Christian       Identityin aMulti-FaithWorld
CLENCHINGFIST              OR       OPEN HAND
We know how to          have  a STRONG-    HOSTILE    CHRISTIAN     IDENTITY.
We have the only way.         STRONG-You are going to hell.          HOSTILEWe are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.res...
We know how to          have   a weak-    benign    CHRISTIAN     IDENTITY.
it doesn’t matter what youbelieve.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide...
strong-hostile     ORweak-benign?         Or???
IDENTITIES       AREFORMED BY    Stories.
SOME promoteviolence.
SOMEPROMOTEPEACE.
WHICH KINDDO WE LIVEBY?
Ivan Illich (Austrian        former priest,  philosopher, social   critic, 1926-2002)
Neither revolution nor reformationcan ultimately change a society,rather you must tell a new powerfultale, one so persuasi...
… one so inclusive that it gathers all thebits of our past and our present into acoherent whole, one that even shinessome ...
What kind of storydid Jesus tell?
Jesus entered a world like ours -running on stories of  Domination  Revolution  Purification/Scapegoating  Isolation  Compe...
-Domination - Sadducees,Herodians, Romans-Revolution - Zealots-Purification/Scapegoating - Pharisees-Isolation - Essenes-Co...
We could call these the stories of theclenching fist ...Warrior narrativesConflict narrativesSword narratives
SIX CLENCHING-FIST NARRATIVES  TYPICALLY DIRECT HUMAN  SOCIETIES: 1.THE DOMINATION STORY:   PEACE AND SECURITY   THROUGH B...
2. THE REVOLUTION STORY:  PEACE AND SECURITY  THROUGH VIOLENT  OVERTHROW OF  OPPRESSORS.“If only THEY weren’t in  control!...
3. THE PURIFICATION STORY:  PEACE AND SECURITY  THROUGH NAMING,  BLAMING, SHAMING, AND  EXCLUDING A DANGEROUS  MINORITY.“I...
4. THE VICTIMIZATION/SELF-  PRESERVATION STORY:  PRESERVING OURSELVES AT  ALL COSTS THROUGH  PRESERVING THE MEMORY  OF A P...
5. THE ISOLATION STORY:  PEACE AND SECURITY  THROUGH SEPARATING  FROM THE CORRUPT,  DOOMED MAJORITY.“If only we could be l...
6. THE COMPETITION STORY:  PEACE AND SECURITY  THROUGH MONEY POWER  IN A COMPETITIVE  ECONOMY. “If only we could buy, enjo...
Domination: Us over themRevolution: Us versus themPurification: Us versus some of usVictimization: Us in spite of themIsola...
DOMINATION      PURIFICATION               COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION               REVOLUTION   ISOLATION
DOMINATION      PURIFICATION      CONFLICT!               COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION               REVOLUTION   ISOLATION
We could call these the stories of theclenched fist ...Warrior narrativesConflict narrativesSword narratives
Jesus came with an alternative  story:          the good news   of the kingdom* of God.     [*reign, commonwealth, dream, ...
A story of theopen hand ...Gardener narrativePeacemaking narrativePlowshare/Pruning hook narrative
The good news of the kingdom of God    -called people to repentance         (paradigm shift/ radical                     r...
TANGENT ALERT!
I believe the Christian faith is in  the midst of a struggle to  rediscover and re-inhabit thegospel of the kingdom of God...
—a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would                                               ...
—a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would                                               ...
—a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would                                               ...
End ofTANGENT ALERT.
Clenching Fist StoriesDomination: Us over themRevolution: Us versus themPurification: Us versus some of usSelf-preservation...
Jesus’ Open-Hand Narrative of    Creation/Liberation/ReconciliationNOT Domination: Service, NeighborlinessNOT Revolution: ...
NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION         PURIFICATION                  COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION                ...
NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION         PURIFICATION                  COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION                ...
A STRONG BENEVOLENT IDENTITY  DOMINATION       PURIFICATION                 COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION                ...
Hypocrisy:Religions can intentionally or accidentally baptize, support, legitimize, and camouflage the six clenched-fist sto...
Misconception:Our religious differences keep us apart.
Actuality:It is not our religious  differences that keep us  apart, but rather a haunting  religious similarity ... that w...
RELIGIOUS           RELIGIOUS   DOMINATION                        PURIFICATION                      RELIGIOUS  RELIGIOUS  ...
We may be discipling people intothe wrong story … or helping them      become “christians” without         challenging the...
1. The DOMINATION Jesus who   dominates through cultural   colonization, militarism, and   economic hegemony.2. The REVOLU...
3. The PURIFICATION Jesus who excludes   and shames the impure rather than   graciously including and healing them.4. The ...
We’re tired of …5. The SELF-PRESERVATION Jesus who   complains about how badly “we Christians”   are being treated (and ig...
A weak and benign Christian identity may be less dangerous than a strong and hostile identity ...But there is a better alt...
A strong and benevolentChristian identity centered    on Jesus and his story         (good news) of thekingdom/commonwealt...
We have the only way.         STRONG-You are going to hell.          HOSTILEWe are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.res...
it doesn’t matter what youbelieve.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide...
Because I Follow Jesus, I loveyou.I move toward “the other.”I break down walls of hostility.i stand with you in solidarity...
Will we defect from the stories of the clenching fist?Domination: Us over them.Revolution: Us versus them.Purification: Us v...
Will we embody the story of the open hand:Service: Some of us for all of us.Reconciliation: Us reconciling with them.Inclu...
What doctrinal rethinking will be required?What liturgical reformulation will be necessary?What missional renewal will be ...
Martin Luther King, Jr."Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek,but a means by which we arrive at that goal.""Thro...
Martin Luther King, Jr."We will not build a peaceful world byfollowing a negative path. It is not enough tosay we must not...
Somehow, we must transform the dynamicsof the world power struggle from the negativenuclear arms race, which no one can wi...
"I refuse to accept the view thatmankind is so tragically bound to thestarless midnight of racism and war thatthe bright d...
ISA 2:2 In the last days the mountain of the LORDs temple will beestablished   as chief among the mountains; it will be ra...
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,  to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways,so that we m...
Whatever emerging Christian faith will be - it begins with a fresh discovery          of Jesus,      the prince of        ...
Questions:Where do we see the clenching fistnarratives at work within and outside ourreligious communities?How can we see ...
The Prayer of theKingdom
Our Father, above us and all        around us,  May your unspeakable   Name be revered.
Here on earth may yourkingdom come … on earthas in heaven may your will         be done.
Give us today our bread for          today.And forgive us our wrongs      as we forgive.
Lead us away from the     perilous trial,Liberate us from the evil.
For the kingdom is yours and   yours alone, the power isyours and yours alone, and theglory is yours and yours alone,   no...
Come.  Follow      Me.    Let mystory carry on in your      story.
Greenbelt   christian identity
Greenbelt   christian identity
Greenbelt   christian identity
Greenbelt   christian identity
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Greenbelt christian identity

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From Greenbelt 2011. This is material from my next book - tentatively entitled, "Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Walk Into a Bar: Christian Faith in a Multi-Faith World," to be released September 2012.

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Greenbelt christian identity

  1. 1. Christian Identityin aMulti-FaithWorld
  2. 2. CLENCHINGFIST OR OPEN HAND
  3. 3. We know how to have a STRONG- HOSTILE CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  4. 4. We have the only way. STRONG-You are going to hell. HOSTILEWe are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.resistance if futile.you will be assimilated -or eliminated.
  5. 5. We know how to have a weak- benign CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  6. 6. it doesn’t matter what youbelieve.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide. weak-benignkeep religion private.
  7. 7. strong-hostile ORweak-benign? Or???
  8. 8. IDENTITIES AREFORMED BY Stories.
  9. 9. SOME promoteviolence.
  10. 10. SOMEPROMOTEPEACE.
  11. 11. WHICH KINDDO WE LIVEBY?
  12. 12. Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  13. 13. Neither revolution nor reformationcan ultimately change a society,rather you must tell a new powerfultale, one so persuasive that it sweepsaway the old myths and becomes thepreferred story …
  14. 14. … one so inclusive that it gathers all thebits of our past and our present into acoherent whole, one that even shinessome light into the future so that we cantake the next step…. If you want tochange a society, then you have to tell analternative story. - attributed to Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  15. 15. What kind of storydid Jesus tell?
  16. 16. Jesus entered a world like ours -running on stories of Domination Revolution Purification/Scapegoating Isolation Competition Victimization/Self-preservation This is remarkably similar to the religious situation in Jesus’ day.
  17. 17. -Domination - Sadducees,Herodians, Romans-Revolution - Zealots-Purification/Scapegoating - Pharisees-Isolation - Essenes-Competition - Wealthy Judeans-Victimization/Self-preservation -Poor Galileans, sinners, lepers,outcasts
  18. 18. We could call these the stories of theclenching fist ...Warrior narrativesConflict narrativesSword narratives
  19. 19. SIX CLENCHING-FIST NARRATIVES TYPICALLY DIRECT HUMAN SOCIETIES: 1.THE DOMINATION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH BEING IN CONTROL “If only we were in charge!” (Empire)
  20. 20. 2. THE REVOLUTION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF OPPRESSORS.“If only THEY weren’t in control!” (Revenge)
  21. 21. 3. THE PURIFICATION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH NAMING, BLAMING, SHAMING, AND EXCLUDING A DANGEROUS MINORITY.“If only THOSE PEOPLE would change - or disappear.”(If only a minority would change.) (Scapegoating/Genocide)
  22. 22. 4. THE VICTIMIZATION/SELF- PRESERVATION STORY: PRESERVING OURSELVES AT ALL COSTS THROUGH PRESERVING THE MEMORY OF A PAST INJUSTICE. “If only our oppressors would be brought to justice.” (If only the majority would change.)
  23. 23. 5. THE ISOLATION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH SEPARATING FROM THE CORRUPT, DOOMED MAJORITY.“If only we could be left alone to be ourselves by ourselves.” (Elite/elect remnant)
  24. 24. 6. THE COMPETITION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH MONEY POWER IN A COMPETITIVE ECONOMY. “If only we could buy, enjoy, and stockpile what we desire.” (Economic Advantage)
  25. 25. Domination: Us over themRevolution: Us versus themPurification: Us versus some of usVictimization: Us in spite of themIsolation: Us away from themCompetition: Us competing with them.
  26. 26. DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  27. 27. DOMINATION PURIFICATION CONFLICT! COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  28. 28. We could call these the stories of theclenched fist ...Warrior narrativesConflict narrativesSword narratives
  29. 29. Jesus came with an alternative story: the good news of the kingdom* of God. [*reign, commonwealth, dream, dance, economy, ecosystem, movement, beloved community, network, etc]
  30. 30. A story of theopen hand ...Gardener narrativePeacemaking narrativePlowshare/Pruning hook narrative
  31. 31. The good news of the kingdom of God -called people to repentance (paradigm shift/ radical rethinking), - a new way of life, -a new identity “in Christ”
  32. 32. TANGENT ALERT!
  33. 33. I believe the Christian faith is in the midst of a struggle to rediscover and re-inhabit thegospel of the kingdom of God. With imperialism/colonialism, we lost sight of Jesus’ original message.
  34. 34. —a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would New Kind of Christianity dare to believe, worship, and serve not only now, but also beyond now, into the roiling, churning decades ahead.” —Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence I call the conventional story of Western “Now and then gifted people emerge who see the situation from a higher and more helpful level. Brian McLaren is one of those seers.” Greco-Roman) Christianity the Six-Line (or —Richard Rohr, author of Everything Belongs Narrative: “Brave and honest, vulnerable and courageous, disturbing and 5. Perfect Heaven unsettling, reassuring and hopeful: Every now and then you come across a 1. Perfect Creation book you’ve been waiting for. A New Kind of Christianity is that book.”—Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Global and UN special advisor on human trafficking 2. “A new reformation is taking place in Christianity. book.” Fall into Original Sin Brian McLaren is one of its leading voices. This is a very important 4. Atonement/Salvation —Adam Hamilton, author of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White “Brian McLaren has a talent for asking the kind of questions that take people out of their comfort zones to expand the horizons of faith. In A New Kind of Christianity, he challenges his readers to leave behind a ‘steady state’ Christianity in favor of a faith that engages dynamically with the unfolding culture of the twenty-first century.” 3. Fallen History —Maggi Dawn, University of Cambridge 6. Eternal Hell 0210
  35. 35. —a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would New Kind of Christianity dare to believe, worship, and serve not only now, but also beyond now, into the roiling, churning decades ahead.” —Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence I suspect that this story is not actually from the Bible itself, but arises from Greek “Now and then gifted people emerge who see the situation from a higher and more helpful level. Brian McLaren is one of those seers.” philosophy: of Everything Belongs —Richard Rohr, author “Brave and honest, vulnerable and courageous, disturbing and to Platonic Ideal 5. Return unsettling, reassuring and hopeful: Every now and then you come across a book you’ve been waiting for. A New Kind of Christianity is that book.” 1. Platonic Ideal/Being—Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Global and UN special advisor on human trafficking “A new reformation is taking place in Christianity. Brian McLaren is one of its leading voices. This is a very important book.” 2. Fall into Aristotelian —Adam Hamilton, author of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White Real/Becoming “Brian McLaren has a talent for asking the kind of questions that take people out of their comfort zones to expand the horizons4.faith. In A New of Atonement/Salvation Kind of Christianity, he challenges his readers to leave behind a ‘steady state’ Christianity in favor of a faith that engages dynamically with the unfolding culture of the twenty-first century.” 3. Aristotelian Becoming —Maggi Dawn, University of Cambridge 6. Greek Hades 0210
  36. 36. —a love letter from an affectionate, but seasoned pastor to those who would New Kind of Christianity dare to believe, worship, and serve not only now, but also beyond now, into the roiling, churning decades ahead.” —Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence I believe the Bible presents a 3-D narrative “Now and then gifted people emerge who see the situation from a higher and more helpful level. Brian McLaren is flat, 6-line narrative: space instead of a one of those seers.” —Richard Rohr, author of Everything Belongs “Brave and honest, vulnerable and courageous, disturbing and unsettling, reassuring and hopeful: Every now and then you come across a book you’ve been waiting for. A New Kind of Christianity is that book.”—Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Global and UN special advisor on human trafficking Reconciliation “A new reformation is taking place in Christianity. Brian McLaren is one of its leading voices. This is a very important book.” —Adam Hamilton, author of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White “Brian McLaren has a talent for asking the kind of questions that take people out of their comfort zones to expand the horizons of faith. In A New Kind of Christianity, he challenges his readers to leave behind a ‘steady state’ Christianity in favor of a faith that engages dynamically with the unfolding culture of the twenty-first century.” Creation University of Cambridge —Maggi Dawn, Liberation 0210
  37. 37. End ofTANGENT ALERT.
  38. 38. Clenching Fist StoriesDomination: Us over themRevolution: Us versus themPurification: Us versus some of usSelf-preservation: Us in spite of themIsolation: Us away from themCompetition: Us competing with them.
  39. 39. Jesus’ Open-Hand Narrative of Creation/Liberation/ReconciliationNOT Domination: Service, NeighborlinessNOT Revolution: ReconciliationNOT Purification: Welcome/Hospitality/InclusionNOT Self-preservation: Pursuit of common goodNOT Isolation: Incarnation ... Penetration ... IdentificationNOT Competition: Generosity, Self-Giving
  40. 40. NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  41. 41. NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITIONSELF-PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  42. 42. A STRONG BENEVOLENT IDENTITY DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  43. 43. Hypocrisy:Religions can intentionally or accidentally baptize, support, legitimize, and camouflage the six clenched-fist stories.They can cover up a wolf-ish message in sheep’s language.
  44. 44. Misconception:Our religious differences keep us apart.
  45. 45. Actuality:It is not our religious differences that keep us apart, but rather a haunting religious similarity ... that we preserve hostile stories which produce hostile identities.
  46. 46. RELIGIOUS RELIGIOUS DOMINATION PURIFICATION RELIGIOUS RELIGIOUS SELF- COMPETITION PRESERVATION RELIGIOUS REVOLUTIONRELIGIOUS ISOLATION
  47. 47. We may be discipling people intothe wrong story … or helping them become “christians” without challenging their stories. In such a way, the Christian religion can become the most dangerous story, not the most healing and liberating story.
  48. 48. 1. The DOMINATION Jesus who dominates through cultural colonization, militarism, and economic hegemony.2. The REVOLUTION/REVENGE Jesus who is planning revenge on his enemies.We believe Jesus proclaims the power of love, not the love of power.
  49. 49. 3. The PURIFICATION Jesus who excludes and shames the impure rather than graciously including and healing them.4. The ISOLATION Jesus who invites people to withdraw into a “holy bubble” of a “nice christian subculture” awaiting evacuation. We believe Jesus calls us to incarnation and transformation, not condemnation and evacuation.
  50. 50. We’re tired of …5. The SELF-PRESERVATION Jesus who complains about how badly “we Christians” are being treated (and ignores the atrocities we’ve committed).6. The COMPETITION Jesus who promises blessings and prosperity without a mission or a cross. We believe Jesus taught the joy of being a blessing, not the happiness of getting blessed, the joy of giving over receiving.
  51. 51. A weak and benign Christian identity may be less dangerous than a strong and hostile identity ...But there is a better alternative:
  52. 52. A strong and benevolentChristian identity centered on Jesus and his story (good news) of thekingdom/commonwealth of God.
  53. 53. We have the only way. STRONG-You are going to hell. HOSTILEWe are God’s chosen.You worship false gods.resistance if futile.you will be assimilated -or eliminated.
  54. 54. it doesn’t matter what youbelieve.all religions are the same.all roads lead to god.only sincerity matters.doctrines divide. weak-benignkeep religion private.
  55. 55. Because I Follow Jesus, I loveyou.I move toward “the other.”I break down walls of hostility.i stand with you in solidarity. strong-you are made in God’s image.i am your servant. benevolentI practice human-kindness.
  56. 56. Will we defect from the stories of the clenching fist?Domination: Us over them.Revolution: Us versus them.Purification: Us versus some of us.Self-preservation: Us in spite of them.Isolation: Us away from themCompetition: Us competing with them.
  57. 57. Will we embody the story of the open hand:Service: Some of us for all of us.Reconciliation: Us reconciling with them.Inclusion: Us welcoming them to the tableEmpowerment: Us working for the common good with them.Incarnation: Us as neighbors in solidarity with themSacrifice: Us risking and giving on behalf of them
  58. 58. What doctrinal rethinking will be required?What liturgical reformulation will be necessary?What missional renewal will be essential?
  59. 59. Martin Luther King, Jr."Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek,but a means by which we arrive at that goal.""Through violence you may murder a murderer, butyou cant murder murder.Through violence you may murder a liar, but youcant establish truth.Through violence you may murder a hater, but youcant murder hate.Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light cando that..."
  60. 60. Martin Luther King, Jr."We will not build a peaceful world byfollowing a negative path. It is not enough tosay we must not wage war. It is necessary tolove peace and sacrifice for it. We mustconcentrate not merely on the negativeexpulsion of war but the positive affirmationof peace. We must see that peacerepresents a sweeter music, a cosmicmelody, that is far superior to the dis-chordsof war.
  61. 61. Somehow, we must transform the dynamicsof the world power struggle from the negativenuclear arms race, which no one can win, toa positive contest to harness humanityscreative genius for the purpose of makingpeace and prosperity a reality for all thenations of the world. In short, we must shiftthe arms race into a peace race. If we have awill- and determination- to mount such apeace offensive, we will unlock hithertotightly sealed doors of hope and transformour imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm ofcreative fulfillment."
  62. 62. "I refuse to accept the view thatmankind is so tragically bound to thestarless midnight of racism and war thatthe bright daybreak of peace andbrotherhood can never become reality. Ibelieve that unarmed truth andunconditional love will have the finalword."
  63. 63. ISA 2:2 In the last days the mountain of the LORDs temple will beestablished as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. ISA 2:3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  64. 64. "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways,so that we may walk in hispaths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of theLORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations ISA 2:4 and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light ISA 2:5of the LORD.
  65. 65. Whatever emerging Christian faith will be - it begins with a fresh discovery of Jesus, the prince of peace.
  66. 66. Questions:Where do we see the clenching fistnarratives at work within and outside ourreligious communities?How can we see mission, proclamation,conversion, liturgy, baptism, eucharist,catechism, etc., in relation to thesenarratives?How can we translate “kingdom of God”into contemporary language without losingits original subversive dynamism?
  67. 67. The Prayer of theKingdom
  68. 68. Our Father, above us and all around us, May your unspeakable Name be revered.
  69. 69. Here on earth may yourkingdom come … on earthas in heaven may your will be done.
  70. 70. Give us today our bread for today.And forgive us our wrongs as we forgive.
  71. 71. Lead us away from the perilous trial,Liberate us from the evil.
  72. 72. For the kingdom is yours and yours alone, the power isyours and yours alone, and theglory is yours and yours alone, now and forever. Amen. (Hallelujah … Amen)
  73. 73. Come. Follow Me. Let mystory carry on in your story.

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