Let’s move the church out of the 4th and into the 21st century
Our mission is clearly stated: The urgent need of our day is to revitalize our congregations. By revitalize, we mean formulating a faith for our day that is as consistent with our time as was the church in earlier days. This is not a restoration of form but of substance. It involves what Phyllis Tickle observes in The Great Emergence, that the church holds a “great rummage sale” about every 500 years to weed out the useless and wanting aspects of our faith. We are at such a time.
A religion is as much a progressive unlearning of false ideas concerning God as it is the learning of true ideas concerning God. ~Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan
By many estimates, the typical Christian congregation lags between 100-200 years behind the consensuses of current biblical and theological scholarship. Lost to them are the many and often profound understandings that have accumulated over the last 200 years. Scientific findings force us to reevaluate creation stories and reexamine atonement theories. Archeology has changed the picture of the exodus and conquest making literal understanding impossible. Sociological research gives us a wholly different and more reliable understanding of the growth of the church than the Book of Acts. And, possibly most importantly, by placing Jesus in his Galilean Judaic context, pitted against the oppression of the Roman Empire, we now begin to see Jesus as he was. This means we can approach the Gospels with a renewed appreciation for their theological approaches to Jesus rather than seeing them in any real historical sense.
But, most of this is lost on our congregations
There is a serious disconnect when people read the Bible today. When Genesis is read people recognize that the biblical world of a three-tiered universe is not their own. They don’t see a natural relationship between blood and forgiveness, as did the ancients. Or when they open the New Testament and discover a Messiah born of a virgin, and a Satanic adversary of God and humanity, they suspend any modern notions of how the world works, at least for the moment. These (and many other biblical notions) certainly made sense for a people of a certain time, but fail to resonate with many in our day. Including many Christians. We are worlds apart from the church of the fourth century that gave us our present-day creeds and doctrines. Faith on the Edge wishes to engage our congregations with information that can assist congregations in widening their theological horizon and marry our faith with our time. We will do this in a variety of ways.
- We publish timely posts connecting progressive theology to issues of our day.
- We identify various approaches to implementing personal and congregational faith-growth.
- We offer courses on biblical and theological topics for personal and congregational use that incorporate scholarly conclusions.
- We occasionally present Webinars on subjects of interest.
Nothing is more important in my view than leading congregations to the realities of modern biblical and theological scholarship that has turned Christianity away from an insular and triumphalistic religion that seeks to overcome all opposition, and into a partner in humanity’s search for the ennobling Spirit that lives in all things.
O God, may we have eyes to see and hearts to follow.