What struck us was the group's description, which begins:
If you are a member of a mainstream congregation in a mainline denomination (ex. Lutheran-ELCA, Episcopalian, United Methodist, American Baptist, United Church of Christ, PresbyterianUSA, etc.) it is likely that...So far, so good. They're speaking to us. Here, though, is where it gets really interesting:
...it is likely that you are sick and tired of being held captive by the handful of people these days who seem to have hijacked the Christian faith and turned Jesus into a poker-faced, stick-in-the-mud, my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God, straighten-up-or-else-you’re-going-to-hell, rule-making, line-drawing, fear-mongering, gay-bashing, reason-defying, science-ignoring, flag-waving, saber-rattling, school yard bully. If anybody dares to question this picture of Jesus or suggests that maybe we’ve gotten just a little off track, they are branded. Heretics. Pagans. Traitors. Anti-nomians (don’t ask!). Liberals. Sometimes I wonder why we aren't rising up, in one single fluid we’re-not-going-to-take-this-anymore movement, to shout with our loudest outside voices that THIS IS NOT THE JESUS WE KNOW!Oh dear. The group says it's created by Kelly Fryer herself.
Is that what she really thinks of us?
No, not that she thinks of us that way. We're shocked that anyone could imagine that the ELCA, UCC, Episcopal Church, et al are being "held captive" by that sort of, uh, primitive Christians. Anyway, she continues:
...THIS IS NOT THE JESUS WE KNOW!And you might want to think on that a bit if A.R.E. and Kelly Fryer or her associates are invited to your synod (granted, we've not yet heard of any ELCA gigs for 2010) to help enable you to thrive in the 21st century.
But it’s time.
It is time for us to share the really good news about God’s loving mission to save, heal, forgive, reconcile, and set free the whole creation…and every single person in it. It’s time for us to get the Word out about Jesus, who sought after and welcomed those who had been cast aside; who shared his Table with everyone, no questions asked and no exceptions made; whose radical, reckless love has torn down every wall that separates us from God and from each other.
It is time for us to dare to deliver a message this world of ours is dying to hear.
It is time for those of us who think of ourselves as mainline or progressive Christians to reclaim our evangelical identity.
Good thing we're shellfish. Otherwise, a book called Reclaiming the "E I" Words might hurt.