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Christian
       Identity
in a
Multi-Faith
World
CLENCHING
FIST

              OR

       OPEN HAND
We know how to
          have
  a STRONG-
    HOSTILE
    CHRISTIAN
     IDENTITY.
We have the only way.
         STRONG-
You are going to hell.
          HOSTILE
We are God’s chosen.
You worship false gods.
resistance if futile.
you will be assimilated -
or eliminated.
We know how to
          have

   a weak-
    benign
    CHRISTIAN
     IDENTITY.
it doesn’t matter what you
believe.
all religions are the same.
all roads lead to god.
only sincerity matters.
doctrines divide.
 weak-benign
keep religion private.
strong-hostile
     OR
weak-benign?

         Or???
IDENTITIES
       ARE
FORMED BY
    Stories.
SOME
 promote
violence.
SOME
PROMOTE
PEACE.
WHICH KIND
DO WE LIVE
BY?
Ivan Illich (Austrian
        former priest,
  philosopher, social
   critic, 1926-2002)
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 …
… 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)
What kind of story
did Jesus tell?
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.
-Domination - Sadducees,
Herodians, Romans
-Revolution - Zealots
-Purification/Scapegoating - Pharisees
-Isolation - Essenes
-Competition - Wealthy Judeans
-Victimization/Self-preservation -
Poor Galileans, sinners, lepers,
outcasts
We could call these the stories of the
clenching fist ...




Warrior narratives
Conflict narratives
Sword narratives
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)
2. THE REVOLUTION STORY:
  PEACE AND SECURITY
  THROUGH VIOLENT
  OVERTHROW OF
  OPPRESSORS.
“If only THEY weren’t in
  control!” (Revenge)
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)
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.)
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)
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)
Domination: Us over them
Revolution: Us versus them
Purification: Us versus some of us
Victimization: Us in spite of them
Isolation: Us away from them
Competition: Us competing with
 them.
DOMINATION      PURIFICATION


               COMPETITION
SELF-
PRESERVATION

               REVOLUTION
   ISOLATION
DOMINATION      PURIFICATION

      CONFLICT!
               COMPETITION
SELF-
PRESERVATION

               REVOLUTION
   ISOLATION
We could call these the stories of the
clenched fist ...




Warrior narratives
Conflict narratives
Sword narratives
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]
A story of the
open hand ...




Gardener narrative
Peacemaking narrative
Plowshare/Pruning hook narrative
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”
TANGENT ALERT!
I believe the Christian faith is in
  the midst of a struggle to
  rediscover and re-inhabit the
gospel of the kingdom of God.
   With imperialism/colonialism,
   we lost sight of Jesus’ original
                         message.
—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
—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
—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
End of
TANGENT ALERT.
Clenching Fist Stories
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 them
Competition: Us competing with them.
Jesus’ Open-Hand Narrative of
    Creation/Liberation/Reconciliation
NOT Domination: Service, Neighborliness
NOT Revolution: Reconciliation
NOT Purification: Welcome/Hospitality/Inclusion
NOT Self-preservation: Pursuit of common good
NOT Isolation: Incarnation ... Penetration ...
  Identification
NOT Competition: Generosity, Self-Giving
NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION



 DOMINATION         PURIFICATION


                  COMPETITION
SELF-
PRESERVATION

                  REVOLUTION
    ISOLATION
NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION



 DOMINATION         PURIFICATION


                  COMPETITION
SELF-
PRESERVATION

                  REVOLUTION
    ISOLATION
A STRONG BENEVOLENT IDENTITY


  DOMINATION       PURIFICATION


                 COMPETITION
 SELF-
 PRESERVATION

                 REVOLUTION
    ISOLATION
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.
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 we
  preserve hostile stories which
  produce hostile identities.
RELIGIOUS           RELIGIOUS
   DOMINATION
                        PURIFICATION
                      RELIGIOUS
  RELIGIOUS
  SELF-               COMPETITION
  PRESERVATION
                      RELIGIOUS
                      REVOLUTION
RELIGIOUS ISOLATION
We may be discipling people into
the 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.
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.
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.
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.
A weak and benign Christian
 identity may be less dangerous
 than a strong and hostile
 identity ...




But there is a better alternative:
A strong and benevolent
Christian identity centered
    on Jesus and his story
         (good news) of the
kingdom/commonwealth of
                      God.
We have the only way.
         STRONG-
You are going to hell.
          HOSTILE
We are God’s chosen.
You worship false gods.
resistance if futile.
you will be assimilated -
or eliminated.
it doesn’t matter what you
believe.
all religions are the same.
all roads lead to god.
only sincerity matters.
doctrines divide.
 weak-benign
keep religion private.
Because I Follow Jesus, I love
you.
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.
     benevolent
I practice human-kindness.
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 them
Competition: Us competing with them.
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 table
Empowerment: Us working for the common good
  with them.
Incarnation: Us as neighbors in solidarity with them
Sacrifice: Us risking and giving on behalf of them
What doctrinal
 rethinking will be
 required?
What liturgical
 reformulation will be
 necessary?
What missional renewal
 will be essential?
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, but
you can't murder murder.
Through violence you may murder a liar, but you
can't establish truth.
Through violence you may murder a hater, but you
can't murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can
do that..."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We will not build a peaceful world by
following a negative path. It is not enough to
say we must not wage war. It is necessary to
love peace and sacrifice for it. We must
concentrate not merely on the negative
expulsion of war but the positive affirmation
of peace. We must see that peace
represents a sweeter music, a cosmic
melody, that is far superior to the dis-chords
of war.
Somehow, we must transform the dynamics
of the world power struggle from the negative
nuclear arms race, which no one can win, to
a positive contest to harness humanity's
creative genius for the purpose of making
peace and prosperity a reality for all the
nations of the world. In short, we must shift
the arms race into a peace race. If we have a
will- and determination- to mount such a
peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto
tightly sealed doors of hope and transform
our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of
creative fulfillment."
"I refuse to accept the view that
mankind is so tragically bound to the
starless midnight of racism and war that
the bright daybreak of peace and
brotherhood can never become reality. I
believe that unarmed truth and
unconditional love will have the final
word."
ISA 2:2 In the last days
 the mountain of the LORD's temple will be
established
   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.
"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.

      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 2:5

of the LORD.
Whatever emerging
 Christian faith will
 be - it begins with
 a fresh discovery
          of Jesus,
      the prince of
             peace.
Questions:
Where do we see the clenching fist
narratives at work within and outside our
religious communities?
How can we see mission, proclamation,
conversion, liturgy, baptism, eucharist,
catechism, etc., in relation to these
narratives?
How can we translate “kingdom of God”
into contemporary language without losing
its original subversive dynamism?
The Prayer of the
Kingdom
Our Father, above us and all
        around us,
  May your unspeakable
   Name be revered.
Here on earth may your
kingdom come … on earth
as 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 is
yours and yours alone, and the
glory is yours and yours alone,
   now and forever. Amen.
     (Hallelujah … Amen)
Come.
  Follow
      Me.
    Let my
story carry
 on in your
      story.
Greenbelt   christian identity

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Greenbelt christian identity

  • 1. Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
  • 2. CLENCHING FIST OR OPEN HAND
  • 3. We know how to have a STRONG- HOSTILE CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  • 4. We have the only way. STRONG- You are going to hell. HOSTILE We are God’s chosen. You worship false gods. resistance if futile. you will be assimilated - or eliminated.
  • 5. We know how to have a weak- benign CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
  • 6. it doesn’t matter what you believe. all religions are the same. all roads lead to god. only sincerity matters. doctrines divide. weak-benign keep religion private.
  • 7. strong-hostile OR weak-benign? Or???
  • 8. IDENTITIES ARE FORMED BY Stories.
  • 11. WHICH KIND DO WE LIVE BY?
  • 12. Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  • 13. 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 …
  • 14. … 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)
  • 15. What kind of story did Jesus tell?
  • 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. -Domination - Sadducees, Herodians, Romans -Revolution - Zealots -Purification/Scapegoating - Pharisees -Isolation - Essenes -Competition - Wealthy Judeans -Victimization/Self-preservation - Poor Galileans, sinners, lepers, outcasts
  • 18. We could call these the stories of the clenching fist ... Warrior narratives Conflict narratives Sword narratives
  • 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. 2. THE REVOLUTION STORY: PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGH VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF OPPRESSORS. “If only THEY weren’t in control!” (Revenge)
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Domination: Us over them Revolution: Us versus them Purification: Us versus some of us Victimization: Us in spite of them Isolation: Us away from them Competition: Us competing with them.
  • 26. DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  • 27. DOMINATION PURIFICATION CONFLICT! COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  • 28. We could call these the stories of the clenched fist ... Warrior narratives Conflict narratives Sword narratives
  • 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. A story of the open hand ... Gardener narrative Peacemaking narrative Plowshare/Pruning hook narrative
  • 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”
  • 33. I believe the Christian faith is in the midst of a struggle to rediscover and re-inhabit the gospel of the kingdom of God. With imperialism/colonialism, we lost sight of Jesus’ original message.
  • 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. —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. —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
  • 38. Clenching Fist Stories 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 them Competition: Us competing with them.
  • 39. Jesus’ Open-Hand Narrative of Creation/Liberation/Reconciliation NOT Domination: Service, Neighborliness NOT Revolution: Reconciliation NOT Purification: Welcome/Hospitality/Inclusion NOT Self-preservation: Pursuit of common good NOT Isolation: Incarnation ... Penetration ... Identification NOT Competition: Generosity, Self-Giving
  • 40. NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  • 41. NEW CREATION/ RECONCILIATION DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  • 42. A STRONG BENEVOLENT IDENTITY DOMINATION PURIFICATION COMPETITION SELF- PRESERVATION REVOLUTION ISOLATION
  • 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.
  • 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. RELIGIOUS RELIGIOUS DOMINATION PURIFICATION RELIGIOUS RELIGIOUS SELF- COMPETITION PRESERVATION RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION RELIGIOUS ISOLATION
  • 47. We may be discipling people into the 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. 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. 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. 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. A weak and benign Christian identity may be less dangerous than a strong and hostile identity ... But there is a better alternative:
  • 52. A strong and benevolent Christian identity centered on Jesus and his story (good news) of the kingdom/commonwealth of God.
  • 53. We have the only way. STRONG- You are going to hell. HOSTILE We are God’s chosen. You worship false gods. resistance if futile. you will be assimilated - or eliminated.
  • 54. it doesn’t matter what you believe. all religions are the same. all roads lead to god. only sincerity matters. doctrines divide. weak-benign keep religion private.
  • 55. Because I Follow Jesus, I love you. 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. benevolent I practice human-kindness.
  • 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 them Competition: Us competing with them.
  • 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 table Empowerment: Us working for the common good with them. Incarnation: Us as neighbors in solidarity with them Sacrifice: Us risking and giving on behalf of them
  • 58. What doctrinal rethinking will be required? What liturgical reformulation will be necessary? What missional renewal will be essential?
  • 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, but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that..."
  • 60. Martin Luther King, Jr. "We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the dis-chords of war.
  • 61. Somehow, we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race, which no one can win, to a positive contest to harness humanity's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a peace race. If we have a will- and determination- to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment."
  • 62. "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."
  • 63. ISA 2:2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established 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. "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. 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 2:5 of the LORD.
  • 65.
  • 66.
  • 67. Whatever emerging Christian faith will be - it begins with a fresh discovery of Jesus, the prince of peace.
  • 68. Questions: Where do we see the clenching fist narratives at work within and outside our religious communities? How can we see mission, proclamation, conversion, liturgy, baptism, eucharist, catechism, etc., in relation to these narratives? How can we translate “kingdom of God” into contemporary language without losing its original subversive dynamism?
  • 69. The Prayer of the Kingdom
  • 70.
  • 71. Our Father, above us and all around us, May your unspeakable Name be revered.
  • 72. Here on earth may your kingdom come … on earth as in heaven may your will be done.
  • 73. Give us today our bread for today. And forgive us our wrongs as we forgive.
  • 74. Lead us away from the perilous trial, Liberate us from the evil.
  • 75. For the kingdom is yours and yours alone, the power is yours and yours alone, and the glory is yours and yours alone, now and forever. Amen. (Hallelujah … Amen)
  • 76. Come. Follow Me. Let my story carry on in your story.