I'm often hesitant to disclose to strangers that I'm a minister. Usually it's met with one of a few responses:
1) shock--I'm a woman, and women can't be ministers
2) affirmation, followed by a litany of assumed beliefs that we must share
These beliefs are usually of the following sort:
1) we're living in the end times
2)the reason we're living in the end times has something to do with the wicked behavior of certain groups (homosexuals, primarily) and God is punishing us for their sin.
Alternately, I may get a response about why someone doesn't believe in God because God has failed to show up and help in the person's life situations.
So I was interested to see an excerpt from Martin's Thielen's book What's the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian in The Thoughtful Christian's catalog. Now I haven't read the book, but I appreciate Thielen's list "Ten Things Christians Don't Need to Believe":
1. God causes cancer, car wrecks, and other catastrophes
2. Good Christians don't doubt
3. True Christians can't believe in evolution
4. Women can't be preachers and must submit to men
5. God cares about saving souls but not about saving trees
6. Bad people will be "Left Behind" and then fry in hell
7. Jews won't make it to heaven
8. Everything in the Bible should be taken literally
9. God loves straight people but not gay people
10. It's OK for Christians to be judgmental and obnoxious.
He goes on to discuss the truly important facets of faith (Jesus' identity, priority, grace, work, example, death, resurrection, legacy, promise, and vision).