bonar crump

bonar crump
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wind of Change

The atmosphere surrounding contemporary modes of Western Christianity is like a fogbank of uncertainty and criticism. We are antsy about the decline of mainstream Christianity. Tradition tells us that certain fundamentals are necessary to uphold the integrity of our beliefs. Fundamentalists champion the beliefs that they rely on as the “rock” upon which their house is built. In contrast, challengers of the fundamentals come off as relativists bearing homemade signs that read “OCCUPY THE CHURCH”. The lines have been drawn. Weapons have been chosen. The conflict is real.

Does any of it really matter? I don’t know—maybe not. But the sense that I get from meeting with laity and clergy ages 45 and under is that traditional means of Christianity are proving less and less relevant to their personal lives and to the world around us, in general. Is it fair to simply dismiss this perception as the lazy misguided apathy of an “occupy” generation anxious to engage life from a relativistic perspective? Can we afford to write off these folks who have become more and more accepting of homosexual lifestyles and impressed by secular movements of social change?

Righteous indignation—acting in accord with divine or moral law. What happens when each group professes contradictory divine or moral law? Does the advantage always go to the traditional sect of belief based on seniority?

Revolution—a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Is traditional Christianity in the throes of a revolution? I would suggest that the shift in power has already taken place. I think that deep in the heart of each Christian, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, is the sense that mainstream, mainline, main street Christianity is floundering about like a kite searching for wind.  The power is gone. The power has shifted somewhere else. And if we’re completely honest with ourselves we have to acknowledge that our source of power is not bound by traditions, fundamentals, beliefs, or any of the comfortable ideas we’ve decorated our spiritual spaces with.

It’s all about conflict—conflict management—conflict negotiation—and ultimately conflict resolution—in turn followed by the next conflict. The challenge to my readers is to embrace the conflicts we’re faced with instead of isolating ourselves from them. Let us boldly embrace the ideas we are challenged by without fear of being infected by that which defies traditional fundamental values. Truth always wins out in the end. Because where there is truth there is power—and where there is power there will be wind to not only sustain the kite but enough wind to make the kite capable of yanking us into the heavens.

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