I am always fascinated by the fact that, at least in many debates over social issues in my own denomination, both sides believe very strongly that they are the embattled minority. It seems kind of in vogue, as it were, to claim that we are the ones who are put upon, that we are suffering persecution for our beliefs under the oppressive regime of those other folks.
I find it a little baffling. I certainly have the perception that I am a minority voice on a few issues. Maybe more than a few if you get down to it. If you’re curious what a couple of those are, read previous posts. What baffles me is that, sometimes in these cases, I am identified as part of the majority. Like I’m part of some awful liberal/secular tide that is sweeping away everything decent and true about Christianity. I promise you, I’m not sweeping away anything. As a student and Inquirer, I’m basically powerless. You’ve got nothing to worry about.
The embattled mentality generally doesn’t seem to serve us well. I think it has the tendency to activate our martyr complexes. “Oh, how we must bear the cross of our convictions in the face of the whips and scourges of the unrighteous who surround us!” And so on. Really, if one side was a true subordinated minority, there would be less debate over these contentious issues. There’d be maybe a little knot of resistance and the denomination would move on. Like me attending anti-war rallies. The country still marches into its designer wars, generally unmoved.
The reality is, on many contentious issues in the PCUSA (the PUP report for example), the split comes down to something close to 50/50. Not exactly, but there are a lot of close votes in Presbytery and Synod meetings I’ve been to and GA meetings that I hear about from delegates. This tends to polarize both sides, and the fighting becomes more bitter because it is seemingly intractable.
I guess I’d prefer a situation where, rather than talking about how powerful those who oppose us are, we talked about how we could relinquish our own coercive power in favor of the power of persuasion and, if we’re right, the Holy Spirit. That would be preferable.