Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christian Newism

With elements of the Tea Party movement not interested in a moral agenda as opposed to sound fiscal responsibility, the GOP might be on the road to recovery after forty years of phony moral spouting, family value politics. Fundamentalist Christianity may no longer have a strong foothold in the GOP.

With the Vatican imploding over institutionalized criminal child abuse and a total lack of vocations to fill its ranks, where does it go except into the wilderness for another century or two and away from evil modernism and humanity sketched out and framed by Darwin.

The Medieval conservative model that John Paul II pushed for decades has failed. He was wrong. The Spirit was not in sync with his backward looking agenda.

There are voices calling in the wilderness so to speak. There is the New Christianity of Brian McLaren that looks ahead and dates us in a post-modern era of faith.

Postmodernism in architecture is taking us from the glass boxes of a post WWII era to the swirling metal clad buildings of Frank Gehry wrapped around odd shapes and spaces. I have only seen pictures of these structures. Have not been in one yet. The Jury is still out on that one.

There is of course the so called Emergent Church Movement which is trying to move away from the boilerplate theology that worked in the past few centuries and is now dead in the water as far I am concerned. My own minimalism is in some way similar and under the umbrella of such a movement name or description.

The biggest obstacle in a future Christianity is to get people out of their bibles and into the community or being in tune with needs of the community. Social justice should not be a dirty word nor should it be the sole mission on any given church body.

There is a leading voice in this new or future Christianity in Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian. Of the many voices or methods emerging, McLaren’s approach is often criticized as being light in doctrine and in favor of "generosity" and "conversation."

Someone shared their notes with me who attended a McLaren Seminar last week:
The seminar went well and he is a very good speaker as well as author. Never once ruffled my feathers but I was surrounded by pastors and student wannabe pastors of many stripes..mostly mainline prot's. The question and answer sessions were excellent and he never flinched as some were fairly critical of his post modern outlook. He is out there on the far left and that suits me to a tee. Did a half hour on how the churches/propped up and supported slavery in America using the words in the bible as law instead of the words of love of Jesus.
In other words, the bible while perhaps divinely inspired is a document that does not age well in some areas. It dates itself. The bible is outdated in terms of the concept of slavery in this modern, post-modern world.

The future Christianity needs a new softer approach to the bible as word of God, along side and sharing defintion as a truly human document. The God speaking in a dialogue may be perfect. The listeners, the writers are trapped in the prejudice of their age. Some ideas need to be judged within the context and validity of a timeline.

Rereading some of my notes on this subject and in reference to McLaren, I am impressed more on his content, consistant in the face of opposition. It is his planting of seeds and the long term plan that will win his ideas respect over time.

For myself, the Fall, original sin and hell are irrelevant. With the virgin birth and divinity you cannot throw out the myth with the bath water. In terms of a more united Christian message and other world faiths wanting to read Jesus at least in the context of him as a moral teacher as Jefferson addressed him, that is where the Christian faith will be in a few decades.

With the Vatican imploding, and the irrelevance of worshipping the bible instead of using it as a guide to life for the fundies, the biggest problem is in local pastors able to sit down with the church next door so to speak and be tolerant of gaps in another's faith and different from the old pure boiler plate faith that stood for centuries. The street talk has to change with the times. It is not the middle ages.

A paradigm shift is necessary in local pastors to embrace humanity more openly and more clearly and show respect and get respect in return is a step toward establishing the new global town square of the future. That town square needs a minimun of heart felt faith and or religion to function. Whatever religion is, it has been with us for tens of thousands of years. It is how we use it and not let it use us - is the important part of any balanced social equation.

The state of Christianity going forward into the True Global Town Square of All Nations is one that is managed well and from the bottom up in terms of consensus instead of any hierarchy or understanding set in Roman concrete.

It is a whole new world.