I have been especially aware of patterns this week.Let's share -- comment or email.
People all have a certain way of being in the world. A pattern.
There is a Muslim way of being in the world, a Mormon way, a Right-Wing-Fox-News way, a PC-liberal way, etc.
Some of these patterns are potent (Islam). Some are not so potent (mainline Presbyterianism). Some are on the rise (Hipster-ism), and some are on the decline (the “emerging” church).
I’ve done extensive live-in stints with:
Each “ism” has abundant self-serving circular reasoning and tribal litmus tests. They have buzzwords and enemy images.
- Action Sports World (surf/snowboard)
- Theological Academia (22nd grade and a Fulbright Scholarship)
- Pentecostalism (even wrote a book on it)
I am about to be voted off the Lutheran island for good. Sad, because I have nothing against it, and consider myself one of its more original and helpful thinkers.
Am increasingly troubled by the American liberal/conservative polar opposite political thinking. The left doesn’t understand the power and creativity of the free market and globalization, and the right doesn’t understand sustainable environmentalism, and the potency of collectivism for certain public endeavors (fire, utilities, roads, etc.). We are disintegrating into TV attack ads with stupid sound bites. We need an intellectual like Lincoln to come back, who sees deeper nuances.
In any case, these political “patterns” relieve everyone of the responsibility to think.
And the world is just plain out-growing the need for religious patterns. Especially the overwhelming majority of non-fundamentalist global young people.
Let’s just have real conversations about who God really is. Let’s pray together. Let’s talk about Jesus and how his message is so different than that of Buddha (see E. Stanley Jones and the “Egg and the Bubble”). Let’s talk about God’s preferred future rather than argue about the merits of competing eschatological “systems.”
Does God Almighty really care about the victory of Confessional Lutheranism or TULIP Calvinism? Is he secretly pulling for a return to a stricter Reformed theology? Is he really upset about the idea of married Catholic priests? Is he hoping we finally secure the Mexican border?
Are we willing to set aside our patterns, even ones we love, to seek the truth?
I have this crazy idea that God is real, and that he doesn’t report to a pattern.