One of the biggest challenges to my faith journey has been caused by exposure to the non-denominational, charismatic reformed movement. You might have run across this group. They're self-described as socially liberal but theologically conservative. The New Calvinism Movement (sometimes called The Emerging Church) is essentially concerned with correct doctrine, but it's very difficult to manage a conservative belief system with a socially liberal conscience.
The end result is a mis-mash of contradiction. Consider that they're Young Earth Creationists. They do not believe in evolution, but they're highly educated, college graduates. They believe that women are subservient (now they'll tell you it's separate but equal roles (complementarianism) for men or women, but you won't see a woman be named an Elder in the Church--why? Because it's in the Bible). They are certain that homosexuality is a sin. But they all have cool clothes, tricky hair styles, and they all use Macs. You might see them walking around with a lot of piercings, listening to Coldplay on their iPods, drinking coffee at Starbucks while dissecting the Sopranos or Lost for spiritual truths or amusing teaching moments that can be worked into their sermons or become part of their "witness."
I could respect all of the above and even admire someone for so strictly toeing the line on what the Bible says while still being able to appreciate good rock music or fun TV.
Where my issues start is a relatively innocuous issue, but when one is looking me in the eye and telling me the earth is 6,000 years old, Created by God in 6, 24 days because it says that in Genesis 1, and because the Bible tells me so, I need to believe. Well, at that moment, I don't want to be seeing your Jesus tattoo because I cannot get past Leviticus 19:28 (which says "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.") to concentrate on your discussion of Creationism.
Now I can ignore Leviticus 19:28 because I don't see Evolution and Genesis 1-2 to be contradictory (Evolution is science; Genesis is a theological narrative not meant to explain the how, but the why), but Mr. Creationist surely can't, can he?
Likewise, Mr. Reformed Theology Man cannot in the same breath tell me that I can't be a preacher because Paul wrote "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." (Timothy 2:12) and then turn around and tell me that Paul's admonitions on proper slave behavior no longer pertain to our societal norms.
Finally, the reformed church (and especially one of its most well-known spoke persons) takes a very hard line on homosexuality. It is a sin. It is a choice; it is to be prayed away. But the Reformed Church is very silent on divorce.
So, it's the picking and choosing of the scriptures that give pause. It's fundamentalism in a hipster's cool clothes. It might be all dressed up, but the end game is the same: fundamentalist men seek to control women and the expression of sex. The Emerging Church falls right into place.
My mom tells me not to worry about this stuff. She says that some people who have found Jesus later in life, maybe after a bout with addiction or mental illness need the structure that fundamentalism provides. I can see her point. And I want to be able to say that if it works for them and it's what they need then I'm good with it because it's not hurting me or anyone else and it's providing comfort to that particular believer. But then I read a quote like this:
and I realize that it is hurting not only me, but every other woman of faith. Especially those women who follow the teachings of Mark Driscoll. But more on the Bad Boy of Reformed Theology later. Much more. I promise.