February 22, 2008

Seemless Christianity

Kester at Signs of Emergence has an interesting post inspired by the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century where he asked around seeking answers to the question: what are the 'grand challenges' for theology for the 21st Century? The multivalent answers not only reveal proclivities, but also show that this question a bit, well...dualistic? esoteric? uhm, shortsighted?

Theology as mainly an academic sort of esoteric activity of professional clergy or professors is quickly losing its relevance and for good reason. In church culture or christendom today there a seems to be a pervasive attitude within the community that theology is for the professional to produce and a commodity to be received. Simply stated, there is alot of bad theology ranging from the health and wealth gospels to myopic-soul salvation gospels. Why? Partly, but certainly not wholly because the church has become a place for the people, where people come to receive from the professionals; instead a church of the people where the school teacher, engineer, art director, construction worker, or business executive struggle with theology in life.

My humble response to the question was inspired especially by Sue Wallace's quote

There is a sense in which the biggest theological challenges will always be the ones of cultural communication, and the frustrating thing is that as soon as we have sussed out how to speak one language, the world has moved on, and we have to learn another if we are to engage in serious dialogue, and offer true hope rather than incomprehensible poetry.

The very reason this is a problem is because we have a Christian subculture that is separate from the world, always chasing after the world (irony?) trying to keep up and realize the trends thus creating secondary and often bad art, music, clothes, and books.

My response:
The task of theology will be to empower the church of the people (not professionals for the people) to imaginatively follow Christ while living in the world thus not creating a separate culture but a community of hope and love that grapples with the real problems of the world, ie: poverty, enviromentalism, nuclear weapons, war, genocide, open relationships to the "other" [for example] looking to the future hope of new creation, resurrection.

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