Progressive Fundamentalism

I thought these two articles were interesting conversations on the quest for purity (and for solidarity) on the left side of the evangelical blogosphere that mirror problems that are often highlighted in the more conservative world.

First, there is a fascinating essay on purity in progressive Christianity. Particularly the near requirement of rigid orthodoxy and the toll that takes psychologically on some, at least. Here’s an early paragraph that sets the tone:

The one thing I want to draw attention to his how a purity mentality ran through the leftist and radical groups Aurora worked with. Interestingly, this purity mentality was oriented around a set of “sacred beliefs”–an “orthodoxy.” This is exactly what you see among evangelical Christians. More, this orthodoxy is used to separate “the good guys” from “the bad guys.” Beliefs create warrants for social exclusion, expulsion and scapegoating.

And it happens in every group, I fear.

And here’s a specific example. How individuals and groups deal with allegations of abuse. And particularly related to the controversy about Tony Jones. The specifics of the charges are less my concern than the “circle the wagons” mentality I’ve experienced along the way. Again, I think it’s a sociological phenomenon – we try to protect our “tribe.” We just need to be aware of the tendency.

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