Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Religious Patterns and God-Truth

The following is from David Housholder's journal.
I have been especially aware of patterns this week.

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:
  • Lutheranism

  • Action Sports World (surf/snowboard)

  • Theological Academia (22nd grade and a Fulbright Scholarship)

  • Pentecostalism (even wrote a book on it)
Each “ism” has abundant self-serving circular reasoning and tribal litmus tests. They have buzzwords and enemy images.

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.
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1 comment:


    The ELCA requires its rostered ordained pastors to be at least 1/2 time in a regular call in a loyal ELCA congregation.

    My two calls (Robinwood and Hosanna!) are both very part time. And both churches are “fringe” ELCA to say the least.

    I last held a call in a loyal ELCA congregation on 31 Dec 2007, thus, with the three year grace period, I will be erased from the “book of life” on 31 Dec 2010.

    There are lots of exceptions, but only if you are PC.

    I’ve never been accused of being PC.

    I had five of the senior pastors of some of the very largest ELCA churches, the president of Luther Seminary, and the CEO of Augsburg Fortress, write personal letters to bishops last year to make an exception for me to stay on the roster. No go.

    Never mind that I teach from time to time at Luther, wrote the official Galatians commentary for the ELCA Book of Faith series, etc.

    No half time call–no rostering.

    Not that it affects me all that much. I’m just sad for a system that is so rule-bound and not open to creativity and entrepreneurialism. Or from ordained leaders who don’t need a major paycheck from the offering plate.

    There’s room in the ELCA for http://HerChurch.org nearly Wiccan stuff, but not for me, apparently. Room for Goddess Rosaries, but not for biblical inerrancy (which I have clearly and publicly stood for since the 80’s), or room for a little mission church like Robinwood that had 31 adult baptisms last year.

    Odd times we live in. Not lamenting it. Just marveling at the oddness of it all.

    It’s a post-denominational world anyway. And I am blessed to be a part of it.

    David Housholder, April 22, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.