Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Writing off Christianity?

DairystateDad writes in a comment to an older post:

I question how sweepingly you write off the Mainline churches here & in your other talk/post, the one on secularism. Similarly, I question how sweepingly you seem to write off Christianity in general, especially in that post. Individual Mainline congregations are thriving, as far as I can see -- and often they have a strong and decidedly progressive social justice mission. (DairyStateMom attends one, & it's not the only one by far.) And there's a lot of what I see as positive ferment in pockets of Christianity, in movements like the Emergent Church, which is similarly engaged with missional work that often aligns well with our values as UU s. I wonder what your take is on these developments is... on UU's Living Their Mission

Good ministry is good ministry, whoever does it, and it doesn't much matter what I think of it.

Understand that my basic theological approach is Christian.  I do think that Christianity is a busted brand in the west and largely unconnected with any liberatory impulse.  Too many people have justified too many systems of oppression in the name of Jesus for too long.  So, I believe that it is Good Friday for the church.

I just don't think that our task, as Christians now, is to "defend the faith."  It is to do the work of the faith. It is to have faith -- not loyalty to the historic institutions of the church, not even loyalty to rituals and doctrines and formulations of the church, but simple faith that if we carry on in reverence and gratitude ("loving God") and develop our capacity to act with compassion and justice (loving our neighbor), we might witness the resurrection of the church.  Or not.  After all, at the core of our faith is the belief that death and resurrection is how God works.  But, there is no guarantee that we will see the moment of transformation, ourselves. 

Please understand, DairyDad, that I serve a pretty traditional UU church that says the Lords Prayer weekly, reads the Bible weekly and has a covenant that mentions Jesus, God and Worship, all in one sentence.  And the core of my ministry is preaching and teaching, much more so than the tasks of administrative and institutional leadership to which I give more time than I would like.   But I cannot see the purpose in devoting my preaching and teaching to trying to persuade people that despite all that they can see, that there is a warm, humane, liberating Christianity, now hidden and suppressed, and slowly emerging from the church they have walked away from. 

You can call it "writing it off".  I call it "letting it go."

Let's see what happens next. 


1 comment:

DairyStateDad said...

Thank you very much for the response. It clarifies some things for me that I didn't understand from the posts I responded to... and in point of fact what you wrote here resonates with me. Thanks again.