Tony Jones, former figurehead of the Uppity-Middle-White-Class-Spoiled-Rotten-Brat Association Emergent Village has a recent post about the Episcopal church declaring that all members can be ordained pastors regardless of sexual orientation. What struck me was the last paragraph of his post:
But I implore them to look beyond the gay issue. The bigger issue is that they employ amedieval form of church polity strange hybrid of medieval (bishops, dioceses, sextons) and modern (legislation, amendments, committees) polities, which will inevitably fail in this postmodern, wiki-world.
What I find so interesting is that he believes the greatest issue isn’t the homosexual one, but rather that the church government isn’t modernized. Is he being serious?
I certainly hope not, because that makes little to no sense. How in the world does church government trump the issue of sexual immorality? There’s simply no escaping the fact that the Bible is very clear on homosexuality; it is a sin to participate in the act of homosexuality. So church government aside, the bigger issue would seemingly be the one that deals with sexual immorality.
But of course Tony just can’t leave it at, “We disagree on this issue.” Rather, he has to compare all opponents to homosexual marriage to Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Pastor, infamous for protesting at funerals with his “God hates fags” signs). Tony says:
So Evangelicals have turned their gaze on a new shibboleth — gay marriage — and the correlations are clear: replace the oversized placards of aborted fetuses with Westboro Baptist’s “God Hates Fags” signs at military funerals; swap out Operation Rescue for the National Organization for Marriage; exchange James Dobson for, um, James Dobson.
So it’s not just that we strongly disagree with Tony on what is and isn’t important, it’s also that we’re hate mongers who have no compassion for homosexuals, don’t understand their struggle, and believe God hates them. What arrogance!
As I crossed out above, Tony Jones and the majority of the emergent movement is nothing more than middle to upper class, white, spoiled rotten brats who have “daddy” issues with the traditional church, but are completely unwilling to actually come to grips with those issues. “My pseudo-conservative church hurt my feelings.” Tough, get over it. It’s hard to find one person who has attended church for 4+ years who hasn’t been hurt in some way. Come to think of it, it’s hard to find person who has been involved in any voluntary social arrangement for 4+ years who hasn’t been hurt in some way.
For a movement that prides itself on being inclusive and diverse, there sure is a shortage of “minorities” (I put this in quotes because “minorities” aren’t really in the minority, but I guess it’s the politically correct way to refer to “non-white” people), lower class, and more conservative minded folks.
In the past three years I’ve attended about three conservative churches (not church hopping, but in different locals for when I travel between here and home). I’ve been to more emergent events than conservative churches in those past three years. To date, I’ve seen one “minority” at an emergent event (two if you count those of a Hebrew background…but that’s not really fair since I would be that second person). All of the people there are from the same sub-culture; white middle-class. I’m sure there are exceptions, but the overall composition looks like it snowed on the emergent movement. Alternatively, the conservative churches I’ve attended have been fairly diverse, both in economic class and racial class. Why is this?
Conservatism within Christianity is economically and racially more inclusive than the emergent movement because conservative thinking is based on virtues, which appeals to the image of God that is within all humans. Tony Jones doesn’t believe in original sin and subsequently denies a human sin nature, which generally leads to accepting sinful behavior as normal (“oh, that person is just misunderstood”). Virtue ethics, though not always followed, are close to the core of conservative thinking. This appeals to most humans because most humans understand that (1) humans are prone to be selfish, which is evil, (2) there must be a solution to our problems, and (3) that solution must come from God.
The emergent movement, however, would rather accommodate such sins rather than condemn them. The Bible speaks out against homosexuality far more than it does promiscuity, yet almost all of the emergent voices say that homosexual relationships are okay so long as they are monogamous. Such cherry picking doesn’t sit well in most cultures (it does in the spoiled rotten brat class though, because they’re self-centered to begin with, thus all vices are virtues). A question I’ve asked time and time again and have yet to receive an answer to; why is it wrong if someone wants to have multiple partners? Why do most emergents draw the sexual line here, but not prior to this? What if it doesn’t bother the multiple people involved (and who cares if it does)? What if all people involved are safe so as to not transmit disease? This removes the pragmatic objections, so why is it wrong to have multiple partners?
They may never provide a rational response to it, but the answer to why it’s wrong is because it is against God’s designed plan for how a family should function. Sex is extremely wonderful, but it is not an ends unto itself. It is to operate within a marriage system in order to produce a close bond between husband and wife and to produce a family.
It’s not that we hate “fags,” or that we want to see all homosexuals thrown into some prison. Those who say such things may be conservative, but they’re certainly not orthodox. They might understand what is right and wrong concerning sexuality, but they are misguided on the value of the image of God. Rather, true orthodoxy teaches that homosexuality is a sin, but no worse than any other sexual sin. It teaches that if someone struggles with homosexuality, then so be it. It’s a sin, an addictive sin, so that person is going to struggle. What of it? God is graceful and we too should be graceful. He tolerates us in our struggles so we should tolerate others in theirs.
Just because we disagree with a lifestyle choice doesn’t mean we hate the person (contrary to what Tony believes). In the end, true orthodoxy has never changed (contrary to what pseudo-historian Phyllis Tickle believes) throughout the centuries. The accidents (side doctrines) of Christianity have changed or have endured multiple disagreements, leading to multiple denominations. But the essence of Christianity, what it means to be orthodox, has never changed. I can speak with a conservative orthodox Roman Catholic, a conservative Orthodox Catholic, a conservative orthodox Methodist, or any other combination of “conservative orthodox Christian,” and find agreement on the key issues of Christianity.
That is why Christianity has endured. That is why orthodoxy remains while Gnosticism, Arianism, German higher criticism, and liberalism have passed by. That is why Christians from all denominational backgrounds can stand in solidarity on the key issues against the heretics of the past, present, and future. And that is why in one hundred years, the emergent movement will only be studied in history books and by conservative theologians learning about ancient heresies.