Christian Invitation toward a Robust, “Natural” Faith
In my last post I referred to “The New Atheists” and their deeply felt disdain of apparently all forms of religion. From a much more positive angle, many Christians today are re-examining the forms that Christianity has taken. I haven’t seen that there is much productive interchange between such “New Atheists” as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens on one “side” and even the re-evaluating Christians on the other.
However, there is a lot of interchange, and I believe much of it beneficial, among people in the latter group. Maybe if the results are good enough eventually, it can spur more productive interchange with those who question or deny any value to any sort of Christian faith. But first I believe many more Christians, particularly Christian leaders, need to do the hard work of thinking clearly–getting clear on what exactly is their kind of Christian faith and why they hold it.
I must address one additional issue before beginning to share points from the “Progressive Christian Invitation” I’ve mentioned I will post in the next several days. As this blog is named “natural spirituality,” what about that carefully chosen name in relation to any form of Christian faith?… I do believe that concept fits with my understanding of the foundational yet “interfaith” principles of at least one type of Christian faith. I hope the reasons I believe that will become clear if you follow the upcoming posts.
So below I’m enclosing the first two points, in summary form, from my Invitation. The use of “we” is purposeful, although at this point it represents only my own hope that it may express what some other Christians who consider themselves progressive also at least tentatively hold to. In other words, I am not speaking officially for any group–organized or unorganized. I actually expect to be reworking the specific language or even some of the concepts based on dialog with others around these points.
“Progressive Christian Invitation to Mission” (points 1 & 2)
1. We embrace the urgent task of clarifying what it means to follow a “spiritual path” or a “faith” that is Christian in some manner. With this, we know we must increase dialog and exploration between two often-warring camps divided as “conservative” and “liberal.”
2. We recognize the updating of religion as a challenging but inevitable process that should be actively engaged. We believe this is sorely needed, among other things, to widen the basis for common ground and common mission among Christians and with other religions.
What are your thoughts about these initial points (of seven total, upcoming)? Are you among those of us who have been struggling with what kind of Christianity we can “sign on with” or stay signed on with? Please share a bit of your journey.