Thursday, August 25, 2005

Email: From Distraction to Action [DB]

Hey, I'm idealistic! I'm just in the real (secular) world too. Come to think of it, maybe I'd have more commercial success if I stayed a bit more in the ivory tower.

You hit the nail on the head: "in the world but not of it." (I was going to say "wise as serpents yet innocent as lambs" but I was either writing too fast or thinking too slow.) I truly believe the Corinthian Christians knew what was going on in their society, and could name names. If you think our Christian nation has it bad, go read up on Corinth. Think Extreme Sports San Francisco.

It's human to conserve one's attention span; but I think Christians should be better at stretching this than many are. It has to do with conservatism, really, which by definition wants things to stay the same -- or to roll back to the way they used to be. That's why I say I am a Christian progressive -- I apply my values daily, but to the present and the future, not wishing for the past.

The conservative bit has another effect on learning and teaching scripture, which is almost exclusively about conveying orthodoxy -- very important -- but only in traditional, not progressive terms. In other words, it's typically about "this is what's been taught and done before" instead of "here's how we might consider addressing new societal challenges." Put another way, how many Christian poets and original hymn [not ditty] writers do you know? There are virtually none.

It's scary to think that we might be judged (as you say) for what we didn't at least try to cure, stop, fix or resolve -- not just for the ways we are self-involved, but for the needs we never noticed. (Right; thank God for Our Lady Oprah.) It is our task to span the gap between where we are now and our bright examples of total surrender to Christ in the last century: D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, John Paul II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others.


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