Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeremiah Wright is not the issue!

If I hear one more cable news or talk show host broadcasting the lies of Jeremiah Wright, I think I'll--change channels. White, mainstream liberal Protestant congregations have been hearing a just-as-damaging, more quiet, less call-and-response version of liberation theology since the early 1960s. Catholic Leftists Priests started it in South America in the 1950s, and bored Protestants who didn't think Marxism could be evil, picked up the theme for their various movements. They've always been sympathetic to Castro, to radical labor movements, and La Raza and the sanctuary movement. Wake up O'Reilly and Hannity--we've been hearing this for fifty years!

James Cone developed and refined liberation theology further with his book calling it black liberation theology in 1969. The feminists picked it up in the 1970s, and the environmentalists, vegans, animal rightists and America-for-illegals folks within the church also have used it as a spring board for organizing and action.

It would seem that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the "Good News," God's plan for redemption of the world, one sinner at a time as the message of faith is created by the Holy Spirit in the believer, is just not flashy enough to make the news! But the ground work had been laid a hundred years before in the seminaries, first in Europe and then the United States. We Americans had "the social gospel" which shifted the burden of individual sin to the shoulders of social, institutional or corporate evil. You might say the preaching of the "gap gospel" that is pervasive in political speeches, tax plans, and protestant pulpits got its start right here in Columbus with Washington Gladden (1836-1918) at the First Congregational Church (forerunner denomination of UCC, Rev. Wright's group). Gladden taught that the teachings of Jesus were about the right ordering of society. Really, he could be Wright's mentor. The various liberal social movements and redefining of whole passages of Scripture gave rise to the Fundamentalists, and then the Evangelicals, attempting to correct or balance it. But even some of them, like Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life, Purpose Drive Church) have gone looking for an ambulance at the bottom instead of a fence at the top of the cliff in the late 20th century, abandoning the clear meaning of salvation for a less confining social gospel.

Feminists don't like the "oppressive patriarchal language" of the God-head, so in Protestant gatherings (conservatives stay home) we get nonsense like this from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori saying Jesus isn't the only way to heaven because, she believes it would "put God in an awfully small box," and that "human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings." The Presbyterian Church USA’s 2006 General Assembly approved a document, "The Trinity: God’s Love Overflowing," which offered words for the Trinity such as "Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb." The document only specifies the use of God-—Father, Son and
Holy Spirit—-in the baptismal formula, but I'm sure that will be tossed too within the decade. I've been hearing this bastardization of Scripture at Lakeside from the summer Methodist programs for years, praying to Mother-Father God and Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom--so much so I don't even attend their gatherings in the auditorium on Sundays anymore. It's not worth the spike in my blood pressure (which is usually 118/65).

When liberation theology knocked on the door of the seminaries in the 1950s and 1960s asking for a hand-out from the plate of humanism and the cup of social gospel, it soon ate their lunch. In my Lutheran denomination, ELCA (headquarters in Chicago), they can beat up the English language surpassing even Bill Clinton in not being able to determine "what the meaning of IS is." They have repackaged Galatians and Genesis both, redefining the Law and Gospel as well as marriage.

"One of the tasks of black theology, says [James] Cone, is to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of oppressed blacks. For Cone, no theology is Christian theology unless it arises from oppressed communities and interprets Jesus' work as that of liberation. Christian theology is understood in terms of systemic and structural relationships between two main groups: victims (the oppressed) and victimizers (oppressors). In Cone's context, writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the great event of Christ's liberation was freeing African Americans from the centuries-old tyranny of white racism and white oppression." The Marxist roots of Black Liberation Theology

Truly, Jeremiah Wright is a prophet in reverse--he's reminding us again and again, how far we have fallen in our seminaries and churches, and what it will take to climb out of the pit. I do not doubt his salvation, but I do question his friendship with Barack Obama, who can't help but be hurt by his eagerness to be in the spot light.


Anonymous said...

you must be exhusted...mind the blood pressure know and remember it is all the same God,the details are different... when did it get so complicated for you... I am now glad to be too dumb in figure it out..

Norma said...

Figuring out Marxism's link with liberation theology doesn't take a lot of thought or research. It's really sort of boring.