Who do people say I am?

There is a brief but interesting article in the Baptist Standard about the differences between the right and left sides of American Christianity:
WASHINGTON (RNS)—A new report confirmed long-held assumptions about religious activists from the left and right. The only thing both sides seem to have in common: faith is a more important part of their lives than among the general public.

But beyond that, the two poles differ dramatically on political priorities and biblical interpretation.

If you’re a conservative religious activist, you’re likely a male evangelical who reads the Bible literally and views fighting abortion and same-sex marriage as the top political priorities.

On the other hand, if you’re a woman who attends a mainline Protestant church, hold an expansive view of Scripture and think health care and poverty are top priorities, you’re more likely to be labeled a progressive religious activist.
I'll resist poking too much fun at the descriptions, after all, they seem to confirm the basic tension and stereotypes we carry around with us. Unfortunately, the article doesn't delve into the theology of each side, it describes more the social perceptions. I would like to read more about the theology that under girds both poles - this seems more fruitful for finding common ground than the specific policies we argue over.

It also confuses me about what to call our church, Epic: we really don't see ourselves as conservative or liberal. We're not emergent or mainline, just American Baptist. But we're not like Southern Baptists, whom most people associate Baptists with! And in Orange county, anything short of John Piper is liberal, so I know we an look different to many Christians. And that's ok; I'm already used to looking different...

Now we're trying to be a church that is for our city. Perhaps instead of trying to figure out who we think we are, one day the city will tell us whether or not we were a church that loved Fullerton.

*photo by Patrick Dirden


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