distinguishing locker-room talk from sociopathy: Did I develop a quirky perspective because I stopped watching much television years ago or did I stop watching much television because I had a quirky perspective?
On a loosely related note, a serendipitous Facebook find:
“Do you have any ibuprofen?”
“You should really have your doctor look at that.”
“Stupid scale. It must be broken again…”
“Sorry…I thought that was my towel.”
“Help! Muscle cramp!”
I would wager a modest sum that come, oh, 2019, when Hillary has been in office for 3 years or so and the verdict of many is that she has totally and permanently ruined America, that those many will nonetheless rise and doff their hats for the national anthem at sporting events, and will bitch and moan if some black athlete doesn’t, and will be irate if schoolchildren do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily.
And they will sense neither irony nor hypocrisy in that (maybe they’ll say they’re hymning or pledging fealty to the Real America), for they don’t really mean that she will ruin America, but that she will pursue policies they (and I) strongly disapprove and that will be quite punitive toward us.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)