Anne has concluded that she will nevertruly belong to the “quarrelsome, hostile,disputatious, and deservedly infamousgroup” known as Christians unless shebecomes “anti-gay … anti-feminist …anti–artificial birth control … anti-Democrat … anti–secular humanism …anti-science … anti-life.”
Tell that much of the story, and you have thesort of thing the news media love to report—another celebrity break-up, if you will. But thistime, the celebrity is divorcing God.But that’s not the whole story. Really, it’s notthe story at all. Anne explains that, “My faith inChrist is central to my life.” She is still “anoptimistic believer in a universe created andsustained by a loving God.” “But,” she says,“following Christ does not mean following Hisfollowers. Christ is infinitely more importantthan Christianity and always will be, no matterwhat Christianity is, has been or might become.”
And so, she concludes, “In the name ofChrist… I quit Christianity and beingChristian.”
Do you haveCRIS?ConflictedReligiousIdentitySyndrome
SELF-MEDICATION: ADJECTIVES__conservative ___liberal___Evangelical ___progressive___emergent ___moderate ___a newkind of ___mainline ___ not THATkind of
Why I am a missional,evangelical, post/protestant,liberal/conservative,mystical/poetic, biblical,charismatic/contemplative,fundamentalist/calvinist,anabaptist/anglican,methodist, catholic, green,incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent,unfinished Christian.2005
Kelley spoke the then-shocking truth that“Mainline” Protestantism, which hadhistorically been the main form ofChristianity in the United States, was fastbecoming “old line” as it declined innumbers.
ML/OL was losing ground to a “newline” of conservative churchescharacterized by seriousness andstrictness.serious about meaningstrict regarding theirnorms of belief and behavior.This ... made them socially strong, andthis social strength made them grow – astheir adherents enthusiastically recruitedothers.
According to Kelley, strict, serious, andgrowing groups ...are not ‘reasonable,’ they are not ‘tolerant,’they are not ecumenical, they are not‘relevant.’ They often refuse to recognizethe validity of other Christian churches’teachings, ordinations, sacraments. Theyobserve unusual rituals … they [persist] inirrational behavior … They try to imposeuniformity of belief and practice amongmembers by censorship, heresy trials, andthe like. (26).
The Paradox:There is about any serious meaning venturea certain irreducible fierceness, asperity,insistence, exclusiveness, rigor – afanaticism that brushes everything elseaside. Yet that very single-mindednessrenders it objectionable to those who valuebalance, brotherhood, respect for individualdiversity, mutual forbearance and self-restraint, civic peace, pluralism ... (164)
Chapter 6:Why Not a Strong,EcumencialReligion?
“But why must there be any conflict? Arenot freedom, justice, respect for othersessential parts of the Christian faith? Ideallythey should be, if rightly understood. Onecan conceive of a high-demand religiousmovement devoted to justice, freedom,beauty, respect for others, and so on, whichcould effectively explain life to [humankind]without fanaticism, absolutism, intolerance,or judgmental moralism. That is what –ideally – Christianity ought to be.”
“Yet where is such a phenomenonto be found?”-- Dean Kelley, 1972In the 40 years since ...
a search for a cure forCRISConflictedReligiousIdentitySyndrome
We know how to havea STRONG-HOSTILECHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
STRONG-HOSTILEWe have the only way.You are going to hell.We are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.resistance if futile.you will be assimilated - oreliminated.
We know how to havea weak-benignCHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
weak-benignit doesn’t matter what you believe.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide.keep religion private.Mind/Matter: I don’t, it doesn’t.
From Follow the Sacredness, by Jonathan Haidthttp://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/forget-the-money-follow-the-sacredness/Despite what you might have learned inEconomics 101, people aren’t alwaysselfish. In politics, they’re more oftengroupish. When people feel that a groupthey value — be it racial, religious,regional or ideological — is underattack, they rally to its defense, even atsome cost to themselves. We evolved tobe tribal...
... The key to understanding tribal behavioris ... sacredness. The great trick that humansdeveloped at some point in the last fewhundred thousand years is the ability to circlearound a tree, rock, ancestor, flag, book or god,and then treat that thing as sacred. People whoworship the same idol can trust one another,work as a team and prevail over less cohesivegroups. So if you want to understand politics,and especially our divisive culture wars, youmust follow the sacredness.
Religions united our ancestors arounda sacred object or idol ... and thatunity gave some tribes survivaladvantage over others.
But it’s not just the idol in thecenter that unites us: it’s also the“other” outside the circle."Historically, the amity, orgoodwill, within the group hasoften depended on enmity, orhatred, between groups.”(Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic Of HumanDestiny, quoted in Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps)
Give people a common enemy, and you willgive them a common identity. Deprive themof an enemy and you will deprive them ofthe crutch by which they know who they are.- James Alison
Misconception:Our religious differenceskeep us apart.
Actuality:It is not our religiousdifferences that keep us apart,but rather a haunting religioussimilarity ... that we buildstrong identities throughhostility.
Can Christians today re-build ouridentity and ethos withouthostility to the other?
STRONG-HOSTILEWe have the only way.You are going to hell.We are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.resistance if futile.you will be assimilated - or
weak-benignit doesn’t matter what you believe.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide.keep religion private.
strong-benevolentBecause I Follow Jesus, I love you.I move toward “the other.”I break down walls of hostility.i stand with you in solidarity.you are made in God’s image.i am your servant.I practice human-kindness.
Can there beA strong and benevolentChristian identity centered onJesus and his story (good news)of the kingdom/commonwealth ofGod?
6 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ 23He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’
24And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers* in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’
When they heard this, all ... were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
a 5-part treatment plan forCRISConflictedReligiousIdentitySyndrome
Trinity - litmus test for persecutionElection - justification for genocideOriginal sin - God as hostile Doctrine - divisive teachingsTrinity - image of one-anothernessElection - chosen for the benefit of allOriginal sin - original violenceDoctrine - healing teachings
the old colonial “evangelism” - you give us your resources & labor in this life; we’ll give you heaven after death.the old liberal “development” - you give us your resources & labor in this life; we’ll give you western medicine, technology, government, economics.
“‘…do not try to call them back to wherethey were, and do not try to call them towhere you are, as beautiful as that placemight seem to you. You must have thecourage to go with them to a place thatneither you nor they have ever beenbefore.’ Good missionary advice, and abeautiful description of the unpredictableprocess of evangelization, a processleading to that new place where none of ushas ever been before.” - Vincent Donovan
in/out - WE are IN; THEY are OUTmembership - statussimplicity - dualismcomplexity - pragmatismperplexity - relativism/pluralismharmony - transcending, integratinglove
a 5-part treatment plan forCRIShistoricaldoctrinalliturgicalmissionalspiritual
From Catherine Maresca (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd)-Finally, [Maria] Cavalletti emphasizes theimportance of being specific. You can’t teachchildren language without teaching children alanguage. She writes, “Wishing to stay on avague level without any specific content isthe same as wanting a child to talk withoutusing any particular language.” Some parentssay they don’t want their children to learn aparticular religion because they want them tobe free to choose their own. But thesechildren are missing the opportunity tobecome spiritually literate.
To be initiated into the signs of theirreligious tradition creates the possibilityof grasping the signs of many traditions,and of respecting the integrity of each ofthose traditions. So we need to bereligious in a particular way, true to thefaith we affirm for ourselves, in order tofoster the spiritual and religious literacyof our children. world this is a service toour children. We have to be specific.
While we don’t reject other traditions, aparticular religion has to be our starting point. Tosay, “I’m spiritual but not religious” is likesaying, “I’m linguistic but don’t speak anyparticular language.” Everyone has innatelinguistic capacity that gets activated as onelearns a particular language or languages.Likewise, everyone has spiritual capacity thatgets activated and mobilized through becomingreligious in a particular way. Becoming religiousin a particular way is foundational for relating tothe religious other.
Children who have learned their native language wellare poised to learn new languages with greater ease.Children who learned the language of their religioustradition are likewise poised to grasp the sacred signsof another tradition. As we nurture the spiritual life ofyoung children with sacred signs, we simultaneouslybuild the foundation of respect and understanding forothers’ beliefs. With spiritual literacy, faith andinterfaith formation work hand in hand, promoting inturn a more peaceful world.Children, Signs, and SpiritualLiteracy: An Interfaith ExperienceBy Catherine Maresca
wanted:people in recovery from CRISto help others get the healingthey need.Every sermonEvery songEvery prayerEvery interactionEvery week
diagnosing and treatingCRIS* in yourself and others(conflicted religious identity syndrome)