I wanted to direct readers to a recent debate I’ve been having with some folks on the emergent church. I criticize “postmodern Christians” who attempt to overcome the liberal/evangelical divide by offering some third way. Ultimately, I believe the emergent church is a failure because it values tolerance, conversation, and unity over justice. I try to make the case that liberation theology (not process theology or some pseudo-Derridean theology) should be the future of the church. I also make the controversial claim that Christians who support LGBT rights should formally break ties with fellow Christians who oppress and deny LGBT peoples membership to the church. One reader found this rather upsetting because apparently Christ preached peace not division, which would explain Christ’s statement in Luke 12:51: Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. Here are my latest comments in response to those who found my position offensive:
I’m annoyed that people, who responded to my comment, are aghast that I would consider breaking ties with Christians who oppose LGBT rights an actual option. What’s the greater injustice: denying the admission of LGBT members into the body of Christ or denouncing and parting ways with Christians who actively persecute them? I’m sorry, but I don’t see it as a sin to break unity in the face of injustice. King once said, at the end of his life, to Belafonte that he worried he was integrating African Americans into a burning house. I don’t want the church to be on fire, but it is undoubtedly ablaze with the fires of injustice as long as it denies Christians (gay/straight/bisexual) access to the eucharist. We need to be careful here, and I don’t see pseudo-unity as being preferable to injustice. There are things that merit division. The American church was obviously divided over racial issues, and I doubt many of us would explicitly condone the white supremacy that haunted (and continues to haunt) the American church. We condemn that oppression, yet we’d rather maintain solidarity with fellow Christians who demonstrably deny the teachings of Christ by oppressing LGBT peoples?
I’m curious to hear people’s feedback or others reactions to these comments. This whole fad of post-evangelicalism is fascinating and bizarre to me in many ways. Ultimately, I worry that its counter-identification with evangelicals ultimately over-determines the movement.