03 May 2014

TULIPs for the Tolerant

TULIPs for the Tolerant. By Carol Howard Merritt (The Christian Century, 21 April 2014)

Neo-Calvinists are all the rage, but there are many of us who don’t fit that mold. We are the faith of Frances Grimke, Maggie Kuhn, and Mr. Rogers. We have wonderful feminist theologians. We have theologians who think deeply about marriage equality. But our ultra-conservative rep continues. A dear friend recently wrote that she was learning about TULIP in seminary and she was horrified. She didn’t understand how I could believe all that. TULIP was constructed after Calvin. It’s a shorthand that makes the rich history of the Reformed movement palpable in a 50-minute seminary class. Though paltry, TULIP is what most people grasp, so I’ll let you know how I understand it. I may not be able to wrestle the Calvinist microphone from the Baby Boomer, neo-Calvinists who have captured it, but at least I might be able to make some sense out of it for people who automatically equate Calvin and conservative.