Christian Identity in a
Multi-Faith World
Can there be peace among
passionately faithful people?
humor
anti-humor
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Albert Einstein: Did the chicken really cross the road, or
did the road move beneath t...
Why did the dinosaur cross the road?
(2 answers)
What is the chicken’s deepest dream?
Why did the Texas chicken cross the ...
Can you imagine Jesus, Moses, the Buddha,
and Mohammed walking together ...
If they could cross the road together, might i...
Starting Point:
We already know how to do 2
things quite well:
We already know how to do 2
things quite well:
1. how to have a strong Christian
identity that is hostile toward
people of...
STRONG-
HOSTILE
We have the only way.
You are going to hell.
We are God’s chosen.
You worship false gods.
resistance is fu...
We already know how to do 2
things quite well:
1. how to have a strong Christian
identity that is hostile toward
people of...
weak-benign
it doesn’t matter what you believe.
all religions are the same.
all roads lead to god.
only sincerity matters....
We haven’t yet learned ...
to have a strong Christian identity
that is benevolent
toward other religions.
strong-
benevolent
Because I Follow Jesus, I love you.
I move toward “the other.”
I break down walls of hostility.
i stand...
A Popular
Misconception:
Our religious differences
keep us apart.
Actuality:
It is not our religious
differences that keep us apart,
but rather one thing we all
hold in common:
Actuality:
We build strong religious
identities through hostility
toward the other.
Give people a common enemy, and you will
give them a common identity. Deprive them
of an enemy and you will deprive them o...
Hostility has had survival
value ...
but it may now
threaten our survival.
"Historically, the amity, or goodwill, within the
group has often depended on enmity, or hatred,
between groups. But when ...
Can Christians today build a new
kind of identity ... based on
hospitality and solidarity, not
hostility, to the other?
st...
Four Challenges
1. Historical
2. Doctrinal
3. Liturgical
4. Missional
Four Challenges
1. Historical
2. Doctrinal
3. Liturgical
4. Missional
1495
2nd Voyage Return Cargo: 1600
male and female Taino slaves for
Spain
“It is possible, with the name of the
Holy Trini...
The Spaniards who remained in Hispaniola were
encouraged to take Taino slaves “in the amount
desired.” Columbus himself ga...
- An eyewitness in the early 1500’s
As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they
endured, the Indians choose and have...
Of the estimated 300,000 Taino alive when
Columbus “discovered” them in 1492, about 12,000
remained in 1516, fewer than 20...
The 16th-Century conquests of the Conquistadors
The 4th-Century conquests of Constantine
From Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical History”:
“[Constantine] said that about noon,
when the day was already beginning
to declin...
44
“In hoc signo vinces”
IN THIS SIGN CONQUER?
CONVERT BY THE SWORD?
DOMINATE?
COLONIZE?
ASSIMILATE?
INVADE AND OCCUPY?
KI...
Serve like this ...
Love like this ...
Reconcile like this ...
Transcend violence like this ...
Us.
Them.
Us.
Them.
Neighbor?
Enemy?
Us.
Them.
Neighbor?
Hostility? Hospitality?
Different? Same?
Enemy?
71
Four Challenges
1. Historical
2. Doctrinal
3. Liturgical
4. Missional
Must doctrinal differences
always divide us?
From Follow the Sacredness, by Jonathan Haidt
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/forget-the-money-follow-th...
... The key to understanding tribal behavior is
not money, it’s sacredness. The great trick that
humans developed at some ...
“Sacred groupishness” often makes a
“centering idol” out of a list of doctrines.
Doctrines provide a loyalty test ...
help...
But doctrine can have another meaning ...
another purpose:
Doctrine can mean
“a healing teaching.”
What might happen if we took a
second look at our core
doctrines - not as centering
idols, but as
healing teachings?
healing teachings
intended to bind together what
has been torn and broken
(re-ligion)?
The Healing Teaching of
Creation
The Healing Teaching of
Original Sin
2 trees ...
be as gods
good and evil
us and them
male and female
Cain and Abel
The Healing Teaching of
Election
(or chosen-ness)
The Healing Teaching of
the Deity of Christ
The Healing Teaching of
the Holy Spirit
The Healing Teaching of
the Trinity
Four Challenges
1. Historical
2. Doctrinal
3. Liturgical
4. Missional
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all....
Each little flower that opens,/ Each little bird that sings,/
He made their glowing colors./ He made their tiny wings.
The...
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.
All things br...
The Rituals We Practice
Baptism: A ritual of cleansing
Clean - unclean
Acceptance - revulsion
Us - them
Clean, still water
Certified Gatekeepers
Meanwhile in the
wilderness:
The Essenes
- Hyper-clearn
-Hyper-puritan
- Isolated communes
- Multiple daily baptisms
What would it mean for John ...
- to leave his father’s priestly work
- to leave the Temple
- to leave Jerusalem
- to avoi...
in the Jordan River?
- in public
- in running water
- in an “undeveloped”
setting
- with a message, not of
cleanliness, bu...
rethinking, reformulation, repentance?
What does it mean for
Jesus to accept John’s
baptism?
What would it
mean for the
Spirit in the form
of a dove to
descend upon
Jesus?
And what would it mean
for Jesus’ disciples to
expand John’s “guerrilla
theatre” around the
world?
Baptism - not into a
new “hyper-clean”
religion - but into
Christ, a new
humanity, a new
kingdom, a new way
of life?
Peter, Acts 10:
“God has shown me I
should never call
anyone impure or
unclean.”
“I now realize ... God
does not show
favo...
From Catherine Maresca (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) -
Finally, [Maria] Cavalletti emphasizes the importance of being ...
While we don’t reject other traditions, a particular
religion has to be our starting point. To say, “I’m
spiritual but not...
Children who have learned their native language well are poised
to learn new languages with greater ease. Children who lea...
Four Challenges
1. Historical
2. Doctrinal
3. Liturgical
4. Missional
Gods of the oppressors
Gods of colonization
Gods of the oppressed
Gods of resistance
2
Mission as
proselytism, pacification,
assimilation
Mission as
resistance,
recruitment,
mobilization
Indonesian tea, rubber, and
peanuts
From this vantage point, Christianity has nothing –
absolutely nothing – to teach Indigenous people about how
to live in a...
From this vantage point, Christianity has nothing –
absolutely nothing – to teach Indigenous people about how
to live in a...
words from vincent
donovan
“‘…do not try to call them back to where
they were, and do not try to call them to
where you are, as beautiful as that pla...
117
clean energy mission
Embodiment of Christ
Solidarity with the Victim &
Vulnerable
Witness ...
Withness -
Mission of Presence
“Transgressive” friendship
The mission of presence
the mission of example ...
modeling another way of life
the mission of vocation:
sending people out to do their daily work
with uncommon love ...
the mission of the new evangelism:
Proclaiming Jesus’ good news of the
kingdom, reign, commonwealth, or
dream of God
Calli...
Gods of domination,
conquest, and empire ....
Gods of resistance,
differentiation, and
freedom ....
2
126
violent gods of the oppressors
violent gods of the oppressed
a nonviolent God
of reconciliation
3rd
option
A
Are
you
ready
to
cross
the
road?
www.brianmclaren.net
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Washington island thursday

  1. 1. Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
  2. 2. Can there be peace among passionately faithful people?
  3. 3. humor anti-humor
  4. 4. Why did the chicken cross the road? Albert Einstein: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken? Sir Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross the road. A nun: It was a habit. Hamlet: That is not the question. John Donne: It crosseth for thee. Colonel Sanders: Did I miss one?
  5. 5. Why did the dinosaur cross the road? (2 answers) What is the chicken’s deepest dream? Why did the Texas chicken cross the road? Why did the chicken go to the seance?
  6. 6. Can you imagine Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed walking together ... If they could cross the road together, might it be possible for us to follow them?
  7. 7. Starting Point:
  8. 8. We already know how to do 2 things quite well:
  9. 9. We already know how to do 2 things quite well: 1. how to have a strong Christian identity that is hostile toward people of other religions.
  10. 10. STRONG- HOSTILE We have the only way. You are going to hell. We are God’s chosen. You worship false gods. resistance is futile. you will be assimilated - or
  11. 11. We already know how to do 2 things quite well: 1. how to have a strong Christian identity that is hostile toward people of other religions. 2. how to have a weak Christian identity that is tolerant (benign) toward people of other religions.
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. We haven’t yet learned ... to have a strong Christian identity that is benevolent toward other religions.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. A Popular Misconception: Our religious differences keep us apart.
  16. 16. Actuality: It is not our religious differences that keep us apart, but rather one thing we all hold in common:
  17. 17. Actuality: We build strong religious identities through hostility toward the other.
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. Hostility has had survival value ... but it may now threaten our survival.
  20. 20. "Historically, the amity, or goodwill, within the group has often depended on enmity, or hatred, between groups. But when you get to the global level, that won't work... That cannot be the dynamic that holds the planet together... But what would be unprecedented is to have this kind of solidarity and moral cohesion at a global level that did not depend on the hatred of other groups of people." (Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic Of Human Destiny, quoted in Evolutionaries: Unlocking The Spiritual And Cultural Potential In Science's Greatest Idea, by Carter Phipps)
  21. 21. Can Christians today build a new kind of identity ... based on hospitality and solidarity, not hostility, to the other? strong- benevolent
  22. 22. Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
  23. 23. Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
  24. 24. 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.”
  25. 25. 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.”
  26. 26. - 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.
  27. 27. 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.
  28. 28. The 16th-Century conquests of the Conquistadors The 4th-Century conquests of Constantine
  29. 29. From Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical History”: “[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.
  30. 30. 44 “In hoc signo vinces” IN THIS SIGN CONQUER? CONVERT BY THE SWORD? DOMINATE? COLONIZE? ASSIMILATE? INVADE AND OCCUPY? KILL? TERRORIZE?
  31. 31. Serve like this ... Love like this ... Reconcile like this ... Transcend violence like this ...
  32. 32. Us. Them.
  33. 33. Us. Them. Neighbor? Enemy?
  34. 34. Us. Them. Neighbor? Hostility? Hospitality? Different? Same? Enemy?
  35. 35. 71
  36. 36. Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
  37. 37. Must doctrinal differences always divide us?
  38. 38. From Follow the Sacredness, by Jonathan Haidt http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/forget-the-money-follow-the-sacredness/ Despite what you might have learned in Economics 101, people aren’t always selfish. In politics, they’re more often groupish. When people feel that a group they value — be it racial, religious, regional or ideological — is under attack, they rally to its defense, even at some cost to themselves. We evolved to be tribal, and politics is a competition among coalitions of tribes.
  39. 39. ... The key to understanding tribal behavior is not money, it’s sacredness. The great trick that humans developed at some point in the last few hundred thousand years is the ability to circle around a tree, rock, ancestor, flag, book or god, and then treat that thing as sacred. People who worship the same idol can trust one another, work as a team and prevail over less cohesive groups. So if you want to understand politics, and especially our divisive culture wars, you must follow the sacredness.
  40. 40. “Sacred groupishness” often makes a “centering idol” out of a list of doctrines. Doctrines provide a loyalty test ... helping us test others for membership in our safe group. Doctrine is not simply about “truth” - it’s about loyalty, safety, security, and groupishness.
  41. 41. But doctrine can have another meaning ... another purpose: Doctrine can mean “a healing teaching.”
  42. 42. What might happen if we took a second look at our core doctrines - not as centering idols, but as healing teachings?
  43. 43. healing teachings intended to bind together what has been torn and broken (re-ligion)?
  44. 44. The Healing Teaching of Creation
  45. 45. The Healing Teaching of Original Sin
  46. 46. 2 trees ... be as gods good and evil us and them male and female Cain and Abel
  47. 47. The Healing Teaching of Election (or chosen-ness)
  48. 48. The Healing Teaching of the Deity of Christ
  49. 49. The Healing Teaching of the Holy Spirit
  50. 50. The Healing Teaching of the Trinity
  51. 51. Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
  52. 52. All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all. - Ms. Cecil Alexander (1848)
  53. 53. Each little flower that opens,/ Each little bird that sings,/ He made their glowing colors./ He made their tiny wings. The purple headed mountains,/ The river running by,/ The sunset and the morning/ That brightens up the sky. The cold wind in the winter,/ The pleasant summer sun,/ The ripe fruits in the garden,/ He made them every one. The tall trees in the greenwood,/The meadows where we play,/ The rushes by the water,/ To gather every day. He gave us eyes to see them,/ And lips that we might tell/ How great is God Almighty,/ Who has made all things well. All things bright and beautiful,/ All creatures great and small,/ All things wise and wonderful:/ The Lord God made them all.
  54. 54. The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, He made them, high or lowly, And ordered their estate. All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
  55. 55. The Rituals We Practice
  56. 56. Baptism: A ritual of cleansing
  57. 57. Clean - unclean Acceptance - revulsion Us - them Clean, still water Certified Gatekeepers
  58. 58. Meanwhile in the wilderness: The Essenes - Hyper-clearn -Hyper-puritan - Isolated communes - Multiple daily baptisms
  59. 59. What would it mean for John ... - to leave his father’s priestly work - to leave the Temple - to leave Jerusalem - to avoid the Essenes - and to baptize ...
  60. 60. in the Jordan River? - in public - in running water - in an “undeveloped” setting - with a message, not of cleanliness, but ...
  61. 61. rethinking, reformulation, repentance?
  62. 62. What does it mean for Jesus to accept John’s baptism?
  63. 63. What would it mean for the Spirit in the form of a dove to descend upon Jesus?
  64. 64. And what would it mean for Jesus’ disciples to expand John’s “guerrilla theatre” around the world?
  65. 65. Baptism - not into a new “hyper-clean” religion - but into Christ, a new humanity, a new kingdom, a new way of life?
  66. 66. Peter, Acts 10: “God has shown me I should never call anyone impure or unclean.” “I now realize ... God does not show favoritism.”
  67. 67. From Catherine Maresca (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) - Finally, [Maria] Cavalletti emphasizes the importance of being specific. You can’t teach children language without teaching children a language. She writes, “Wishing to stay on a vague level without any specific content is the same as wanting a child to talk without using any particular language.” Some parents say they don’t want their children to learn a particular religion because they want them to be free to choose their own. But these children are missing the opportunity to become spiritually literate. To be initiated into the signs of their religious tradition creates the possibility of grasping the signs of many traditions, and of respecting the integrity of each of those traditions. So we need to be religious in a particular way, true to the faith we affirm for ourselves, in order to foster the spiritual and religious literacy of our children.... this is a service to our children. We have to be specific.
  68. 68. While we don’t reject other traditions, a particular religion has to be our starting point. To say, “I’m spiritual but not religious” is like saying, “I’m linguistic but don’t speak any particular language.” Everyone has innate linguistic capacity that gets activated as one learns a particular language or languages. Likewise, everyone has spiritual capacity that gets activated and mobilized through becoming religious in a particular way. Becoming religious in a particular way is foundational for relating to the religious other.
  69. 69. Children who have learned their native language well are poised to learn new languages with greater ease. Children who learned the language of their religious tradition are likewise poised to grasp the sacred signs of another tradition. As we nurture the spiritual life of young children with sacred signs, we simultaneously build the foundation of respect and understanding for others’ beliefs. With spiritual literacy, faith and interfaith formation work hand in hand, promoting in turn a more peaceful world. Children, Signs, and Spiritual Literacy: An Interfaith Experience By Catherine Maresca
  70. 70. Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
  71. 71. Gods of the oppressors Gods of colonization Gods of the oppressed Gods of resistance 2
  72. 72. Mission as proselytism, pacification, assimilation Mission as resistance, recruitment, mobilization
  73. 73. Indonesian tea, rubber, and peanuts
  74. 74. 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
  75. 75. 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
  76. 76. words from vincent donovan
  77. 77. “‘…do not try to call them back to where they were, and do not try to call them to where you are, as beautiful as that place might seem to you. You must have the courage to go with them to a place that neither you nor they have ever been before.’ Good missionary advice, and a beautiful description of the unpredictable process of evangelization, a process leading to that new place where none of us has ever been before.” - Vincent Donovan
  78. 78. 117 clean energy mission
  79. 79. Embodiment of Christ
  80. 80. Solidarity with the Victim & Vulnerable
  81. 81. Witness ... Withness - Mission of Presence “Transgressive” friendship
  82. 82. The mission of presence
  83. 83. the mission of example ... modeling another way of life
  84. 84. the mission of vocation: sending people out to do their daily work with uncommon love ...
  85. 85. the mission of the new evangelism: Proclaiming Jesus’ good news of the kingdom, reign, commonwealth, or dream of God Calling people to rethink everything and learn/follow a new path
  86. 86. Gods of domination, conquest, and empire .... Gods of resistance, differentiation, and freedom .... 2
  87. 87. 126 violent gods of the oppressors violent gods of the oppressed a nonviolent God of reconciliation 3rd option
  88. 88. A Are
  89. 89. you
  90. 90. ready
  91. 91. to
  92. 92. cross
  93. 93. the
  94. 94. road?
  95. 95. www.brianmclaren.net
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