Reaching Across the Church Aisle


| 7/9/2008 8:59:30 AM


Tags: spirituality, Christianity, Chistian Churches Together in the USA, ecotheology, poverty,

Wesley Granberg-MichaelsonTo some people, the word “Christians” brings to mind conservative, anti-everything culture warriors. Others think of peace-and-justice activism or the Civil Rights movement. In fact, the U.S. church has long been divided along theological, cultural, and political lines—and the different groups have tended to keep their distance. 

A two-year-old group called Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT) is working to bridge this divide. CCT—an ecumenical group, or one focused on Christian unity across traditions—has brought together an unusually broad group of church denominations to build relationships and to speak with one voice on consensus subjects.

The Reverend Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, convened the group and serves as one of its five presidents. Utne.com spoke with Granberg-Michaelson about CCT’s plans to meet with the president-elect about poverty, as well as about his earlier work as the main Vietnam-era legislative assistant to Sen. Mark Hatfield and as a writer on ecotheology.

CCT has released a pretty concrete policy statement on poverty. Among other things, it calls for a specific target and timeline for reducing child poverty—just the kind of thing that serious anti-poverty advocates are promoting. What did it take for such a broad group to produce this statement?

steve thorngate_21
7/19/2008 6:44:00 PM

I don't know much about specifically Christian arguments for vegetarianism (though the Hebrew Bible creation myths are loaded with fodder for theological speculation on the distinction between plants and animals). Scully's certainly onto something--he presents a case for affording animals some level of dignity w/o conceiving of them as EQUAL to humans, an idea that can appeal to the many (not all) Christians who believe firmly that humans are the highest creation. But most of the anti-meat energy I'm aware of in Christian circles right now is just part of the general organizing around climate change--the energy-, water-, and land-use issues of meat production, etc.


lisa_1
7/17/2008 12:43:44 PM

Great interview, Steve. I enjoyed the discussion about stewardship. Doubtless there will always be Christians who argue for dominion rather than care of the earth and animals, but it's hopeful to see cooperation on issues like global warming and people realizing that environmental degradation leads to human suffering. A related question about Christianity and stewardship--do you know anything about Christian stances on vegetarianism? I've read briefly about Dominion, the vegetarian argument of a former Bush speechwriter ( http://www.matthewscully.com/ ), and I'm wondering if he's a single voice or part of a larger movement. -Lisa Gulya