I am an Anglo male afloat in the fog-covered ocean of middle age. I am a Jesus Freak. I am a skeptic. I am a writer — have won some awards and also have been called a “Satanist” or “Cult apologist” or “Socialist / Marxist” by those who didn’t like what I wrote. I am a communard (more on that momentarily). I am a political liberal who often veers left of liberal though occasionally can veer right as well. I am an activist. I am a husband and father and grand father. I have the spiritual gift of being annoying.
Blue Christian – This blog.
First, let it be said — *nothing* on this blog represents anyone’s opinion but my own. I am a member of an intentional community, Jesus People USA, but don’t speak for them. I did once edit the community-supported magazine, Cornerstone, as well as wrote for it between 1977 – 2003 (as editor-in-Chief, I presided over the melancholy task of shutting it down). I also have a book of poetry, Trees, Roots, and Growing Things, now out of print, which I hope to soon make available here for people who enjoy romance and God with a little spice tossed in. Mike Hertenstein and I co-researched and wrote a book, Selling Satan: Mike Warnke and the Evangelical Media, which caused a ruckus but didn’t seem to change things much.
A final note: the original Blue Christian blog — http://bluechristian.blogspot.com — contains older writings of mine but is no longer active (I leave it there for archival purposes). I wrote a whole lot about my Jesus Freak support of Barack Obama, among other things. And of Jesus Rock music and feminism… some of the same things you’ll find here.
Writers write. That’s the most obvious reason. Every human being, whether it is true or not, believes he or she has something unique to add to the overall human conversation. That is certainly a (mis)belief I share.
What have I to add? On many things, just one more voice.
I am a Christian feminist — which to me means women’s place is wherever their gifts and callings lead them. A woman might find a calling as a house wife, a Senior Pastor, or both, or neither. Likewise, as a Christian feminist, I believe marriage is to be a community of three — woman and man bound together by the Holy Spirit in and through them. There is no “leader dog,” no “boss.” Scripturally, there is only a call to outdo one another in love. And with this tiny corner of the web universe, I try to mirror such beliefs and practices.
I am Privileged, and committed to exposing Privilege. As a white male American, I automatically have racial and gender privileges which are almost impossible for me to acknowledge, much less question. Yet question them I will. I believe hiding such privilege from ourselves remains one of the gravest sins facing white Evangelical Christians.
I am a believer in the Scriptures as the Word of God. That is, to put it as my denomination the Evangelical Covenant Church puts it,
“We believe the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The dynamic, transforming power of the word of God directs the church and the life of each Christian. This reliance on the Bible leads us to affirm both men and women as ordained ministers and at every level of leadership. It is the reason we pursue ethnic diversity in our church and is the inspiration for every act of compassion, mercy, and justice.”
This high view of Scripture is a conservative view in many circles, especially the circles I often travel in idea-wise. Yet it is also, as the Covenant affirmation above exhibits and many other Christians believe, a document urging social justice and change rather than a reflexive defense of the social status quo. Leading to…
I believe the Scriptures’ teachings on justice, mercy, and love have little to do with what has become known as “the Christian Right.” This aberrant movement within historic Christianity is rooted in an Anglo-centric nationalism foreign to the Scriptures. Because American Evangelicals’ pockets, and therefore voices, are well placed to make the most sound, their influence upon Christianity worldwide is amplified. The peculiar version of Right Wing politics often associated (not always fairly) with Evangelicalism has its roots in the deep American south — and slavery. History is clear on this even when many Christians are in denial over it. The Scriptures, then, call us to a quite different vision — one with the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, and Peter at the heart of it.
I believe whatever I write here is far less important than what I live. Words on paper or screen can easily become an act, an “eminence front” by those who’ve learned to play with words to create a role for themselves they like. I can only say that I will try not to be an actor, but rather someone whose words and actions match… and when they do not (as must happen sometimes) I will endeavor to be someone who will transparently admit my failure.