Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Albert Mohler and Me: What He Said About Preparing Clergy on Sexuality

Rev. Albert Mohler didn't much like the report we released last week, Sexuality and Religion 2020: Goals for the Next Decade.

He's the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his bio says that Time magazine called him "the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement."

He had this to say:

Evangelical Christians will see this report as further evidence of the theological accommodationism and biblical revisionism that marks liberal Christianity.

He seemed particularly to delight in pointing out that we quoted the influence of queer and feminist theologians in our understanding of scholarship. I guess in his mind that's evidence we are subversive.

But, in an interesting twist, he also definitely got our call for ALL clergy -- regardless of theological or ideology inclination -- to be better trained and better prepared to deal with the sexuality needs of their congregations. That was a major emphasis of our report.

He wrote:

"Evangelical Christians will rightly reject about everything found in this new report from the Religious Institute, but they should not avoid its urgency in calling pastors and Christian leaders to teach and preach about sex and sexuality. It is not enough to know the truth and believe the truth, we are called to preach and teach the whole counsel of God -- and that includes all that God has to say about sex."

Am I naive to think that there might be common ground here? Rev. Mohler, you are the president of a major seminary. We'd be happy to help you assess how your curricula and seminary prepares your future clergy to do just that.

7 comments:

Two Auntees said...

I don't think Albert will take you up on your offer to assess his curricula on the topic of sexuality training. Also, your idea of education on sexuality for religious people and his idea will be very different, sorry to say.

maymay said...

I don't think Albert will take you up on your offer to assess his curricula on the topic of sexuality training. Also, your idea of education on sexuality for religious people and his idea will be very different, sorry to say.

Naturally, but Debra's offer points out exactly what is so hypocritical about Albert in the first place, so making the offer is sound.

Good work, Debra. This is exactly the right response to a religious leader who claims to want to preach the word of God.

Desmond Ravenstone said...

Problem is that his perception of the truth about sexuality, and how to minister to people on it, is extremely narrow. His is still the Victorian/Puritan model of sex as primarily a dangerous force to be contained.

That includes a conservative (or "complementarian") view of gender identity and relationships. He had a major role in drafting the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message, which calls for women to "submit graciously" to their husbands.

Take a closer look also how he's run the SBTS, causing the bulk of the faculty to leave within two years of his being appointed President. Then ask yourself whether dialogue is possible.

Robin Edgar said...

"He had a major role in drafting the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message, which calls for women to "submit graciously" to their husbands."

Talk about pot calling the kettle black. . .

Don't BDSM "Doms" call for women to submit (sometimes quite disgracefully. . .) to them Desmond?

Desmond Ravenstone said...

@Robin:

Shows how little you know about BDSM...

Dominance and submission is not focused on gender; there are female dominants, not to mention same-gender D/s couples.

There is also no single paradigm for D/s relationships, nor do we claim that any such paradigm is commanded by any deity or religious authority.

Above all else, BDSM is rooted in the ethics of consent. Partners come together as equals, and negotiate the terms of their relationship. We don't expect everyone to "do what we do", but we would hope that more couples took the time to talk about what each person wanted, needed and expected of one another.

Debra W. Haffner said...

Robin and Desmond, you're going to have to take YOUR discussion ELSEWHERE. I'm not going to post any more comments between the two of you...and these only went through because I didn't read the first one Robin sent through all the way...

and maymay, exactly. Thank you.

Robin Edgar said...

You didn't read three sentences, only two of them mine. . . "all the way" through Rev. Haffner? Whatever happened to a free and *responsible* search for truth and meaning? I stand 100% behind what I said in my initial comment, as well as my point-by-point rebuttal of Desmond Ravenstone's rather dubious, if not disingenuous, respose to my critical comment. I have posted my rebuttal to my own blog for those who care to read it and so that Desmond Ravenstone can respond to it if he cares to.