Monday, November 10, 2008

Tradition and Sexuality

Please note that this paper, which I wrote 12 years ago, does not reflect my current thinking on the subject. But I'm offering it for further discussion.

Freedom, including my freedom to love, therefore begins with the sovereign freedom of God who elects humanity to be God’s covenant partner, and who forms our lives so that we are called to relationships that correspond to the image of God’s faithful love for humanity. We are, in other words, created for community.
This is the starting point for an extended argument on same-gender relationships (and their place in the order of Christian community) which is now available on the website of Andover Newton Theological School at

The conference brought together evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish theologians, church historians and ethicists for a broad survey of where churches find themselves on this issue. Mine was an attempt to build a "centrist" approach that might offer hope to churches that sincerely want to include lesbians and gays in their fellowship (and to honor their relationships), but haven't been able to find a way within the boundaries of tradition.

Arguing within rather than against Christian and Jewish tradition is where I think the future of this debate lies. On this subject, we don't have to settle for an unproductive polarization between "traditionalist" and "liberationist" discourses. Personally, I find the boundaries of tradition to be liberating rather than confining: consider the evangelicals who in the early- and mid-nineteenth century both faithfully and creatively engaged the Bible in the struggle to abolish slavery. Faithfulness to tradition is not always synonymous with resistance to change.

What do you think? You're welcome to read the paper, and share your opinion here. It's a long read, by the way, but I hope worth the time.

Read the full article

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pollsters got it right

Among the winners in yesterday's elections were three polling firms: Rasmussen, Pew, IPSOS (McClatchy Newspapers) and Opinion Research (CNN).

Rasmussen and Pew were right on the money, predicting a six-point spread at 52 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain. IPSOS and Opinion Research were off by one point, both predicting Obama would win 53 percent of the popular vote.

Forecasting an Obama win of 11 percent -- nearly double the actual result -- Zogby and Gallup proved to be the least accurate.

Read the full article

Blue in a Blue State!

European newspapers are greeting Obama with ecstasy. German media in particular are shuddering with a delight not seen since the late edition of Voelkischer Beobachter on Jan. 30, 1933.

Der Spiegel
Obama erweckt das neue Amerika
Obama awakens the new America

Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Neuer historischer Zeitabschnitt
New chapter of history

ZDF (German Second TV)
Obama weckt Hoffnung in aller Welt
Obama awakens hope in all the world

Bild Zeitung
OBAMA: Warum ist er in der ganzen Welt ein Held?
OBAMA: Why is he a hero in the whole world?

But in a warning, perhaps, of things to come, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev chose to announce the deployment of mid-range ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad -- the Russian enclave between Lavia and Poland -- to counter the threat posed by the new forward batteries of U.S.-manned anti-ballistic missiles in Poland. Medvedev also canceled plans to withdraw three ICBM regiments from western Russia.

Medvedev did not mention the President-elect in his speech.

Why Russia would choose to force the issue the day after the Presidential election is beyond me. But it seems Biden was right: Obama will be "tested," and sooner than he thought. But Russia would have taken this step in any case: once the Bush Administration signed the missile deal with Poland in August, it was clear that the new system was really aimed primarily at Russia.

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