I’m still at our Presbytery meeting in Mercedes, Texas. We had three candidates for ministry presented yesterday. The same two people grilled all three with questions about the Trinity and atonement. One man asked about the infallibility of scripture and then walked back to his seat smirking as the poor candidates squirmed.
Sometimes I get too angry to respond constructively. Some of these candidates are shaking in fear. I have always hated bullying and, to me, using religion to bully others is the most pathetic thing a person can do. My first impulse is to look for the jawbone of an ass and clear the room like Samson. But then the spirit of Gandhi pokes me and whispers. “Only kindness can dispel hatred.” I tell him to shut up, and let me be Samson just once, but, alas, he always wins in the end.
It’s very clear that such gauntlets are only for those who try to use inclusive theology in their statements of faith. When candidates give a statement of faith that has sexist language for God, or implies that only Christians will avoid eternal torture, they are accepted without question.
One thing has become clear in my thirty years of serving the church. When most people say the word “God” they have in mind an enlarged image of themselves.