Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meaning of Life, Part 53

If one takes as a norm for Christianity Augustine, Bishop of North Africa in Hippo in the fourth and fifth centuries, how do my beliefs measure up to his standards? Many of his ideas were reflected in Methodist catechism class.

Do I believe in the literalness of the Bible and explain the differences between the gospel writers with the simple observation that "different eyewitnesses normally give different accounts of the same event"? No.

Can I defend the "just war" theory? No.

Does God work miracles at the expense of natural law? No.

Do I believe in the blood atonement? No.

Do I believe in original sin? No. (And, therefore, baptism is not necessary--at least no for that reason.)

Do I believe in predestination? No.

Should clergy be married? My answer is yes, if she or he wants to be and, even more heretical to Augustine, to a person of either gender.

Should there be a hierarchical ordering of the ministry? No.

Is the pope infallible? Answering as a United Methodist, certainly not!

Is God male? No. ...

....In spite of my differences with Augustine and my later repudiation of affirmative answers to all questions asked of me at the Official Board Meeting determining whether or not I could be confirmed at age twelve, can I still call myself a Christian? Yes.

How can that be? Here is my answer.

I believe in Jesus' teachings and I attempt to follow them. pp. 4-5

--Glenna Jackson, "From Hippo to Hippos" in When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys.
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