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A Spoke in the Wheel: A Conference Report on the Public Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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About Helen Siegl
To Our Visitors:
Thanks for coming to visit this website. It is intended for pastors, lay leaders, scholars, and anyone interested in the future of what we call the "public church" with an accent on those Protestant bodies which continue to trace their theological traditions from the Protestant Reformation.
My own background is with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I operate this website as a personal project but am interested in it becoming a more formal "journal" with a board of advisors and providing a place for other pastors and scholars to publish articles and essays. We would like the assistance of others in formulating the purposes and activities of a Center for Public Theology as an official sponsor of the journal. So contact us with your suggestions.
I began online publishing in 1994 after serving city and suburban congregations in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Bemidji and St. Paul, Minnesota, Chicago, Illinois, and Portland, Oregon.
I have also worked professionally in settings of higher education and public policy planning. I have served as a consultant for planning and decision processes for congregations and church bodies. My wife and I now live in Portland, Oregon.
In the statement below an effort is made to articulate an understanding of faith in current political culture. Please feel free to inquire about anything you see here.
Thanks for visiting!
Religion is the source of great contention in public life today. One form of Christian faith, what is referred to as fundamentalism, evangelicalism, or the religious right, has come to dominate the public sphere. It has aligned itself with one political party and allowed itself to be used by that party in partisan politics. This has tremendously skewed the political culture of our time and threatens the historic witness of the orthodox church.
This website seeks to promote a more responsible form of public faith associated with the historic orthodox theology of the ecumenical Christian church especially in the Protestant tradition stemming from the Reformation. Fundamentalism is a modern perversion of historic Christian faith. Biblical inerrancy, for example, is a modern notion of the holy scriptures. One of the most important theological tasks of our time is to make this clear and to seek to interpret and present historic Christian faith in concepts and terms understandable to modern folks, including a proper role for faith and church in public life. This we seek to do at this website.
Since the Republican Party has chosen to identify itself with the religious right, and since we at this website oppose that theological view, it will seem that we are ourselves promoting the views of Democratic Party. But this is only because we live in a society with a two-party system. If you are against one you appear to be for the other.
We reject absolutisms on either side. We promote the concept of "critical engagement", the church needs to be critically engaged with the issues and powers of the day but ultimately captured by no one party or perspective. To believe in God incarnated in Jesus Christ is to transcend and stand apart from any of the powers of this world. At each moment in history Christians must carefully assess how to be critically engaged in their political context. Christians who are Republican will be able to critique their own party, as should Christians who are Democrats. Neither party, or any political party, is the source of salvation.
Let it simply be said here that our views are motivated from faith first, and politics second, not the other way around. Hopefully the various materials on this website will make this clear.
We invite full participation of all people of faith in the formulation of a public theology appropriate for our times. Let us know what would be helpful to you.
The logo at the top, right, represents the wide variety and diversity of the human multitude.
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