Sunday, November 18, 2012

Progressive Christians Enter the Age of Relevancy

It's been a sobering few decades for Christians who work alongside the poor, claim their feminism, respect scientific discovery, care for the earth, and yearn for marriage equality. We felt like the voice of Christianity had been captured by some strange ventriloquist, and it was proclaiming things that often contradicted our faith. We became frustrated with our own irrelevance, as our speech in the public square seemed to be on permanent mute.
And yet, we worked alongside the poor, remembering Mary, the mother of Jesus, a single woman expecting a child. Mary magnificently proclaimed that God had exalted the humble, filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich empty away.
But in the midst of this exaltation, we heard another voice. It was the Heritage Foundation telling us that marriage was the best antidote to child poverty.
It made many Christian stomachs turn as we interpreted the news, "You're poor? Your children are going hungry? Then find a husband, and everything will be just fine. You don't need to fight for nutritious lunches, after-school care and medical insurance, you just need a man."
We claimed our feminism, as we studied, heeding the voices of women in our pulpits. Clergy found great hope in academic theology, which uplifts the liberating notion that "in Jesus Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free." We have drawn comfort in the fact thatJesus did not scorn the woman with the issue blood, but healed her. We realize that our faith calls us to care about women's health and beckons us to demand an end to violence against women.
We shudder as we hear leaders of the Religious Right talk about "legitimate rape" and fight against birth control being a part of a health planReligious Right leaders maligned Sandra Fluke who pleaded on behalf of those who needed birth control pills for medical reasons.

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