Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Faith of Marred Beauty and the Irony of Faith and Justice

I want to talk about how we talk when we talk about Christians.

 No body wants to be a "main-liner" and as such if you're reading this blog and favor yourself a culturally relevant Christian, emergent, millennial, or simply as a thoughtful person, I have a feeling you know what I mean.  If you're reading this as a person part of the blogsphere of Christian thinkers, proudly daring, excitingly new, expressive of your opinions on gender neutral language and inclusive church building, I know you've done this too.  Within the circle that the medium of blogging self selects we are often the violent reactions to a faith of marred beauty.  We are striving to change the traditions and abuses our predecessors of two thousand years have left for us.  We are translating the beauty and mysticism handed down to new nations and generations.  We are challenging our brethren to leave the city of Jerusalem "to go out to all the nations."

But we are reactionary
and this is no way to build a community.

I've been thinking a lot about community.  The craigslist ad. is posted, interviews in progress.  We are about to fill our home.  To stretch out of our introverted tenancies to practice Jesus just a little more.  In that the shocking discovery is the 'me' about to be necessary in 'community.'  The rhythm and words that set the atmosphere, and with that, what do I say?

In a world of binaries and relativism what do I say?  Like the words of Solomon I find myself talking out of both sides of my mouth.  There is a time for weeping, and a time for dancing.  There is a time to question God and a time to be faithful.  There is a time--

Far too often I've observed well meant Christians living like blog posts, in argument and opposition to a facet of injustice in an all or nothing demand.  Like the woman I read about today who had decided to not breastfeed because it furthers the gender labor inequality.  Life with all of its facets is ignored in the pursuit of righting one wrong.

We do this again and again with words trying to find new words for ones that have been wasted in hypocrisy, we hate "Christianese" words like faith, hope, the flesh, and selflessness.  How many times have we heard, "father is a bad word for God because of those with bad fathers."  But I'd argue that 'father' is an imperfect word for anyone from male semen, for any father who's made mistakes, any father who was abusive, any father who was absent, and any father who was awesome but was also human and therefore not God.  Father is a word and words seem to be inherently flawed, full of our perceptions and definitions.

****In all of this we tailspin in to a blogshpere of asterisks, endless explanations, and politically correct forewarning that do nothing but require a higher standard of social manors and petty communication patterns.***

Often I've observed that one's heart is in the right place to receive a new thought when the first words in response to a blog post are not "balancing words."  The "yes, but remember," or "just think about," all keeping the message of the article muted in a sea of social context which competes for our attention.  We live within context and so the addition of "contextual information" is a guise of "me too!"  It is the rejection of healthy confrontation of things that are unjust for the feel good feeling of everyone being the victim.

Within the exchange of reader and writer, the confrontation of new ideas is within the context of the relationship.  The knowledge one has of the writer and the subject matter in its whole is a context for criticism.  Within this is a vibrant conversation of other minds taking the context and argument presented.  Ignoring this truth is a remarkably slippery-slope into the troll-fest of today.  The disbelief in something because of personal experience is circular, and I see it all the time.

"I shouldn't be objectified in my pj's, I'm covered from head to toe in flannel, I am a person."
"You just don't know how men are wired...we have a really hard time..."

Your flu is no worse than anyone else's, and neither is your stubbed toe. The experience of someone else is not nullified by your experienced, that's just your inner narcissist speaking...

So instead of telling women its just the way the world (which men control) works and to get over it.  I kindly suggest we start thinking about how both experiences might be a problem.  Because being objectified and being susceptible to objectifying are both problems, perhaps the same problem (rape culture anyone?)

On an even large note within Christianity, the emergent church must end the battle to be more holy *politically correct* than thou. The war is getting old.

We are, 
kicking and screaming, 
joyfully and tearfully, 

We are a religion with thousands of years of history.  We are a people who speak the language of the people, but are not understood infacto to our language.  We own both the creation of the hospital and all of the crusades. And we're a damn large part of the worlds religion pie chart.  We exist in context, conflict and consecration.  We take up space, leave our mark on the world.  We do a lot of good and a lot of evil.

More than anything I'm again reminded of Kierkegaard's infamous quote, "Faith expects victory in one thing."

 Rather than the balance of many things, the disclaimers of everything, we should be of "one thing."  

May He be the balance, the justice we bring, the mercy we receive, the objectivity we muster.  
May we live in relationship with our God and with others, not above or below but beyond any law or regulation.  
May we see that past the good-bad east-west, right-left, moral-immoral--May we go from glory to glory.

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