I am a recovering "professional Christian." I'm seeking a community of faith (and of questioning faith) that is more inclusive, radically ecumenical and inter-faith, less bureaucratic, less doctrinal and tribal, more loving, less institutional and denominational, for worship that is more experiential and eclectic, and that seeks wisdom from a variety of wise people and world religious traditions.
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In a recent op-ed by Aaron C. Kay and Mark J. Landau titled "Why so many people want to believe the election was stolen" the writers make this observation, "The election fraud narrative features three characteristics that supercharge its psychological appeal: It makes a complex and hostile world seem orderly, controllable and certain." They go one to reason that given these psychological (and I would ass theological) needs, elections results have to be fraudulent (according to those who won't believe factual, recounted, and certified results - i.e. reality) perpetuated by some shadowy evil design rather the because of random glitches in the process because they cannot accept a random or "chaordic" universe. Everything that happens happens by design - even divine design. The plan has to be "evil" to validate their cosmology and theology - they need an evil enemy. It has to be a powerful enemy, first to pull off the fraud and second, to be a worthy enemy of the "little guy."
Theologically, this is a kind of radical, ubiquitous, and twisted Calvinism coupled with a deep need/belief in a personified and very active Satan - a counterpart to Jesus. Jesus has not defeated sin and evil except on a personal level.
Reason is not an effective approach to conversation or conversion when an idea is deeply seated in a cosmology of a complete determinism and a god who is "in control" - yet not in enough control to defeat the machinations of a Satan. This broken theology feeds suspicion, a kind of misplaced "righteous" anger, and even martyrdom.
To simply ignore reality is no long term plan for dealing with it. This is, at its core, a theological issue. I'm more inclined to embrace the wonderful-terrible gifts of free will and a present participatory God of all being to work with other people in co-creating "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven."
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I am seeking to be Christian in a way that is neither defensive nor divisive – that is hospitable, gracious, and inclusive, and that is humbly possible. I want to widen my understanding of the origins of the universe that is informed by both science and spirit. A theology I can live with is one that envisions the communal and creative nature of God – a faith that looks for God's continuing self-revelation, that embraces post-Newtonian science and post-Reformation theologies. I want to live into a hopeful future that asks questions like “Where is Creation leading? What does it have to teach us and reveal to us? What is this world coming to?” A future I can live into is one that embraces a “thy kingdom come on earth” vision, co-created with other hopeful people and with God, who has chosen not to make a world without us in it.
My current book project, Possible Faith - for those who are finding it less than so, is a testimony, a sharing of my unfolding faith. It is not intended to convince or convert. In the movie The Matrix Reloaded there is a telling exchange between the commander of Zion’s defensive forces and Morpheus, a John the Baptist-type character who believes Neo is the long-expected savior of their people:
Commander Lock: “Dammit Morpheus, not everyone believes what you believe!”
Morpheus: “My beliefs do not require them to.”
My journey of believing does not require anyone, including you, to believe as I do. My journey does require me to receive the way you believe with genuine interest and care.