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Spiritual, but not religious

posted by Scot McKnight

What percent of Americans, according to the best and most recent statistics (both GSS and Baylor’s study are nearly the same here), are “spiritual but not religious”? And what is a profile of the “spiritual but not religious” person? (Fascinating.)

Again, I’m using What Americans Really Believe
. Here are their numbers: 
Spiritual but not religious: 10%
Spiritual and religious: 57%
Religious, but not spiritual: 17%
Neither: 16%
Now the profile of the 10% of Americans who say they are spiritual but not religious:
Gender: women are slightly more likely
Race: both Whites and African Americans are about the same
Age: 18% of those under 30 say they are … and the numbers decrease as age goes up.
Education: 6% of those who did not attend college are; 12% of those who attended grad school.
More after the jump…


Politics: Repubs 5% Dems are at 11% and Independents are at 16%.

Now it gets even more interesting. It’s all about “conventional religious practices.” Weekly church attendance (14%), prayer daily (27%), Bible reading weekly (13%), the Bible as legend etc (59%)…
Now even more interesting:
Spiritual but not religious see God as a higher power or cosmic force (44%), fatherly (50%), a “he” (24%), mystical (21%) and theological liberal (35%) and feels at one with the universe (42%).
Basically, this group of people rejects a materialistic worldview and conventional religion. The spiritual but not religious people also approve of marijuana use (72%), homosexual marriage (68%), physician-assisted suicide (74%). Of the women who fit this category, 56% consider themselves a feminist.


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Andy Holt

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm


That’s interesting. In college we tried to do the whole “It’s not a religion it’s a relationship” thing. That seems to be a typical evangelical mantra, but I’m not seeing the traditional evangelical demographic represented in the “spiritual but not religious” category. I guess that’s a message that never caught on. ;)



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Jeff Doles

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm


I understand “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” But “Spiritual, not religious,” is not even a relationship. In a relationship, there is an accountability. But when one claims to be “spiritual” but is not part of Christianity or any religion, then he is unaccountable to anyone or anything, except himself. Even then, he is not really accountable to himself because he can change his “spirituality” any time he wishes to anything he likes. It is an ego thing, an attempt to portray oneself as somehow being superior to non-“spiritual” or religious people, without any pesky accountability. It is the worship of oneself, and quite opposite from the fear of the LORD.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm


Just curious as to the point of this post, especially the last paragraph. Are those attributes inherently “wrong”, especially since surveys don’t allow one to elaborate as to rationale? Surveys try to give us a “black vs. white” (either/or) image, whereas most of us tend to live in the gray (both/and). So I ask: what is the purpose of this?



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm


Jeff Dole: just because someone claims not the be “religious” does not necessarily mean they are not in community with other on their spiritual journey. Your “judgment” demonstrates the problem with these surveys – you have NO addition information on which to base your negative claim!



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DRT

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm


Jeff @2
You have demonstrated very clearly why I once (and perhaps still do) held myself in the spiritual but not religious camp.
Dave
captcha : had nemeses



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Phil

posted June 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm


Jeff @2
I know people who call themselves “spiritual but not religious”, in the context of 12-step recovery, who hold themselves accountable to the group, their sponsor, trusted friends in the fellowship. They ask for advice, they confess “sins” and they make changes in their lives (repentance) based on this feedback. While they do not practice a religion, they are certainly not “unaccountable to anyone or anything”.
There may very well be people in the “spiritual but not religious” category who do not care for accountability. But not everyone who calls themselves, thus.
Also, practicing a religion does not guarantee accountability. You can find many who call themselves “Christian” in many churches on Sunday who are less accountable to anyone than the people I describe above.



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DRT

posted June 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm


Sorry about the jab I made at Jeff, but let me say something that may be helpful.
To me, religious means that the traditions and man-made elements of faith are held in a higher regard than the elements of God himself. People are fallible and I don?t want to follow people, I want to follow God. I want to be spiritual and use religious tools to help with that spirituality, including fellowship and organizations. To me religious people tend to see the religion as an end instead of a means.
I am amazed that so few people put themselves in the spiritual but not religious camp.
Dave



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm


Defining “religious” is an interesting point, Dave. I’m curious as to if the survey defined the term or left it to the individual. Just like the word “evangelize” was once a positive term, TV evangelists have tarnished the word. I believe the word “religious” has fallen on the same fate. Originally the word meant “to bind together”, but I’m afraid that the bad press of “creationists”, divisive religious leaders such as the pope and Franklin Graham, gay-bashing Christian groups, etc, etc, have tarnished this term as well. Heck, I can hardly stand the term “Christian” anymore for the same reasons!
But once more, Scot, I ask your purpose in a post with these statistics. What makes them “interesting”?



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Randy G.

posted June 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm


I remember a similar question from about 15 years ago. I don’t recall the numbers of “spiritual not religious”, but I suspect that they were much higher. Like a few of the other respondents here, I identify religious with being accountable to someone or something, and “spiritual” with an attitude toward reality but less accountability.
I suspect that the numbers were higher because it seemed then that there were many more people who were willing to let go of organized religion, but not of some aspect of the spiritual.
Anyway, thats my 2 cents worth.
Captcha “had mystics”
Peace,
Randy Gabrielse



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Rick

posted June 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm


Jeff #8
“…divisive religious leaders such as the pope and Franklin Graham…”
Then again, Jesus might fall into that description as well:
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12).



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm


Rick #10
Uh, no. By “divisive” I mean their message of insider vs. outsider, those “going to heaven” and those “going to hell”. I think Jesus was more about inclusion of “outsiders” into his Kingdom rather than exclusion/division. I don’t think the Pope or Graham are anywhere CLOSE to being inclusive.
What Jesus may have been referring to in your scripture quote is that this Kingdom of INCLUSION he was bringing will piss some religious people off. Huh. I think he was quite right.



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Rick

posted June 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm


“By “divisive” I mean their message of insider vs. outsider, those “going to heaven” and those “going to hell”.” Kind of like separating sheeps and goats. Got it. Wait, Jesus did that too. Oops.
“I don’t think the Pope or Graham are anywhere CLOSE to being inclusive.” How so?
“What Jesus may have been referring to in your scripture quote is that this Kingdom of INCLUSION he was bringing will piss some religious people off.”
Agreed. But He was still dividing. Then we must ask on what basis?
Would you say Jesus was more “spiritual”, since that may have a sense of being inclusive, and less “religious”?
captcha: broiled government (not a good message on this primary day)



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Scot McKnight

posted June 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm


Jeff, very simple: I’m blogging through some of the chps in the book and this is one of them. I provide a summary of the chp.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm


Gotcha. I was not aware this post was part of a series. But I still am curious as to why the survey statistics in your last paragraph struck you as “interesting”. Of what practical use is this data? How will having this information be helpful to religious leader?(I am not trying to be a jerk here – I am just trying to understand the context of the post.)



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Michael W. Kruse

posted June 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm


The “spiritual but not religious” claim is not surprising to me. I think most of this folks are saying the reject a purely materialistic interpretation of our existence but they also reject traditional religious rituals and institutions.
To be honest, after working for years in and with a denominational hierarchy (PCUSA), there have been occasional temptations to join their ranks. ;-)



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DRT

posted June 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Michael #15, after reading on your blog how my cohort is the most troubled ever (I am 1962), I think I get a free ride on whatever I think from here on out. It’s not my fault! :)
Dave



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm


Rick:
I think it’s OK for Jesus to judge, but he tells US not to. So where does Graham get his “authority” to tell Muslims they are going to hell? Or the pope condemning gays when Jesus says nothing about it? Who are THEY to exclude especially when Jesus gives the example of INCLUDE. And in the Sheep and Goats, sounds like a condemnation of those that are not including “sinners” in the Kingdom (yeah, those listed were considered “cursed” and not “blessed” by the religious).
Being “inclusive” does not necessarily make one “spiritual” – you can be an atheist and be inclusive. Though I would argue that living out an inclusive life will begin to open their eyes to God in the other and ultimately God in themselves. I think that is why Jesus didn’t lead a “catechism” course, but rather he said “follow me”.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Michael #15:
Jesus held BOTH the material AND the spiritual together. Our Western minds (and Western churches) have a hard time grasping that concept – we don’t like living in that tension. That is why there is this continual drive to separate them out (either/or). The liberal side of the church sees Jesus as one who meets material needs(the Human Jesus). The conservative side sees Jesus as one who meets spiritual needs (the Devine Jesus). What if he meets BOTH? This survey thing is just another example of our divisive nature. Who is IN and who is OUT. Who is WITH our church and who is AGAINST our church. Sighhh…



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kevin s,

posted June 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm


“I think it’s OK for Jesus to judge, but he tells US not to.”
That’s not true. In Corinthians, we are told we will judge angles, and should absolutely be able to adjudicate our own disputes.
Jesus commands us not to judge by a standard to which we do not hold ourselves. It does not mean that we cannot tell people what the bible says about the path to heaven.
“Or the pope condemning gays when Jesus says nothing about it?”
The bible says plenty about it, and Jesus affirms the law. If our criteria for what constitutes the word of God is simply the words contained in the gospels, not only must we allow all manner of egregious behavior, but we must also conclude that gentiles cannot be saved.
“Who are THEY to exclude especially when Jesus gives the example of INCLUDE.”
Jesus excludes anyone who rejects him. There are several examples of this.
“And in the Sheep and Goats, sounds like a condemnation of those that are not including “sinners” in the Kingdom (yeah, those listed were considered “cursed” and not “blessed” by the religious).”
Not really. It is more about those who do and do not act out of concern for the least of these. It is also passing strange to cite this, of all passages, as an example Christ’s heart for inclusion.



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mouseytalons

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm


Hi All,
I identify myself as spiritual, not religious. Please let me explain what I mean when I say this, as it upset my own mother, and 1 of my daughters, I will also try to elaborate on what some of my beliefs are in regards to some of the questions raised, and why.
When I say I am spiritual, not religious, the short version of this is for me personally, I believe ALL religions have some valuable wisdom to contribute to this world. I also believe that it is up to us to decide for ourselves what is and is not helpful, or relevant. I believe that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and pansexuals were born the way we are for a reason. I believe G_D is not a G_D of Judgement.
What made me believe this way?? I suffered alot of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse in my life, so I started to search for an understanding of why a “loving” G_D allows this, and found no understandable explanation in any religion, so I found my own understanding of G_D, and if that’s wrong, I appologize in advance for offending anyone.



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Dave D

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm


The Onion had a great take on this a month or so ago:
“Priest Religious, But Not Really Spiritual”
http://www.theonion.com/articles/priest-religious-but-not-really-spiritual,17373/



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Jeff Straka

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm


I’m with ya 100%, mouseytalons! It is not religion itself that I have an issue with, but rather the “religious systems” that tries to define and control and restrict one’s spiritual growth. One blatant example of this is the patriarchal structure of the Catholic church and the evangelical church where women are viewed essentially as inferior to men. And it is all due to an obscure passage “supposedly” written by Paul to a particular church at a particular time for a particular problem. Funny why these same churches do not require the removal of jewelery and the donning of hats. This is viewed as foolishness and FAR out of step with the world by many. I don’t need a religious institution to tell me WHO can teach me and WHO can hand me a piece of bread and a drink of wine and WHO is “saved” and WHO is “damned”.



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danderson

posted June 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm


I’d be interested in knowing what percentage of people who say they are spiritual also believe that one can be a Christian AND (fill in the blank). Buddhist. Muslim. New Ageist. Hindi.



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Jeff Doles

posted June 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Jeff Straka,
To whom or to what are you accountable?



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kevin s,

posted June 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm


@Jeff Straka
Have you read the passage regarding hair length and hats? The traditional and, indeed, most straightforward reading is that he is citing the example of local customs to make a broader point about gender roles.
If you have strong opinions about religion, and how the church has failed you, that is certainly your prerogative. That said, you would do well to be conversant on these rudimentary theological questions.
Every issue you have introduced has been researched and studied at length. Contrary to your insinuations, evangelicals aren’t simply making it up as they go.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 9, 2010 at 8:18 am


24 Jeff Doles:
I am accountable ONLY to God, but since I, as a process thinker (http://www.processandfaith.org/), am panetheistic (God mysteriously IN all things, not pantheistic who claim God IS all things) that means that I am accountable to ALL creation and am called to love and care for it. To maliciously harm any part of creation is to maliciously harm a “vessel” containing God.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 9, 2010 at 8:40 am


#25 Kevin S.:
That is EXACTLY my point! The gender roles the author of 1 Timothy (very likely not Paul but a follower of him) was explaining was for THEIR time and context, a time when women were treated as mere property.
Prior to 1920, American women were told to “keep silent” with regards to politics and voting. Do you not see how people outside of the evangelical church (and likely a good many inside it) would view the lunacy of their rule against women? Since they are not allowed to be elders, they have no VOTE! What would our country look like if today we did not allow women to vote or run for office (even the highest office in the land)!? Yet the evangelicals (and the Catholic church) keep women imprisoned in pre-1920 roles.
As an interesting “side-bar”, there is credible evidence that Jesus held women in an equality status. He likely had women disciples (outside the 12) and that the early church had women apostles and house-church leaders, but the “church fathers” have done much to “downplay” that.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 9, 2010 at 10:38 am


Here is something “interesting”. Kevin S. says:
“If you have strong opinions about religion, and how the church has failed you, that is certainly your prerogative. That said, you would do well to be conversant on these rudimentary theological questions.
Every issue you have introduced has been researched and studied at length. Contrary to your insinuations, evangelicals aren’t simply making it up as they go.”
So…I am a “live” person that is one of the “statistics” in the title of this blog post – spiritual but not religious – trying to point out some of the reasons I have pushed away from organized religion. But rather than hearing what I am saying, I am basically “scolded” and told to “follow the rules”. This was the point of my original question!!! What possible VALUE are these survey statistics if you are not willing to listen to the voices behind them and you are not willing to see where they might have valid critiques?
It is certainly YOUR prerogative and your right, as members of the evangelical religious system, to hold fast to your fundamental beliefs – you don’t have to change one single thing – but don’t pretend that you are really interested in engaging the “spiritual but not religious” crowd in any meaningful dialog if you have no intent on changing. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy!



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DRT

posted June 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm


Jeff,
I feel for you but “they” will never be able to hear you. Here is where I am in seeing this issue. One of the ultimate ironies of Christianity as executed in the states, especially evangelicals, is centered around this correctness in beliefs as is now established through the might=right mentality. This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus was teaching, but it is where “they” are. The other Jeff illustrated it so well in basically saying that you are not fitting into the mold of their pre-established idea of what is right (might), therefore you are wrong and should be shunned and feared.
I would be willing to bet that the other Jeff wears a lapel pin.
kevin too said this very well indeed. He said “Every issue you have introduced has been researched and studied at length. Contrary to your insinuations, evangelicals aren’t simply making it up as they go.” What he is saying is that the crowd (might) is right and why don?t you just give up your silly ways already? What he does not get in this conversation, imho, is that everyone needs to work it through on their own. Saving your eternal life is not about following what someone else does, it is about what you do.
The secular version of this is most notably (imo) manifest in Marketing. In marketing there is a consensus of what people want from a product but when you go to the store you do not see one product, instead you see a plethora of products. Market segmentation acknowledges this diversity, group think in churches crushes it.
I too would like to see churches have things for outsiders like myself who don?t want the mass produced we have done it that way before and we thought for you so you don?t have to think mentality. But then again, that?s not the way churches have done it for the past millennia so why change it now?
Dave



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Jeff Doles

posted June 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm


DRT @29, said, “The other Jeff illustrated it so well in basically saying that you are not fitting into the mold of their pre-established idea of what is right (might), therefore you are wrong and should be shunned and feared … I would be willing to bet that the other Jeff wears a lapel pin.”
I have not mold to push people into. I do not say that “spiritual, not religious” people should be shunned. Nor am I interested in getting anybody into the religious camp. I prefer to speak of relationship, and that involves accountability.
Jeff S. says he is accountable only to God and all creation. But what does that even mean?
Whatever he wants it to mean. Because who is there to challenge him on it?
I suggest that this is nothing more than accountability to whatever ever he means. And since that can change — today it means one thing, tomorrow it might mean another — then he is accountable only to what he means (or however he feels) at a particular point in time. And that is, essentially, unaccountability, which is my point about “spiritual, but not religious.”
I can appreciate “spiritual, but not religious” in a 12-step program, though, because that involves a real accountability to others. There are other people there to challenge a person and keep him honest.
And no, I do not wear a lapel pin.



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Jeff Straka

posted June 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm


#30 Jeff Doles:
I am part of an organic church, an emergent cohort (which includes atheists and agnostics) and a weekly Bible study. I am part of a small group that serves meals at a women’s shelter. I also started attending an interfaith conversation gathering (progressive Muslims, Christians, Jews). We challenge each other in community and hold one another up – I am not sitting alone on some mountaintop. If you SEE God in others and in creation, you will see that it is actually God to whom we are accountable.
You seem to have this idea that “spiritual but not religious” do everything in isolation, but most are IN community!



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DRT

posted June 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm


Jeff Doles, thanks for being a good sport.
Dave



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Jeff Straka

posted June 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm


#30 Jeff Doles:
I am also challenged by reading books by theologians/authors, such as Marcus Borg, Frank Viola, Harvey Cox, Robert Mesle, John Cobb Jr., Philip Clayton, Greg Boyd, Pete Rollins, Samir Selmanovic, Richard Rohr, and Scot McKnight (to name a few).



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kevin s,

posted June 10, 2010 at 12:40 am


“That is EXACTLY my point! The gender roles the author of 1 Timothy (very likely not Paul but a follower of him) was explaining was for THEIR time and context, a time when women were treated as mere property.”
It (my comment) wasn’t exactly your point. It was imprecisely your point. You have failed to consider a crucial nuance regarding hair coverings, namely that Paul himself is appealing to the culture, which he does not do when discussing the role of women in the church.
“Prior to 1920, American women were told to “keep silent” with regards to politics and voting. Do you not see how people outside of the evangelical church (and likely a good many inside it) would view the lunacy of their rule against women?”
“As an interesting “side-bar”, there is credible evidence that Jesus held women in an equality status. He likely had women disciples (outside the 12) and that the early church had women apostles and house-church leaders, but the “church fathers” have done much to “downplay” that.”
To which credible evidence are you referring?
“But rather than hearing what I am saying, I am basically “scolded” and told to “follow the rules”.”
Why are you putting scare quotes around words that reflect your own assertions?
Anyhow, no, I am not scolding you, nor am I telling you to follow the rules. What I am asking you to do consider the answers to the theological questions you present that are already on the table. Your previous comments pretend that no such answers have been proffered.
If you cannot contend with those answers, then you really aren’t offering a valid critique. Worse, you are pretending that evangelicals are too dumb to have considered them. This is the problem I have with the emergent church, frankly.
“What possible VALUE are these survey statistics if you are not willing to listen to the voices behind them and you are not willing to see where they might have valid critiques?”
Sometimes it is important to listen to people individually. Sometimes it is important to measure their opinions in aggregate.
“It is certainly YOUR prerogative and your right, as members of the evangelical religious system, to hold fast to your fundamental beliefs – you don’t have to change one single thing – but don’t pretend that you are really interested in engaging the “spiritual but not religious” crowd in any meaningful dialog if you have no intent on changing.”
For years, my church’s slogan was “experience God, not religion”. McLaren’s New Kind of Christian was semi-required reading. I actually enjoyed that work, though it was very poorly written, because it raised many of the questions I had been wrestling with. I would still recommend the book to anyone interested in learning more about Christianity, and who can tolerate stilted prose.
Let me ask this. Do YOU have any intent on changing? You listed a number of authors who, in your words, challenge you. But, with the exception of Boyd, all of them come from a very similar perspective. Would you consider reading a John Piper, a Tim Keller, or even a John Eldridge?



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Jeff Straka

posted June 10, 2010 at 8:58 am


Kevin S.:
Women disciples (followers) of Jesus:
http://www.crivoice.org/WT-apostle.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/women.html
http://www.womenpriests.org/scriptur/clement.asp
So your response to the wide-spread criticism of women’s role in the evangelical church is simply that it’s already been visited: end of discussion? I’m pretty sure women are happy there was no “end of discussion” in regard to their voice/vote in this country! You don’t think that God speaks today? Do you think his voice is “frozen” in the 2000 year-old printed word forever? You don’t think God might have been at work in the women’s rights movement (or the civil rights movement)? That God is capable working to free oppressed people OUTSIDE of the walls of the Christian church and maybe we could get a few clues from that?
Interesting that this passage is not taken into account:
In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. Gal 3:28
I have read Keller and Eldridge. They were helpful to me at the time I read them. Piper is far too much of a jerk (that is a toned down version of what I really think) to ever CONSIDER reading anything of his: http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/did-god-send-a-tornado-to-warn-the-elca/



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kevin s.

posted June 10, 2010 at 7:08 pm


@Jeff Straka
Yes, Jesus had female disciples. I misread your comment, given the context. I do not know of any scholar who believes that Jesus had no female disciples.
“So your response to the wide-spread criticism of women’s role in the evangelical church is simply that it’s already been visited: end of discussion?”
No. My response, again, is that you should address the arguments that are out there. Again, you are pretending that evangelicals have no answer for what you see as a paradox regarding head coverings. I am saying that you will have more credibility if you acknowledge existing arguments?
“I’m pretty sure women are happy there was no “end of discussion” in regard to their voice/vote in this country!”
As an aside, you are using quotes incorrectly. You use quotes to quote someone. I did not, in any of my comments, suggest we should end the discussion, so please do not put that in quotes when representing my viewpoint.
“You don’t think that God speaks today?”
I do. I do not think he adds to scripture.
“Do you think his voice is “frozen” in the 2000 year-old printed word forever?”
No, but I do not think his revelation will contradict scripture. If you believe otherwise, you are susceptible to believe any argument that appeals to God’s revelation. How do you discern lies from truth?
“You don’t think God might have been at work in the women’s rights movement (or the civil rights movement)?”
I do, but this is irrelevant to my previous comments.
“That God is capable working to free oppressed people OUTSIDE of the walls of the Christian church and maybe we could get a few clues from that?”
I simply don’t agree with your interpretation of the clues.
“Interesting that this passage is not taken into account:
In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. Gal 3:28″
I like the Message bible for reading. However, it is ill-equipped for theological study. There is no reference to equality in any other translation of this passage. This passage is simply saying that all have equal rights to salvation. Nobody is ignoring this passage.
“I have read Keller and Eldridge. They were helpful to me at the time I read them.”
But the only people who seem to have “challenged” you are those with whom you already agree.
“to ever CONSIDER reading anything of his: http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/did-god-send-a-tornado-to-warn-the-elca/
I’m well aware of the Piper-tornado thing. However, Boyd would certainly affirm that Muslims do not go to heaven. He’s with you on woman pastors, so what do you make of the rest of his theological conclusions?



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Jeff Straka

posted June 11, 2010 at 10:02 am


We seem to be going back and forth on this woman pastor/elder thing. Let’s try to clear it up. You seem to be saying that evangelicals have visited this issue and are quite firm on it.
My understanding of the evangelical stance on not allowing women in roles of authority and decision-making is based on 1 Tim. 2:11-15. It seems that evangelicals see “Paul” saying this as a statement for ALL churches for ALL times. One of my questions on that literal extraction is then why isn’t the previous paragraph on dress and adorning not taken seriously? And why aren’t the instructions on head coverings in 1 Cor. 11 understood as for All churches for ALL times and enforced in evangelical churches? To me, it seems like selective, convenient interpretations. If you (or anyone else) can explain this to me, I (and probably other “spiritual but no longer religious) would appreciate it!
As for the Gal. 3 quote, OK then, here is the ESV: “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Still sounds like equality – no lines, no separation. You say it is about “equal rights to salvation”. By that, do you mean “heaven when you die”? It seems that salvation is being in relationship with God NOW, in THIS life. It says in that same passage, just prior: “you ARE all children of God” – sounds like a NOW thing. So is Paul contradicting himself? Is it “separate but equal”? Or is Paul trying to gradually move their culture forward from a total patriarchal, slave-owning society towards a society of flatness – ALL equal, ALL loved, ALL voices?
So anyway, please help me understand WHY evangelicals WILL NOT let women have equal decision-making (voting) rights in the church while OUTSIDE the church they can vote and be president of the United States? What am I missing? What don’t I see?
PS – you say “Boyd would certainly affirm that Muslims do not go to heaven”. Really? Show be where he says that. I listen to his weekly podcasts for 4 years and I don’t quite get that in/out message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCibySGAMzU



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posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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