Applying intellectual honesty toward religion, politics, health, and the environment. This is a free and safe space to think, emote, critique and re-examine currently held perspectives. Please join in on the conversation :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Responding to My Group's Blog on A Churchless Faith


I understand your group’s struggle in trying to do something new, yet stuck in somewhat of a denominational rut. God, church, and Christianity have been associated with certain things for so long that once some of those practices and habits are deconstructed, people feel a loss of identity as they are not practicing what “God’s people” are supposed to practice. You are also right on target by mentioning a more robust faith for those who pass through the fires of critical examination. Sadly, many leaders are not confident that their people will make it through, so they intentionally keep them in the dark so as to keep them “safe.” Ultimately, this causes more harm that good, as ignorance is passed from one generation to another and ‘taking a leap of faith’ is then exalted as something noble when in reality it is foolish. Lastly, I find it sad that some members of the community will have to leave in order to experience the freedom to search, think, and assess their understanding of God and the world. It would seem to me that the more influence you have in this group, the less that this would take place.


As you probably know by now, I too value the freedom to question long held assumptions. I appreciated the quotes you used that spoke of questions being not just tolerated, but enjoyed. The freedom to disagree without being shut down by leadership is certainly necessary. I think much of this is caused by leaders equating their interpretation of the Bible with what the Bible, ‘really’ teaches. When their understanding is questioned or criticized, they ultimately see this as a reproach to God, who gave them their understanding via the spirit. Nevertheless, your willingness to move away from this and encouraging critical reflection is a great victory for your organization. As you rise to assume more and more responsibility, it is exciting to see the direction that you will take. I can see a future of openness, freedom, serious reflection, joy and happiness for you and your students.


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