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Q & R: A Tea Party Supporter asks some good questions - Part 2

You can read Part 1 here:
http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/post-46.html

Here's Part 2. Again, I'll respond part by part.

You list these values in your post: 1. - unsustainability of fossil-fuel-based, corporate-militarist economy 2. - climate change 3. - scapegoating of Muslims 4. - bigotry against gays

Brief responses listed by number:
1. As followers of Christ, we are taught that "where your treasure is, your heart will follow". Therefore it is always wise for believers to "follow the money". We should always be on guard for wars fought for profit under false pretenses. I can't argue against getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, however we would do more harm to innocent people in those nations if we didn't leave it in a stable state.

Hopefully folks like you and me - who disagree on a lot of things - can agree that the next time our government wants to fight a war, we'll raise our voices together to point to the full cost - in money, in lives, in human time and energy, and in unintended consequences. We keep making the same mistakes ... when will we learn?

2. Climate Change - Many of us are not convinced based upon the evidence. Furthermore, we are tired of people telling us that the sky is falling on this issue without being presented with reason. How about engaging in reason on this issue? In my mind, it is extremely difficult for me to believe that something that composes of less than 1% of the global atmosphere, can be such a threat. Furthermore, I'm just not seeing or experiencing the temperate increases predicted.

All I can say is that you must not have seen the same evidence I have. Here's a recommendation. Try Jim Ball's book:
http://creationcare.org/blog.php?blog=19
And please - realize that much less than 1% of cyanide in a glass of water can kill, or much less than 1% of radioactive material can give you cancer. It's clear you actually haven't seen (or understood) the evidence if you can say something like this. And of course you wouldn't make a decision on whether global climate change is happening based on your own experience ... that's why it's called "global climate change" and not "personal climate change." Based on what scientists have predicted, some places will actually see colder temperatures (that's why "global climate change" is a preferred term for many over "global warming"). Some will see too much rain, some will see drought, and so on. If you actually read the data, you'll see that the climate is changing even faster and more radically than predicted. Here's one small (actually, huge!) example - Arctic Sea Ice:
http://archive.greenpeace.org/climate/arctic99/reports/seaice3.html
Here's more:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/05/climate-change-arctic-ice-melting-faster-sea-level-to-rise-more-report-says.html

And here's some video:
http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/environment/changes-in-arctic-ice-cover-20091204-kad7.html


3. I understand that there is a difference between ideology and adherence. One can be a Muslim without believing in extremes. What is not clear to me is whether or not the Muslim extremists or the moderates are being consistent with the teachings of Islam/Muhammad. I think that is where the discussion on this issue should begin. Based upon the history of Muhammad, and Scriptures I've heard and read out of the Koran, it appears to me that the only non-violent Muslim is one who is not consistently following Muhammad. That opinion is not xenophobic bias. It is just observation. Let us engage in such a discussion without assuming that the other side is bigoted and prejudiced.

I find your statement here to be quite shocking and abhorrent. Let me offer an analogy. Please understand, I would never say this, but it helps make clear what you are saying:
In light of Psalm 137:8-9 and Deuteronomy 7:1-4, any peace-loving Christian who does not support terrorism, genocide, and racial segregation is not consistently following the Bible.

I hope you'll read my next book when it comes out in September 2012. It is about Christian identity in a multi-faith world, and I think it will make you see the ugliness of what you've said here.

4. Bigotry against gays. Paul believed homosexuality was a sin. I understand your belief about the inspiration of Scripture (greco-roman vs library - theologians call this plenary vs dynamic). I am thankful that you have written about the inspiration issue because that is at the heart of this matter with believers. However, this doesn't mean that Paul was wrong.

The biology seems to me to point to homosexuality as being unnatural. And to suggest it is genetic doesn't hold water given that genetic information always comes from heterosexual unions. I understand the concept of recessive genes, however as soon as such a gene would dominate, it would self-terminate from the gene pool since homosexuals do not reproduce.

I can believe that homosexuality is a sin without throwing stones of judgementalism and condescension towards GLBTs.

It appears you didn't actually understand (or perhaps agree with) the full impact of the constitution-library material in New Kind of Christianity. I'd also suspect that you need a bit more study in genetics, sexuality, and human history before making the kind of statement you made above. But at least I do agree with you partially - that some Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin can be more judgmental and condescending and some can be less, and it sounds like we'd both want more people to be less. Of course, I'd be eve happier if more Christians rethink the whole issue within a larger framework - as I explored in New Kind of Christianity when I talked about the Bible and slavery.

I think we can stand together as believers, even on opposite sides of this issue and proclaim that the Christlike attitude towards such folks is one of love and grace.

In closing, I just ask you to resist ad hominems and presumptions about believers who hold different positions than yours.

I agree with you - we need to seek to have the right attitude when we disagree, to work together wherever we can, and to resist ad hominems and prejudicial presumptions. Let's both try to be sure we influence others in our circles of influence in the same direction.

I don't see how our nation will survive economically without cut, cap and balance. I trust you wouldn't run your personal finances any other way.

Ouch. There are so many problems - in my view - with this statement that I'm not sure where to begin. The analogy between personal finance and national finance has some merit in some limited situations, but it also has many limitations.

God bless your ministry and thank you for making me think!

Thanks for thinking and challenging me as well! And thanks for writing in and expressing yourself honestly and respectfully. (You'd be amazed to see the tone of a lot of the emails I receive.) A lot of people responded very positively to Part 1 of this interchange. I hope we've been able to model respectful and honest disagreement - and agreement too.