My Ongoing Arguments with Christianity and Myself

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

More on the Meaning of “Post-Christian”

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Marker Signs Along the Way adds this to the mix:

Here, “post-Christian” is a term that refers to the disappearance of personal and societal assumptions and world views that are rooted in the language of Christendom. The argument goes, that as the citizens of historically Christian countries (namely those in Europe and North America) become disillusioned with Christianity, Christian language and values begin to slip out of societal norms. Children grow up under parents who have spit out the bad taste that Christianity has left in their mouth, and these children have no concept of the biblical tradition and language that was once considered common cultural knowledge.

Post-Christian Identity

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Just ran across the “Post-Christian” entry on Wikipedia. The article uses “post-Christian” to mean the decline of Christianity in Europe. I think “post-Christendom” would be a better term for that, but I suppose that if you’re a post-Christian European, the need for two separate terms would be lost to you. It would be like an American calling himself post-British.

Here, though, I’ll be using “post-Christian” to refer to an individual’s identity. I’m not ready to settle on a definition, but I imagine this identity taking three possible shapes. The first kind of post-Christian looks like a a person who is no longer Christian but isn’t anything else yet. I suppose that when this sort of post-Christian moved on to some other religious tradition, or lack thereof, they’d no longer be a post-Christian.

The second kind of post-Christian might have a new religious identity as well as a post-Christian identity. They might now be Buddhist, but because they started out as a Christian, they’re a post-Christian Buddhist. It’s a matter of tracking where someone started and where they end up.

A third kind of person is post-Christian because, while they no longer consider themselves to be Christian, they still use Christianity’s symbols, stories, and spiritual vocabulary as a key frame of reference. They might disagree with Christianity about what sin and salvation mean, for example, but they still think talking about sin and salvation is important, even key. (Whereas the post-Christian Buddhist will have moved on to a completely different, and Buddhist, frame of reference.)

Beads vs. Belief

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 1:46 am

I’m wondering what it means that I was longing for the rosary on the way home today. I don’t otherwise long to say the Lord’s Prayer or the Hail Mary.  But lump them together with some beads and I’m suddenly game to pray words I don’t believe in.

New Book: Longing for God

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 1:36 am

I picked up a copy of Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion, Richard Foster’s latest re-categorization of Christian spiritual formation, this time co-written with Gayle Beebe.

I first read Richard Foster in high school. Celebration of Discipline blew me away.  The prayer of Examen planted the seeds of a healthier way of measuring my spiritual progress (or more likely, lack of progress). Centering prayer affirmed what was real and honest in those long quiet moments praying after worship at church camp, and without all the Holy Ghosty melodrama. And study, well, study is about the only spiritual discipline I’ve practiced with any consistency. (Now I mostly practice spiritual undisciplines.)

The chapters center around major Christian figures like Origen and John Wesley.  More posts in reaction as I read though.  And thanks to iMonk for alerting me to the book being out.

Why I Write

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 1:13 am

Because Christianity supplies most of my spiritual vocabulary, even if it no longer supplies my creed.

Because Jesus fascinates me, no matter who Christians say he is.

Because I keep coming back to the Bible, even if I seldom pick up and read.

Because America is still overwhelmingly Christian, if the polls mean anything.

Because my favorite Christian bloggers happen to be Baptist, of all things, and I want a way to respond.

Because the Emergent Christianity conversation intrigues me, and I’d like to throw in my two cents.

Because I like to keep up with the excesses of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

Because I believe Christian spiritual formation can do great things, even if I don’t think it works for the reasons Christians think it works.

Because I hope I haven’t thrown out the baby with the bath water.