RECLAIMING NOT


What is not the Good News:

  • Committing acts of war, violence, brutality, coercion, intimidation, discrimination, or exclusion in the name of faith or religion or scripture or Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed or Allah or God or in the name of any entity divine or mortal.
  • Viewing a faithful life as being in a war or a combat operation or viewing the faithful life as requiring a warrior mentality or viewing faith as a weapon or a shield.
  • Claiming a specific faith as a national or cultural identity or the practice of that faith as an act of patriotism, citizenship, or civic duty.
  • Compelling or attempting to compel others – as individuals or as community – to celebrate, observe, or respect religious holidays in accordance with religious or nationalistic or populist or commercially specified behavior.
  • Claiming a literal or singular or absolute or sole authoritative interpretation of scripture.
  • Using scripture as justification or empowerment or authorization:
    – to commit or to incite murder or violence or physical assault or property damage
    – to commit or to incite verbal abuse or the use of demeaning labels or ostracism or shunning
    – to commit or to incite intimidation that threatens to use any of these acts
    – to control or to attempt to control the lives, behavior, and choices of others.
  • Responding to theological differences:
    – with the commission or incitement of murder or violence or physical assault or property damage
    – with the commission or incitement of verbal abuse or the use of demeaning labels or ostracism or shunning
    – with intimidation by threatening to use any of these acts.
  • Standing on a city street or in the middle of a college campus and shouting at people about the supposed errors of their supposed sinful lives.
  • Practicing discrimination or exclusion or an “us/them” and “here/there” world view instead of an “us/here” world view.
  • Advocating a patriarchal, matriarchal, racial, ethnic, caste-based, tribal/family-based, or political/citizenship/empire-based social order as the will of God.
  • Requiring belief in a torturous execution as an atoning sacrifice.
  • Preaching eternal damnation and preaching that eternal damnation can be avoided only by conversion to or by the acceptance of a rigid pre-ordained belief system or membership in a particular faith, sect, denomination, or congregation.
  • Preaching that post-mortal existence is a reward for or a consequence of how mortal life is lived, that post-mortal existence is based on conditions instead of grace.
  • Claiming knowledge of the details or the nature of a post-mortal existence.
  • Preaching that the Kingdom of God is a future existence or a future apocalyptic event instead of a present reality and a way of living now.
  • Being focused on or concerned with a post-mortal existence to the exclusion or diminishment of life here and now – especially when it eliminates or diminishes or opposes the active and involved faithful service to and with others – for example: to feed, quench, clothe, heal, welcome, and visit in prison.
  • Preaching that how and what we believe is more important than how we live individually and as community and in relationship with each other.
  • Viewing the ascension to free will or the acquisition of free will as a sinful act that eternally separates from God all people for all generations instead of being viewed as a parable of success for both the people and God.
  • Viewing free will as strictly an earth-based and a human trait.
  • Requiring belief in the convoluted theology of a divine trinity.
  • Having to view Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed or any person as God or equivalent to God.
  • Having to view the Cross or the Bible or the Qur’an or any text or any object or any symbol or any person as being worthy of worship or worshipful reverence.
  • Requiring belief in ascensions, post-death appearances, physical resurrections, virgin births, divine interventions, or any so-called “miraculous” occurrence.
  • No matter how reassuring it is made to sound, proclaiming that a disaster or a death or an injury or an illness or a harmful loss is the will of God.

by Doug Sloan

Doug is a member of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Terre Haute, Indiana where he has served as an Elder and Treasurer and enjoys his continuing membership in the choir. He graduated in 2009 with a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University and a BS in Management Information Systems from Ball State University in 1997. Since August 2005, he has been a member of the CIS Adjunct Faculty at the Terre Haute campus of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. He has been published in DisciplesWorld and Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice. Doug is married to Carol, a First Grade teacher, and is the father of two sons.

previous posts by Doug Sloan:
RECLAIMING CHURCH … the most viewed article on [D]mergent
GOD IS… … the #6 most viewed article on [D]mergent
RECLAIMING GOD … a continuation of and response to GOD IS…
RECLAIMING MIRACLES

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next post by Doug Sloan
RECLAIMING the GOOD NEWS

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About Doug Sloan

Doug is a member of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 4950 East Wabash Avenue, P.O. Box 3125, Terre Haute, IN 47803-0125 (812-877-9959). Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is an open and affirming congregation. Doug is an Elder, has served as Treasurer, enjoys his continuing membership in the choir as the lowest voiced bass and currently is serving as an At-Large member of the Regional Board of the Indiana Disciples of Christ. As a member of the O&A Elders group, he helped write a resolution to change the ordination policy of the Indiana Region. The resolution will be presented at the 2012 Indiana Regional Assembly. He graduated in 2009 with a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University and a BS in Management Information Systems from Ball State University in 1997. Since August 2005, he has been a member of the CIS Adjunct Faculty at the Terre Haute campus of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. He has been published in DisciplesWorld and Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice. In the summer of 2010, Doug became a contributor to this blog: [D]mergent.org

7 thoughts on “RECLAIMING NOT

  1. This works mainly because the Good News indeed is not “having to view” or “requiring belief in” anything. But by the same token, is it “forbidding belief in” or “rejecting the view that” anything? Are we required to reject belief in divine interventions, virgin birth or the incarnation?

    I’m all for a church that permits diverse opinions and encourages freedom of thought. I don’t think anyone can simply choose to believe anything — or, having come to believe, choose to disbelieve. Therefore, I agree that we can’t judge anyone on the basis of belief or disbelief. That being said, we don’t defeat the thought police by turning the tables to enforce or forbid a different set of thoughts.

    How and what we believe is indeed less important than how we live. What we believe is important only because of how it determines how we live.

    I can only pray that as we reject the hard nosed creed requirements of our forefathers, we don’t replace it with something equally restrictive.

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