Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Pope Francis Is NOT A Champion Of The Marginalized

Pope Francis has, by and large, been lauded by many progressive Christians since the earliest days of his papacy– I have been one of them. In fact, in 2015 I was interviewed by CNN as one of a variety of non-Catholic faith leaders who liked and respected him, even going so far as to say I had a “bromance” with him.

There are certainly a host of things to like and celebrate about Pope Francis, most especially when viewing those things in comparison to his predecessors. Some times, appreciating qualities of a leader is not absolute but is often relative. From washing the feet of prisoners, consistently speaking out in defense of the poor, to his more humble life that includes simple garb, sneaking out for pizza, and living in a normal apartment; I can find no shortage of things to appreciate about him. Because of some of these unique acts and qualities, the Pope has often been hailed as a hero of the marginalized, as if he is a shining example of what standing in defense of the vulnerable look like.

But unfortunately, that’s not true. As I continue to listen and learn from voices within marginalized communities, and as I push myself to dig deeper into issues of intersectionality when it comes to risk and marginalization, I am more and more aware that Pope Francis is no hero to the marginalized.

Not at all.

One cannot claim to stand for the marginalized and oppressed while continuing to stigmatize and contribute to the very factors that lead to one becoming marginalized. For example, the Pope recently stated that teaching children what it means to be transgender was “terrible” and a “war against marriage.” These types of statements show that while the Pope puts on a good front for many people pushed to the shadows of society, he still does not understand how many of the end up there.

The process of marginalization– pushing a certain group of people to the edge of society– often begins with how we speak about them. Negative language, derogatory terms, misrepresenting who they are, or ignorantly or falsely describing their desires and motivation, are one of the key ways by which the process of marginalization begins.

As these negative stereotypes, biases, and misinformation about various groups take root and permeate through culture, individuals end up either pushed to the margins of society, or are denied ever being included as a full and equal part of it to begin with.

And what happens then?

Once a people group begin to find themselves marginalized, things have a way of always getting worse. While stigmatization (beginning with the language we use) gives birth to progressive marginalization, marginalization often gives way to things like criminalization or destitution. When one is either poor, has limited access to physical or societal resources, has drastically reduced or limited opportunities in comparison to the average member of society, and/or is verbally maligned by society at large, they often find themselves in the difficult position of destitution or surviving via activities that for them are necessary, but for society are criminalized. Usually activities that those outside of a marginalized population don’t have to engage in if they don’t choose to, which makes the criminalization factor even more oppressive since it is largely only these marginalized groups who are affected. And of course, as we all know, once you have been criminalized life can get a lot harder moving forward.

The net result of this process of stigmatization leading to marginalization, followed by criminalization or destitution, is that it creates a vicious cycle where people have no way out. No hope. For many, life’s trajectory only moves in one direction: progressively worse.

While I applaud many of the overtures Pope Francis has made toward the poor and oppressed, the sad reality is that he is playing a role in how some of them get there to begin with. In addition, those who hear, internalize, and repeat some of the negative language or stereotypes he has made about marginalized communities, are doing the same.

Until the Pope is ready to fully embrace and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, until he calls on everyone to welcome them in as full and equal members of the church and of culture– and certainly as long as he continues to make disparaging remarks about them– Pope Francis is no champion of the marginalized.

He’s actually contributing to their marginalization.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  • When someone shows me that a LBGTQ person is harmful to mankind, only because (s)he feels and acts LBGTQ, beyond sanctimoniously being believed to be abominable to God/Allah, then I will accept “the Pope recently stated that teaching children what it means to be transgender was “terrible” and a “war against marriage” as the Pope being a champion for mankind. War is a war against marriage, in and of itself. Marriage between a fertile male and fertile female serves only to propagate the carnal species of mankind, and in the Pope’s case populate his church. There is no marriage in heaven.

  • Good stuff. Keep it up. Found a typo:
    “These types of statements show that while the Pope puts on a good front for many people pushed to the shadows of society, he still does not understand how many of the[m] end up there.”

  • You said, “For example, the Pope recently stated that teaching children what it means to be transgender was “terrible” and a “war against marriage.” These types of statements show that while the Pope puts on a good front for many people pushed to the shadows of society, he still does not understand how many of the end up there.” The Pope is simply being true to his Catholic beliefs.

    You said. “Until the Pope is ready to fully embrace and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, until he calls on everyone to welcome them in as full and equal members of the church and of culture– and certainly as long as he continues to make disparaging remarks about them– Pope Francis is no champion of the marginalized.” That no Pope will ever do. You simply do not understand Catholicism

    • Having studied the farce that was the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control, two things come to mind:

      1) He is not necessarily being true to his Catholic beliefs — he is reinforcing upper Catholic hierarchical doctrine. What those lower on the hierarchy believe is often at odds with the upper authority figures.

      2) The Pope reserves authority which can be used to create or contradict doctrine, and some popes have exercised it broadly.

      The TLDR version of the Commission was Pope John the 23rd created a commission to determine if there was any scriptural basis for prohibiting birth control. Laypeople said no. Pope Paul the Sixth, having newly taken over, didn’t like that answer and had theologians reexamine their findings. The theologians returned a vote to abolish the prohibition. The Pope decided otherwise, siding with a minority dissent which was, I quote, “The Church cannot change her answer because this answer is true.” The minority argued strenuously that being wrong meant being wrong, and they were literally incapable of being wrong. The Pope liked that answer, rejected the majority view, and the ban stands to this day.

      Papal authority is always a thing when it reinforces oppression, never possible when it upholds justice.

  • What you have shown is that Pope Francis is a champion of the marginalised with a blind spot about LGBT people brought about by one aspect of his Catholic faith. Don’t fall prey to the small child’s fault of oscillating between blind hero worship and bitter feelings of betrayal because you find your idol is only human and imperfect after all.

    • Effectively calling someone out for a bad behavior can be nerfed into complete inefficacy by a need to equivocate in order to seem fair.

      When criticizing, it is not necessary to find something nice to say first. Often, that just confuses the audience as well as the subject, and the original point is lost.

  • If the CEOs of HRC, the Victory Fund and the Task Force lived simply on the salary of Francis (€ 35,000/yr), I would take this all much more seriously.

  • Have we debased ourselves to the point where we consider free sexual expression as more important than food and shelter, healthcare and education, the right to a decent job for decent pay? If we only allowed LBGTQ people, or any other minority in our population, to compete equally as cutthroats in the neoliberal capitalist playing field of “hunger games,” would that be enough to satisfy our thirst (or God’s thirst) for justice and righteousness? The Catholic Church has a long history of conservatism in the area of human sexuality, one I disagree with in many ways, including its failure to fully embrace LBGTQ people. But it also has a long history of speaking out on behalf of the economically vulnerable and exploited. Are you seriously contending that the former trumps the latter? THIS is the weakness of today’s left.

    • It is not the weakness of the Left, particularly the labor movement and agents of economic justice which receive much stronger support from the Catholic Church than the leading LGBT organizations (HRC recently stood almost alone of the major civil rights groups in not supporting worker rights in Mississippi).

      Our LGBT national advocacy groups have been very weak on economic justice.

    • I’d be curious to hear your examination of the prose Those Who Walk Away From Omelas. The premise is that a city of people live in complete utopia, with all of their needs and desires met to satisfaction — but at the cost of one citizen living in abject misery. It’s a contest of utilitarianism against other systems of morality. At what point does a system which benefits the majority become a system in which the majority have sold their souls for comfort?

  • Corey seems to think that he or those of his ilk are the model for right thinking. The fact that the Church does not consider any people including atheists or enemies of the Church as lesser in any way must be first understood by him. The Church loudly proclaim that homosexual acts,infidelity, incest etc.are sinful and should be avoided. Jesus said lust is a sin .Does it mean that he taught that such persons should be hated or treated as lesser ? Not at all. If Corey loves LGBT ,he is free to accommodate them,offer food and clothing We are all taught to be helpful and not hateful. People who criticise Mother Teresa do not like to touch a dirty worm infested poor person lying in the street. Please be good and constructive in criticism.

  • This isn’t like you normally, Benjamin. I too have been dumbfounded at some of the statements Pope Francis has made; he sounds so very UNCatholic! Most of the time.

    I still view myself as a protestant who is against many of the false doctrines of Catholicism, though I have learnt to accept individuals in the RC church who have the same faith in Jesus that I have. ‘People are more important than theology’ is one of my mantras, though I love discussing theology until the cows come home.

    Change in church is a very slow process, as I’m sure you know from your studies of our history. The RC church is probably about the slowest to change, if ever! Accept that he’s being much more accessible and is reaching out to different groups and take it as a positive. I wish that attitudes would change in protestant churches too, but ingrained ‘fear and misunderstanding’ will always make us drag our heels behind any forward movement. Patience IS a virtue. I hope for a day that even in non-affirming churches, LGBT people would be accepted as actual humans in need of Jesus too, and not societal pariahs that must be condemned. That’s not coming soon, I’m afraid. Faith fails me in that field.

  • ‘Until the Pope is ready to fully embrace and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters…’

    – could you clarify precisely what you mean by this? That is, spell out what specific actions you expect the Pope to take for you to view him as being on the side of the marginalised?

    • “…spell out what specific actions you expect the Pope to take for you to view him as being on the side of the marginalized?”

      I can’t speak for Ben, but retracting the following might be a good place to start, “…the Pope recently stated that teaching children what it means to be transgender was ‘terrible’ and a ‘war against marriage.'”

  • The Pope is in a temporary position as head of the Church and can only do so much. The doctrine of the Catholic Church is and must remain stable and unchangeable. We support the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage, and while it’s definition has been legally muddied, it remains the same within the confines of the Church. Render unto Caesar… In spite of what some in the media claim, the Church does not preach hatred but rather love of all mankind. Catholic Charities does not ask whether the recipients of it’s considerable assistance are Christian or heterosexual. They simply do God’s work by feeding, clothing and sheltering the poor.

    • Many years back, a solitary Pope held the power in his hands to abolish the ban on birth control. He chose not to, contravening the majority opinion of a Pontifical Commission.

      Somehow, the Pope never has power to end injustice, only perpetuate it…

  • My God Ben…this is so ridiculous. I feel like all you ever do is condemn and point out the flaws in everyone and just look for the negative qualities to demean. Look at all the good things Pope Francis has done…why not write an article on that? If we’re going to look for people who 100% line up with us, the only place we’ll find it is in the mirror. Is Pope Francis perfect in all that he does? No. And neither is anyone else. We all have room to grow. But I have been so encouraged by this Pope in a time where religious leaders are shamelessly following Trump and destroying any credibility they have, and I am frustrated that you mention all the good things he has done just as an afterthought to prove your point. Pope Francis is a champion of the marginalized, and to try to police what that means and demand perfection just makes you a Pharisee

    • Sherlang, don’t you think that if someone leads 1.2 billion people in the world today that open criticism is required when (s)he does marginalize a very significant percentage of the world without just cause? There are approximately 9 million people in the USA, alone, who openly identify as LGBTQ and, we know, a whole lot more in the closet. The world is full of those abominations who do no harm in being just LGBTQ; such as does those in greater numbers having other gods before God, worshiping graven images, taking the Lord’s name in vain, not remembering the Sabbath, not honoring their parents, murdering, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, coveting, intimidating, manipulating, subjugating, and not worshiping God in the Spirit only. Oh, to sum it up, in everything doing to all others as they would have all others do to them.

      Why do you use the extreme word “condemn” rather than “criticize”? Why do you try to associate Dr. Corey’s authority with the authority of a Pharisee? I have read and reread this article and find nothing calling for the condemnation of Pope Francis, nor an implication by Ben that he believes he has the authority to do so.

      I hope you were able to get your excess Pope pity out with this comment of yours so that you are not having to call out the Vatican military to string up all who call out the “Pope” for destructive errors to the health of mankind. 1.2 billion followers is a sizable junk of this earth’s 7.5 billion population, of all too easily hysterical human beings, to risk stirring things up as a lynch mob against LGBTQ people. The neo-Nazis and fundamentalist Christians/Jihadists do enough damage already in this world today, without the Pope’s help. It took far less to vote to string up Christ in place of Barabbas, inspired by Caiaphas’ efforts to marginalize the followers of Jesus.

      The Pope is clearly not the least exalted personage on earth today, ultimately by his choice to accept, though he has made significant positive steps at personal humility and service to the world compared to other tyrant Popes. The problem I see here is that he only momentarily steps down from his influential position over billions, to immediately step back up, still wearing the regalia of a very high office of authority. It would have behooved us all if Caiaphas had at least done so, as this Pope has, by stepping down momentarily to wash Jesus’ feet in recognition of God’s spirit in the room. The high priest, reigning for the last 1,984 years, was laid flat to be pinned on his cross wearing rags, to earn all knowing authority in heaven and on earth then, today and forever, according to the Pope’s sacred guidebook.

      The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

      Matthew 23:11-12 (NIV2011)

    • “Pope Francis is a champion of the marginalized”

      In what way? And if the definition of marginalized doesn’t include the LGBTQ, it is not good enough.

    • “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Parable of the faithful servant, Luke 12:35-48. The Pope is, religiously, one of the most, if not THE most influential, powerful leaders in the church. His influence reaches far beyond the Catholic Church. It’s been 2000 years, plenty of time to get this whole following Jesus thing down. He needs to step up and declare the radical nature of the inclusive love of God for all people. Nothing would please me more than to see the Pope “out-Jesus” the likes of Jerry Falwell, Robert Gagnon and James Dobson.

  • Meh. …he’s been disappointing on the child abuse front as well.

    He’s supporting his mate in Australia who’s up on charges and who has a history of supporting abusive priests and blaming victims.

    A lot of it is PR.

    • Oh, do I have a most despicable thought crossing my mind regarding ineffective contraception and deciding how a woman must use her body in the name of the church.

  • “Until the Pope is ready to fully embrace and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters”

    Never gonna happen. Not going to see women ordained into the priesthood either. Or the church change its stance on birth control and abortion.

    • … then he will never be fully embraced by direct followers of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church will be criticized until the earth is no more.

  • So I’m curious: is it not possible to speak against any particular behavior, and to warn people about the dangers thereof, without being guilty of “marginalizing” people?

  • “Until the Pope is ready to fully embrace and affirm our racist brothers and sisters, until he calls on everyone to welcome them in as full and equal members of the church and of culture– and certainly as long as he continues to make disparaging remarks about them– Pope Francis is no champion of the marginalized.”

    Sir, I am genuinely curious… would you agree with and stand by your above sentiment, given the slight edit I made?

    If not, then might we agree that your real issue is not whether we marginalize people, but rather on on what basis it is proper for certain people’s views and behaviors to be stigmatized and/or marginalized?

    • I think you raise a good point, and I hope used stick around to defend it. But I think that the big difference is that the racist, or rather the supremacist I know you didn’t say that, though are for limiting the liberties of other classes of people. I don’t know that this is the same as the lgbtq community.

      In which case, I don’t really see a problem with opposing the ideologies of those looking to limit the freedoms of other people. And, I wouldn’t call that the same thing is marginalization.

    • I’ve seen things like this before, but they’re not particularly apt comparisons. The LGBT+ community and those who reject it are not opposites; the opposite of people who reject the LGBT+ community are people who reject the cisgender, heterosexual community.

      Similarly, the opposite of people who oppose the right of gay people to marry is not gay people, it would be people who oppose the right of straight people to marry.

      When someone equates bigotry with the targets of that bigotry, it suggests that having the audacity to exist is equally as harmful as persecution.

  • Let’s not forget that we are all……..yes that’s right all….. made in the image and likeness of G-D – what that says about G-D raises more questions about G-D and us, than it answers. And for that i praise G-D. It means we can not assume we know very much at all; that our gender definitions are just that – ours – born to wall our egos and reinforce our tribe in self-righteousness. Let’s not fool ourselves that intellectual assent to any doctrine alone cuts the mustard. Jesus never mentioned doctrine when speaking of marks of his followers – only the fruit of discipleship, behaviour, and we are called to love G-D and our neighbour as ourselves. It saddens me that PT Barnum’s show should be seen as a ‘celebration of humanity’ in its acceptance of difference (The Greatest Showman’), and we are seen as a bunch of elites and excluders.

  • Benjamin Corey seems to think that LGBT people should not be told that their sexual acts are sinful just to avoid marginalisation. And those who are not LGBT should not consider that marriage is anything sacred. In effect people ,rather Christians,need not think sexual lust or acts are anyway sinful.
    There are many like Damien and M. Teresa who served all types of people without “margin”. Can Corey think of accommodating few LGBT and few lepers in his house to teach the world about mon- marginalisation

  • I debated about whether or not to post this on here — but here goes. I know many gay individuals – hundreds in fact. I have met and talked with everything from men who work for hire as male strippers/prostitutes, to men married to women who have renounced their homosexual past (and their former husband of 17 years). I’ve known men committed to one another for decades, and men who look for the next latest greatest sexual thrill all the time. One thing I think is interesting in reading arguments on sites like this is the idea that this group “gay people” can be treated as some kind of monolith – like “all gay people and their experiences are the same – and let me tell you just how we should treat them.” Just think if you tried to make that same argument.. only about straight people and what straight people really want and how the church should treat straight people, etc. etc. Kinda silly huh. Yea — kinda silly for sure. I read a book titled “Velvet Rage” which is about the gay experience – it resonated with me. There are some generalizations which seem to hold true – gay relationships tend to be shorter, there is unhappiness and despair in many gay men and women, feeling accepted in the broader culture continues to be an issue (family, work life, friends, etc.) — I mean think about it. Gay individuals do not participate in the “traditional life.” They typically (unless they hide their nature) do not have the common step stones of life – a marriage celebrated by family and the broader culture, having kids and raising a family with the support of a faith community and the culture, an extended family which adopts and takes in your spouse as a family member, etc. etc. So yes, inherently in gay identity, you will feel like an outsider — you are not having the same experiences as your peers your same age and often you have a family/community that not only does not support your significant other, but is actually GLAD when you have relationship issues or break-up. It’s the opposite of support. Gay men and women are not inherently politically on the left. Think if you were to assert any such notion about straight people – straight people support conservative politics… really? Umm, I don’t think you can categorize all straight people as anything… likewise gay individuals – I mean, think about it. So, indeed, the lives of gay men and women cannot be summed up by either side into points of argument and debate. It just doesn’t work with real people. I am confident in God though – his forgiveness through Christ offered at the cross for all. His death given for me – and offered to me in baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I am confident of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ. Arguments over affirmation/understanding/acceptance/repentance notwithstanding and completely irrelevant.

  • I DO have a lot of time on my hands, but I REALLY don’t have the time to catch up with all the conversations going on here. I’ve joined in a few but I’m moving on now, thanks.

    I am NOT an affirming Christian. I have read the theology behind the arguments. I am not convinced. However, I have always said that ‘people are more important than theology’. My real gripe has always been the selective nature of ‘calling out sin’ – when I challenge anyone I know to also warn the very rich about how their wealth will exclude THEM from heaven, I am laughed at or dismissed with an excuse! Inconsistency and hypocrisy abound!

    Here’s my most latest blog: http://wp.me/p2FH9L-tF

    • affirm
      verb
      1. state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly.
      2. offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement.

      life affirming
      adjective
      1. making you feel happy and positive about life

      Christianity
      noun
      the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.

      Christian
      adjective
      1. relating to or professing Christianity or its teachings.
      noun
      1. a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

      Tim, by all definitions, outside of the authority of carnal churches anointing themselves each as the true gatekeeper to the kingdom, just in what you’ve “always said that ‘people are more important than theology’” seems to make you “an affirming Christian“, in my humble judgment. The last commandment, just after the love one’s enemy lesson, Jesus gave to His disciples was to love one another.

      I read your latest blog. From it, it seems to me that you sincerely do actively have tolerance, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness for your sister and brother disciples, your good neighbors, and as much for your enemies as they will allow. As one touting a belief in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth you would be defined as much a Christian as any on earth. As one offering someone emotional support or encouragement you would be defined, as much as any Christian on this earth, as affirming.

      Leave those who study God (theologians) to define for themselves but not for you. There is only one sure Teacher of all relationship in life eternal for sibling students (disciples) who follow Christ, or are seeking to follow Christ. There is only one sure Judge, with all authority on earth and in heaven, who can determine and instruct, as the only experienced divine Son of Man/Son of God, what a transgression of divine law (sin) is. Most of us can rest assured that the law is summed up in everything to do to others as we would have others do to us. You seem to be doing just that as much as any child of God would be expected by her/his Father at such a young age within eternity.

      The sad part of having to defend continuing to be very rich requires ignoring that all the resources, education, nutrition, shelter and nurture it took to be competently wealthy was given to each without merit in their childhood; they did not earn it. The majority of the world’s people were not graced all it takes to be excessively rich. It is not what we’ve each been graced that determines eternal life but how we use it.

      He isn’t perfect but I honestly have to say that Bill Gates, as only one example for there are more, is and has done to others as he would have others do to him, regardless of his responsibility to overwhelming wealth at his disposal. He doesn’t ignore that he did not earn what he has, though he worked very hard at it exchanging a very productive product for others, and he has made more people rich throughout his business life than any other person of material wealth. He is no saint but, then, sainthood is highly overrated and only bestowed upon mankind by mankind.

      Let the Lord lead you to whom can use a little shaking to wake them up to his presence. Meanwhile, continue being a life affirming source for all who you can have tolerance, empathy, compassion and forgiveness for and we will all be better for it. Thank you! Love you!

      • Thank you very much, Herm. I always enjoy reading your comments, but I’m especially grateful for this encouragement. I may be on a journey. Many who are back at where I started are shaking their heads and tutting as they think I’m wandering ‘away’ from truth. Truth is, I was never really comfortable in the little sheltered spot they carved out for themselves and the fire they lit, which is not big enough for all the strangers to join. I might never find another sheltered place for myself until that glorious day, but if so, then let it be so. Maybe I was born under a wandering star lol.

        As a good younger brother of mine always says, “His grace is big enough for all of us”.

  • Ben we agree a lot and I find many of your posts inspirational and worth sharing. But I have to disagree here. I say this as an LGBT Christian: one need not stand for totality to be worth looking up to. Are we to dismiss Ghandi for his racist writings, despite his awe-inspiring work in nonviolence? Or Dr King for calling Homosexuality a ‘problem’ [lets not get into the debate of whether he would’ve changed his mind in modern times].

    If the Pope still has — lets put it mildly — some indelicate things to say about LGBT, so be it I suppose. Do I like it? No, of course not. But I have bigger problems at home, like a president who recently promised to fight for LGBT rights — only to ban the T in the LGBT from the military. This recent Pope is, by any account, a refreshing change of course for an institution recently caught up in the biggest child abuse scandal perhaps in history. Everything you say is correct. Words like these from a powerful man have an effect and may in the long run, harm me and my friends. But one can’t throw it all in the dustbin because of that.

  • It can’t be easy to be meaningfully ‘progressive’ while heading the most conservative institution on the planet.

    • Discuss acting up? I got your reply on my notificationsite but it’s not showing up here. *sigh*. Hope this gets to you.
      Thanks for your reply! Would you like to go into more detail about What do you mean by
      “my view of history is influenced heavily by

      – Marx,
      – Engels,
      – Lenin and
      – Trotsky.”

      I realized I didn’t know what syncretism is: according to a reference I looked at Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions.

      I wondered what a ‘full Christian confession’ is. I found this definition;
      Asking God for the Holy Spirit’s help to examine your conscience well by prayerfully reviewing your conduct in light of the commandments and the example of Christ.

      Now I’m curious about what you think a full Christian confession is?

      I’ve not been exposed to “the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ”
      I think you wrote that this “teaches me to read that book as a kingdom-of-God critique/manifesto by which Christians in any time and place can assess their faithfulness/faithlessness to Christ in terms of conformity to her Lord or to the fallen and demonic powers of this age.”

      A tool for research, I like, is the one mentioned in the proverb 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

      I feel The internet Fellowship is maybe such a tool or at least a supplement to Fellowship of like-minded, with history of church involvement, similar education, equipped to have a conversation. one might have had such in physical church or religious academic institutions if one were still connected.
      there is reason & wisdom one has stopped being enchanted/enthralled.
      one may have a good conversation in common with Those who are challenging the status quo. “out of the ashes a new Narrative of self may arise”-Anne Schaef-Wilson

      Until you mentioned him I never have looked into Leslie Newbigen although I’ve heard the name before. According to Wikipedia He(Leslie Newbigen) is especially remembered for the time after he returned to England from his long missionary service and travel, when he tried to communicate the serious need for the church to once again take the Gospel to post-Christian Western culture, which he viewed not as a secular society without gods but as a pagan society with false gods’ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23eccbaa54f0092d29f56bfff8748e75ecdc3f0d654fc5a502c1872f70c8c2ca.jpg
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d82d65437e8f11e8c2e84919198d136d5ee0cc47ce84f8c5eedda0256e446bc.jpg
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fc888dfce438ec1ccd5df23e2d64e907d56b54b6d53c4fd0d2c97f99a0a6963.jpg
      I like that very much about him!! It seems to me his time out of the Western World had been the equivalent of being given the burning coal treatment / Isaiah six 6:6

      Here is a quote I found on a Blog I read recently:
      ‘No matter how awesome and pragmatic your idea is, they’ll always be perceived by the general public through a filter of lies which contradict it, and it will have to be actualized within a society that is fully blinkered by narratives tilted to favor the ruling class. This is why fighting the propaganda machine is the single most practical thing that we can do to create a healthy world.-Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz

      You wrote: “For me, kingdom is the core Biblical motif, and a GENUINELY social[ist] perspective [in my opinion] is the best representation of that kingdom.”

      I did a little bit of studying about motifs per your suggestion. Here are a few Motifs that seemed interesting to pursue:

      The core confession –
      1.Christ died,
      2.Christ is risen,
      3.Christ is coming again.
      4.We all reflect God’s character differently.
      5.the attribute ‘justice.’

      Christians seem to represent the best and worst of humanity.
      6.By their confession, they’re bound to be the presence of Christ to the world.
      7.By practice, they too often embody the [demonic] world [systems & institutions].
      8. The reality of the Kingdom being here and yet coming more to be revealed.
      Luke 17. 20,21
      20When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. 21Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or‘There it is.’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

      Christian history:
      8.mediate a strained course between God’s kingdom and the kingdoms of this world.
      9.I wish I knew more about gnosticism!! How is it different from syncretism?
      I crave getting into conversations about:
      10. Progressive Christians, those that have walked away from organized religions and physical churches, the dones the nones, the millennials and the future of identity politics with regard to religion.

      10. You pose a very good question of; ‘why must I always have loving and hating relationship with Christianity?” I myself am in recovery from religious abuse, near cult experiences and and cult experiences. I think there is a demonic element to all of our institutions. Addictions to power and control and substance addiction is at the heart of fetishization, obsession and compulsion in my humble opinion.

      “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.”
      -Karl Marx
      Colonization:
      11.The status to which the US relegates other nations under the false flag of ‘liberation,’

      12.[allegiance to ]beastly policies of Rome

    • Hello again!! I just want to let you know that I’m studying the post you sent and finding some old and new inspiration from such. It will take me awhile to respond and comment. Meanwhile here is some of my latest thinking regarding my issues about bringing the kingdom and justice closer to perfection in the world.

      I think just as there is Kingdom Within one There is an enemy within one. Unresolved patterns of abuse and self-abuse that go on for Generations, triggers, flashbacks, addiction to substances and behaviors that require constant commitment to recovery and cannot be completely healed. per Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
      But how!!!

      This is a post from today’s blog experimental theology. The rest of the discussion can be found here:
      http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2017/08/on-tribes-tribalism-and-self-criticism.html https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95e98967154b82019b17e53c20a432b99b5f0fbbed92ce66b82bfa52868f29b5.jpg

  • Books from BLC:

    >