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  • 1. Story, Back- Story, and Storytellers as Peace-Makers
  • 2. 2010
  • 3. the nones the dones the uns
  • 4. Anne has concluded that she will never truly belong to the “quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group” known as Christians unless she becomes “anti-gay … anti-feminist … anti–artificial birth control … anti- Democrat … anti–secular humanism … anti-science … anti-life.”
  • 5. Tell that much of the story, and you have the sort of thing the news media love to report— another celebrity break-up, if you will. But this time, the celebrity is divorcing God. But that’s not the whole story. Really, it’s not the story at all. Anne explains that, “My faith in Christ is central to my life.” She is still “an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God.” “But,” she says, “following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might
  • 6. And so, she concludes, “In the name of Christ… I quit Christianity and being Christian.”
  • 7. 10
  • 8. Do you have CRIS? Conflicted Religious Identity Syndrome
  • 9. TREATMENT: ADJECTIVES __conservative ___liberal ___Evangelical ___progressive ___emergent ___moderate ___a new kind of ___mainline ___ not THAT kind of
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 1972
  • 12. Back in 1972, Dean Kelley rocked the religious world with Why Conservative Churches are Growing (HarperCollins)... He spoke the then-shocking truth that “Mainline” Protestantism, which had historically been the main form of Christianity in the United States, was fast becoming “old line” as it declined in numbers.
  • 13. It was losing ground to a “new line” of conservative churches characterized by seriousness and strictness. These churches were serious about the meaning they offered and strict in regards to wholehearted conformity to their norms of belief and behavior. This ... made them socially strong, and this social strength made them grow – as their adherents enthusiastically recruited others.
  • 14. SERIOUS + STRICT = STRONG
  • 15. In contrast, old-line churches were increasingly ecumenical -- respectful of and open to dialogue with other faith communities and the meaning they offered. They were about making friends, not converts. Old-line churches valued individual freedom over group conformity when it came to issues of purpose, belief, and behavior.
  • 16. To old-liners, ecumenism, respect, dialogue, individualism, nonconformity, and freedom were precious qualities, but in terms of creating growth or even sustainability for the future, Kelley claimed they were counterproductive at least, and potentially even suicidal. That’s why he used unflattering terms like lukewarmness and leniency to describe them in contrast to the strictness and seriousness of their counterparts.
  • 17. lukewarm + lenient = weak
  • 18. According to Kelley, strict, serious, and growing groups ... are not ‘reasonable,’ they are not ‘tolerant,’ they are not ecumenical, they are not ‘relevant.’ They often refuse to recognize the validity of other Christian churches’ teachings, ordinations, sacraments. They observe unusual rituals … they [persist] in irrational behavior … They try to impose uniformity of belief and practice among members by censorship, heresy trials, and the like. (26).
  • 19. The Paradox: There is about any serious meaning venture a certain irreducible fierceness, asperity, insistence, exclusiveness, rigor – a fanaticism that brushes everything else aside. Yet that very single-mindedness renders it objectionable to those who value balance, brotherhood, respect for individual diversity, mutual forbearance and self- restraint, civic peace, pluralism ... (164)
  • 20. Chapter 6: Why Not a Strong, Ecumencial Religion?
  • 21. “But why must there be any conflict? Are not freedom, justice, respect for others essential parts of the Christian faith? Ideally they should be, if rightly understood. One can conceive of a high- demand religious movement devoted to justice, freedom, beauty, respect for others, and so on, which could effectively explain life to [humankind] without fanaticism, absolutism, intolerance, or judgmental moralism. That is what – ideally – Christianity ought to be.”
  • 22. “Yet where is such a phenomenon to be found?” -- Dean Kelley, 1972
  • 23. what do you think?
  • 24. In search of a strong and benevolent Christian identity for today’s multi-faith world
  • 25. 29
  • 26. We know how to have a STRONG- HOSTILE CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  • 27. STRONG- HOSTILE We 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 eliminated.
  • 28. We know how to have a weak- benign CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  • 29. weak-benign it 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.
  • 30. strong-hostile OR weak-benign? Or???
  • 31. where did our strong-hostile identity come from?
  • 32. Misconception: Our religious differences keep us apart.
  • 33. Actuality: It is not our religious differences that keep us apart, but rather a haunting religious similarity ... that we build strong identities through hostility.
  • 34. Give people a common enemy, and you will give them a common identity. Deprive them of an enemy and you will deprive them of the crutch by which they know who they are. - James Alison
  • 35. Can Christians today re-build our identity without hostility to the other? Can we build an identity that is both strong and benevolent toward the other?
  • 36. strong- benevolent Because 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.
  • 37. In the “old apologetics,” exclusivism and superiority were attractive features.
  • 38. In the “old apologetics,” exclusivism and superiority were attractive features. In the “new apologetics,” religious supremacy is a disqualifying factor.
  • 39. Can there be ... uniqueness without supremacy? ... benevolence without weakness? ... strength without hostility?
  • 40. It depends on the stories we tell ... and the way we tell them.
  • 41. Story, Back- Story, and Storytellers as Peace-Makers
  • 42. A strong and benevolent Christian identity centered on Jesus and his story (good news) of the kingdom/commonwealth of God.
  • 43. 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, 17 and 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.’ 
  • 44. 20 And 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.  21 Then he began to say to them,  ‘Today this scripture has been  fulfilled in your hearing.’ 
  • 45. 22 All spoke well of him and were  amazed at the gracious words that  came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is  not this Joseph’s son?’ 23 He 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.” ’ 
  • 46. 24 And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet  is accepted in the prophet’s home town.  25 But 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; 26 yet  Elijah was sent to none of them except to  a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 There  were also many lepers*  in Israel in the  time of the prophet Elisha, and none of  them was cleansed except Naaman the  Syrian.’
  • 47. When they heard this, all in the  synagogue 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.  30 But he passed through the midst of  them and went on his way.
  • 48. Reflect on the power of those two stories ... A Sidonian Widow A Syrian Officer The stories we tell ... The way that we tell them ...
  • 49. But how?
  • 50. The historical challenge
  • 51. The Doctrinal Challenge
  • 52. The Liturgical Challenge
  • 53. The Missional Challenge
  • 54. The Spiritual Challenge
  • 55. The historical challenge
  • 56. The stories we tell ... The way that we tell them ...
  • 57. - From Jurgen Moltmann, Experiences in Theology What hope motivated the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors? ... Columbus evidently sought for both God’s Garden of Eden and Eldorado, the city of gold. Apart from personal enrichment, the gold was designed to help the reconquest of Jerusalem by the Christian empire. He appealed to a prophecy of Joachim of Fiore [d. 1202]: “From Spain will come the one who will bring the Ark back to Zion” ...
  • 58. According to their vision of world history, which was borrowed from Daniel 2 and 7, the rise and fall of the four great empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome will be followed by the redeeming empire of the divine Son of man ... But whereas according to Daniel this empire of the Son of man is the great divine alternative to the ‘bestial’ empires of the world, the conquistadores interpreted it as ‘the fifth empire’ which was to consummate previous attempts at world-wide rule.
  • 59. The fifth earthly empire was to be the universal Christian monarchy in which there is only ‘one flock and one shepherd’ ... Its capital had to be Jerusalem, according to ancient prophecy, for there Christ’s ‘second coming’ was to take place.... [T]he universal Christian monarchy is the true legal heir of the ancient empires and the fulfilment of humanity’s dream of the unifying kingdom of the world ‘which shall have no end.’ The Iberian quintomonarchians - the court theologians of the Spanish kings - set the empire of Charles V in this historical framework, which was both universal and messianic.
  • 60. The discovery and conquest of the new continent was one of the final acts in this eschatological drama of salvation, and this apocalyptic interpretation for its part justified the violence which the Christian rulers were bound to use in taking possession of the whole earth and converting the peoples. The rulers also justified the violence through the ‘stone’, which according to Daniel 2:34 f. shatters the kingdoms of this world, a symbol of the eternal kingdom of God which will ‘break them in pieces’ (2:24). - From Jurgen Moltmann, Experiences in Theology (Augsburg, 2000), p. 222-223
  • 61. 1495 2nd Voyage Return Cargo: 1600 male and female Taino slaves for Spain “It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is possible to sell … Here there are so many of these slaves … although they are living things they are as good as gold.”
  • 62. The Spaniards who remained in Hispaniola were encouraged to take Taino slaves “in the amount desired.” Columbus himself gave a teenage girl to one of his crew, Miguel Cuneo, for his personal “use.” Cuneo wrote that she “resisted with all her strength” when he attempted to have sex with her, so he “thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.” Being given a Taino woman to rape was, in fact, a popular “company perk” for Columbus’s men. Columbus himself wrote to a friend, “There are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten [years old] are now in demand.”
  • 63. - An eyewitness in the early 1500’s As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth…. Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.
  • 64. Of the estimated 300,000 Taino alive when Columbus “discovered” them in 1492, about 12,000 remained in 1516, fewer than 200 in 1546, and zero in 1555. What our history calls “the discovery of America,” Taino history might call “the arrival of the Christian genociders,” if, that is, any Taino survived to tell an alternate history. None did.
  • 65. “Here those Christians perpetrated their first ravages and oppression against the native peoples. This was the first land in the New World to be destroyed and depopulated by the Christians.” --another eyewitness, Bartolome De Las Casas about Christian invasion of Hispaniola
  • 66. In North America, it was the story of the conquest of the Canaanites ... God’s people entering the Promised Land ... the elect displacing the damned.
  • 67. The 16th-Century conquests of the Conquistadors The 4th-Century conquests of Constantine
  • 68. From Eusebius: [Constantine] said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, CONQUER BY THIS. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle… [That night] in his sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.
  • 69. 76 “In hoc signo vinces” IN THIS SIGN CONQUER? CONVERT BY THE SWORD? DOMINATE? COLONIZE? ASSIMILATE? INVADE AND OCCUPY? KILL? TERRORIZE?
  • 70. From Eusebius:. At dawn of day he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends: and then, calling together the workers in gold and precious stones, he sat in the midst of them, and described to them the figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones. And this representation I myself have had an opportunity of seeing.
  • 71. 78
  • 72. “Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviour's name…”
  • 73. A SPEAR? Really, Constantine? A spear?
  • 74. This spear-cross was further adorned with an embroidered banner that featured the emperor and his family. The finished product, Eusebius said, “presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder.” He added, “The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies.” Eusebius, it should be noted, would be considered more of a propagandist than a historian in the modern sense. For more on Constantine’s life and work, see James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews—A History (New York: Mariner Books, 2001).
  • 75. The violent cross of Caesar The nonviolent cross of Christ The violent cross of Constantine Which Cross?
  • 76. 1 Cor 1 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
  • 77. ... But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor.1)
  • 78. the original Christian symbol
  • 79. Serve like this ... Love like this ... Reconcile like this ... Transcend violence like this ...
  • 80. Islamophobia Today: We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war. - Ann Counter, National Review Islam is something we can’t afford any more in the Netherlands. I want the fascist Quran banned. We need to stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands. That means no more mosques, no more Islamic schools, no more imams. - Geert Wilders, Dutch politicians
  • 81. These people [Arabs and Muslims] need to be forcibly converted to Christianity ... It’s the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings. - Michael Savage, syndicated radio host Islam has attacked us ... The God of Islam is not the same God.... Islam is a very evil religion. All the values that we as a nation hold dear, they don’t share those same values at all, these countries that have the majority of Muslims. - Franklin Graham, Christian evangelist
  • 82. Sound familiar? From Martin Luther, “On the Jews and Their Lies” (1543) They [rulers] must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did... If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs. -Martin Luther (On the Jews and Their Lies)
  • 83. Elie Wiesel: “All the killers were Christian….The Nazi system was the consequence of a movement of ideas and followed a strict logic; it did not arise in a void but had its roots deep in a tradition that prophesied it, prepared for it, and brought it to maturity. That tradition was inseparable from the past of Christianized, civilized Europe.” Quoted in David Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford, 1992), 153.
  • 84. Indigenous scholar Jack Forbes writes, “The ‘cosmology’ or ‘world-view’ of a people is closely related, of course, to all of their actions. The world-view influences actions and, in turn, actions tell us what the world-view really is!” Jack Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2008), 20. Originally published by D-Q University Press in 1979.
  • 85. From this vantage point, Christianity has nothing – absolutely nothing – to teach Indigenous people about how to live in a good way on this land. In fact, Christians have only demonstrated that there is something profoundly wrong with the cosmology and worldview behind more than five centuries of carnage—carnage that has yet to even slow down. Christians have so much negative history and dogma to overcome within their own tradition, I do not believe the religion is even salvageable. The world is deep in the throes of an ecological crisis based in Western economies of hyper- exploitation. The planet will not survive another 500 years of Christian domination. - Waziyatawin, PhD, 2012
  • 86. From this vantage point, Christianity has nothing – absolutely nothing – to teach Indigenous people about how to live in a good way on this land. In fact, Christians have only demonstrated that there is something profoundly wrong with the cosmology and worldview behind more than five centuries of carnage—carnage that has yet to even slow down. Christians have so much negative history and dogma to overcome within their own tradition, I do not believe the religion is even salvageable. The world is deep in the throes of an ecological crisis based in Western economies of hyper- exploitation. The planet will not survive another 500 years of Christian domination. - Waziyatawin, PhD, 2012
  • 87. Can there be ... uniqueness without supremacy? ... benevolence without weakness? ... strength without hostility?
  • 88. It depends on the stories we tell ... and the way we tell them.
  • 89. The [future] will depend in large measure on the prevailing stories that shape our understanding…. Perhaps the most difficult yet essential aspect of this work is to change our stories… - David Korten, The Great Turning, p. 20, 237
  • 90. [Jesus] dedicated his life to changing the prevailing stories. - David Korten, The Great Turning, p. 20, 237, 261
  • 91. QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  • 92. Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story …
  • 93. … one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step…. If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story. - attributed to Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  • 94. Story, Back- Story, and Storytellers as Peace-Makers
  • 95. 106
  • 96. 107
  • 97. The Prayer for disciples
  • 98. O God, whose love makes us one family, May your unspeakable Name be revered.
  • 99. Here on earth may your commonwealth come … on earth as in heaven may your dreams come true.
  • 100. Give us today our bread for today. Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive.
  • 101. Lead us away from the perilous trial, Liberate us from the evil.
  • 102. For the kingdom is yours and yours alone, the power is yours and yours alone, the glory is yours and yours alone, now and forever. Amen. (Hallelujah … Amen)

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