Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Michael S. Hogue: Liberal Religion dysfunctional and unfaithful to its purpose

Hogue nailed this PDF on the home page at Meadville Lombard.

Here are the first four paragraphs. Strong stuff but in a nice Dutch tradition appropriate to a school founded in part by a Dutchman.

Now where Hogue is taking this reformation will be interesting to see,
Liberal religion is in crisis! It always has been and always will be, for crisis is part of the essence of liberalism as a place between extremism and complacency. But our current crisis-nature is nonetheless distinct.

Rather than standing against the hypermodern hubris of our North American individualism, liberal religion is entrenched within this same ethos. Rather than mediating the religious and political extremes in our world, we are paralyzed by our own internal divisions and do not have a theologically purposive vision with which to move beyond them. Instead of witnessing to the constructive increase of justice, love, and wisdom through interfaith community, our public footprint is much too small and we seem to be a register of the world’s religious and moral conflicts rather than a constructive example.

Our crisis is a tragic one, for it turns on an ironic reversal through which our strength, genius, and virtue has become our weakness, our arrogance, and our tragic flaw. As a result, we are failing our historic and contemporary prophetic tasks.

To move beyond our tragic condition, liberal religion needs to re imagine a public theology that is historically faithful and culturally relevant. And doing this depends upon heeding the summons to a New Reformation. For as the powerful hierarchy of the medieval Roman Catholic Church had become dysfunctional, unfaithful to its purpose, so also have we.


cross posted at Pfarrer Streccius

5 comments:

diane said...

Bill, I don't understand what he is saying here, "liberal religion needs to re imagine a public theology that is historically faithful and culturally relevant."

How would he define historically faithful? And, how does a person marry the culturally relevant with the historically faithful since they are often diametrically opposed?

Bill Baar said...

I don't know. I really don't.

I'd like to see him respond to some of these questions.

I sent him an email asking if I could chat with him and have him explain some of this in detail but no response yet.

Bill Baar said...

Can I call you a religous conservative Diane?

A conservative Christian?

If so, it's interesting that you would challange him with this:

How would he define historically faithful? And, how does a person marry the culturally relevant with the historically faithful since they are often diametrically opposed?

It went right past me when I read this earlier.

Spend time in UU Churches and you get used to seeing posters on bulletin boards about reclaiming this or that from the religious right, so I was strike seeing a Liberal Theologian write that there was something within Liberal Theology itself that needed fixing.

And he said it with a seriousness I haven't seen in others who've talked along similar lines.

So I was taken with him... and didn't see this potential contradiction.

In rush...

diane said...

I would consider myself a traditional Christian as "conservative Christian" has taken on a secular, political meaning. Religiously, I have no interest in the figureheads of conservative Christianity, the Jerry Falwells and his ilk who are all law and no gospel. They embarrass me and anger me.

We hold to the tenets and confessions of the church from its beginnings, faith alone, scripure alone.

Chalicechick said...

((all law and no gospel.)))

That's a really nice turn of phrase, Diane.

CC