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Conservatives must be running out of bogeymen!

Conservatives must be running out of bogeymen!

I had never heard of Fountain Hills AZ and I had to look it up on a map to find out where it is. It’s near Scottsdale AZ in Maricopa County known for its infamous Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

Click to embiggen

Last week Fountain Hills became infamous for 8 local fundamentalist pastors and their decision to gang up on another local church and its pastor. The Revd David M Felton is the pastor of The Fountains, a United Methodist Church. The pastor and his flock are unashamedly Progressive Christians. It’s a successful congregation that shares space in its building with a Jewish synagogue and a Buddhist center. They also maintain a healthy relationship with the local Moslems, sponsoring events for dialogue. Needing more space for their ministries the congregation recently held a financial campaign which allowed them to pay off their debt and build the additional space they needed.

It’s perhaps this success and good reputation that has bred envy and jealousy amongst its Christian neighbors in Fountain Hills. The pastors of these other eight churches have embarked on a six week sermon series. The series is called “Progressive” Christianity: FACT or FICTION. Each week, from their own pulpit, the pastors will address a question in an area where they obviously believe Progressive Christianity fails.

More than a few pastors and religion writers have had a bit to say regarding the behavior of the “Gang of 8” and also weigh in with their own insight about Progressive Christianity. Here is a sampling;

Eight ‘Bible-Believing’ Churches vs. One Progressive Church

A Voice in the Desert

Real or Unreal: Why Conservative Christianity Fears Progressive Christianity

above photo from The Fountains UMC website

photo insert from John Shore’s article on HuffPost Religion

posted by David Allen


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Aelred Dean, BSG

Religious bullying is bullying period. One cannot hide behind their religious beliefs to mock or condemn others: that includes all from moderates, progressives, and conservatives. Aren’t we so suppose to love as a mark of Christianity?

Anand Gnanadesikan

It seems to me that whenever we find ourselves going “look, look at the sin… over there!” we are basically trying to displace attention from our own sins. Because it is always easier to attack someone else for perceived weaknesses (especially theological ones) than to face up to our own pride, greed and lust.

Additionally, both progressive and conservative churches have significant numbers of members who have left the other tradition. So there is a real temptation to pick on the part of the tradition that failed them. It’s easier for evangelicals with a Catholic background (and there are a lot of them) to say “the Catholic church doesn’t preach the Gospel” than it is to say “I was lazy and self-absorbed and never paid attention to what was actually being taught in church.”

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us all, sinners.

Mike Morrissey

It’s interesting isn’t it. “Progressive” has at its core—“to welcome open expression.” Then I run into the ad hominem in the title of this article. I would say that I try to live the middle way of Anglicanism. I would also say that progressives and conservatives alike stifle discussion. Barb Harris invited conservatives to “go, for God’s sake go.” Jack Spong is well known for his 12 Thesis and referring to even mildly orthodox responses as being of some earlier century’s tribal mentality. The current PB easily moves against sitting Bishops.

While conservatives may be running out of bogeymen (why are there no bogeywomen or even bogeypersons?), the Episcopal Church is running out of people. Now why is that?

Actually it’s not because of gay or minority rights. The Millennials and their precursors aren’t concerned with these as far as a worshiping community goes. Rather, there is a seeking after something we boomer “Episcopals or bulls” have pretty much shredded.

We have a fatal case of the “blowing with the wind” syndrome. Witness clergy walking away from the Creeds or rewording them. Note not one Episcopal clergy standing in front of a store as the miscreants approach—but there was that lady pouring milk as fast as she could to keep putting out the fires in the store. But brother Al encouraging “Burn the bitch down.” \\

Oh —– Not a peep from the PB or any of our “worthy” Bishops about the systematic slaughter of Christians—ah let the Pope or ABoC do that.

The American Episcopal Way has no “way” to it. Preach the Good News in Christ.” Ahhh—-who is that really? Accountability and standards….sure

JC Fisher

Mike, your comment reads like a pre-programmed cut&paste. Responding to “Topic x” w/ a “BUT WHAT ABOUT Topics y, z, p, d, & q???” isn’t conversation. It’s trolling.

Scott Wesley

I am reminded of Oscar Wild’s observation that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. The Fountains UMC must be doing something wonderful. But I do hope and pray that this Gang of 8 does not inspire the fringe to physical acts rather than verbal attacks.

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