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Washington Post finds nice things to say about Christians

Well, certain Christians, anyway:

Lyndsay Moseley was no longer inspired by the evangelical Christian faith of her youth. As an environmental activist, she believed that it offered little spiritual support for her work and was overly focused on opposing abortion and gay marriage.

… and, you know, sin and all that stuff.

Then the 27-year-old District resident discovered Brian D. McLaren of Laurel, one of contemporary Christianity’s hottest authors and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in upper Montgomery County.

“He always talks about the environment as a priority when he talks about the church being relevant to the world,” Moseley said. “He’s leading a [spiritual] conversation that needs to happen,” one that “I’ve been hungry for.”

This would be a conversation about the environment, or about the church being relevant in the world? Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by relevant. (”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and so on - see Romans 12).

Still, McLaren offers a view of evangelicalism seldom seen in other evangelical churches:

“When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels,” McLaren said in a recent interview.

Amen to that, brother! I can’t tell you how many sermons I’ve heard preached on that flag-draped, pro-nuclear Jesus. Why just this morning, the sermon’s focus was … no, wait. That was about the sovereignty of God. Oh well, I’m sure there was some anti-poor or pro-nuclear subtext. Happens all the time.

Then we find out that McLaren is part of the “emerging church” movement:

McLaren said the name “emerging church” came out of a 2001 discussion he had with Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, about “why the megachurches were not attracting young people.” [ed: unsupported assertion] The reasons, [ed: unnamed] experts said, were becoming evident in the 1990s: dissatisfaction with the rightward drift in evangelical politics; worship styles so contemporary and casual they had no spiritual uplift; a lack of emphasis on social justice; and a theology that some say reduced Christianity to a recipe.

This will come as news to the 16-year-old young man who gave the prayer of dedication at my church this morning.
But thank goodness McLaren’s church doesn’t suffer from being too contemporary and casual:

Volunteers stood at the door greeting young families, elderly couples, singles and teenagers with studded ears. In the lobby, coffee and bagels were available. “Make yourself a nametag,” invited a sign next to pens and labels.

The sanctuary is a huge open space with folding chairs circling a platform that serves as a pulpit. Behind that is an altar covered in purple cloth with a two-foot-high wooden cross. Behind that is a stage with two electric guitars, a keyboard, drums and tambourines. Two large video screens display words to contemporary hymns. The liturgy, which includes Communion, is casual but reverent.

Bottom line: the article implies something about “traditional” evangelical churches that just isn’t so. It’s not like there the DC area is devoid of such churches - they are found by the boatload up here. The reporter might have done some “comparison shopping” to see that the picture painted by Mr. McLaren and his followers is a bit skewed.


Update: I just looked at who else was blogging about the article and found the following at NewsBusters.com:

The Washington Post has found an evangelical Christian it likes. Conveniently enough he’s not a fan of the Christian right.

I swear I didn’t see that before I wrote the title of my post.

One Response to “Washington Post finds nice things to say about Christians”

  1. Brian in MA Says:

    I find it amazing the number of “Christians” you can find when you look for people who like to pick and choose which parts of the Bible they like and recreate Jesus in their image.

    After all, what sane person doesn’t want to be Christ-like?

    As a Roman Catholic Christian, I find it offensive when politicians dare to call themselves Catholic, and then just chuck out the Bible and the catechism for their own “personal path to Jesus”.

    This woman is just another Cafeteria Christian, who lambastes all oher branches of Christianity as impure while never cracking open a bible herself.

    And what was with this nonsense:

    “When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels,?

    I don’t know about say, the Church of Falwell, but here in the RCC Jesus had this whole thing about Blessed are the poor. He also lived in a time where nukes didn’t exist, where the Romans were dominating the known world, sexual perversions of any kind were punished by stoning, and various other realities that may be considered barbaric by today’s standards.

    I imagine her Jesus is a fluffy emasculated lightweight who would never even think about barging into a temple and ousting money changers, demanding that people must eat his flesh and drink his blood to obtain salvation, that he was not here to bring peace but the sword, that his followers would be hated and reviled, and various other less “turn the other cheek” actions he made during his time on earth.

    The man was crucified. If he was really just a wallflower pansy who was afraid to challenge evil for fear of offending someone, we wouldn’t know of any Jesus, much less call him the Son of God.

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