Friday, July 29, 2011

The Liberal Church: A Tragic Misplacement of Priorities

If you live in the Omaha/Lincoln area, you've no doubt noticed TV commercials promoting the on-air services of First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln. Knowing that the group is part of the United Church of Christ, I wasn't surprised to learn that their website would criticize traditional Christian doctrine or even that it would have links to the Unitarian Church, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

They also have their own in-house ministry which seeks to "make a difference in Lincoln's LGBTQA community." Indeed, regarding the latter point, John Shelby Spong (the Episcopalian bishop whose books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die) praises First Plymouth because "Gay and lesbian people experience complete acceptance and their sacred unions are regularly recognized and blessed" at the place.

The church's doctrinal statement includes such lines as these: "We are Christian, Open-minded, Spiritual, Evolving and Diverse...We are Christian: 'Christian' means we perceive in Jesus the divine qualities of love, peace, joy, and justice. It does not mean we think Jesus is the only path to God...Diverse means we trust that these differences inform and strengthen community. A diverse spiritual community welcomes conventional believers, curious agnostics, and questioning skeptics."

As sad as this all is, it is pretty standard stuff for a UCC church. They have, after all, been notoriously apostate for decades. However, the web site did reveal one brand new folly which rather surprised me. They've hired a former nun to serve as the "Pastor of Animal Ministry." It's a position which oversees such activities as Animal Blessing Sunday (where living animals are consecrated and dead ones are memorialized and prayed for), funeral services for animals, supporting no-kill shelters and rescue groups in the Lincoln community, and so on.

Of course, the church's interest in no-kill policies does not interfere with their support of abortion -- at least not when the lethal violence is directed at human children.

Ironic. Tragic. Foolish. And fully deserving of the divine judgment to come. Pray earnestly for this bunch.