Contempt for Liberalism

October 8, 2008 at 4:25 am Leave a comment

I originally intended this article as a bit of a rant against those who criticize liberalism and progressivism in theology/religion. As a progressive myself, it is easy to spring to the defence of something I espouse. However, after typing the title for this, it was time for supper, so I put the laptop away. Coming back to it later, I had cooled down and decided to think about things for a bit. Maybe it was the delicious dinner but I was much more mellow when I got back to the keyboard.

I went to bed thinking of the array of views that Christianity includes, all the way from strict fundamentalism, through literalists, traditionalists to contemporists, liberals and progressives. I mentioned before that I have a new found feeling of being at peace with the world. This Gandhi-like attitude washed over me as I tossed in bed that night and I smiled as it was revealed to me that there are many paths to find the Spirit within Christianity, just as there are many paths outside of Christianity leading to the same knowledge. They are all valid, so live and let live my inner self was saying. Yet a small sadness tugged at my soul.

There are very many religious people following their faith tradition and they are doing the right things, but for the wrong reasons. They simply follow the dictates of their leadership. This is perhaps a pebble in the quarry of life, but this pebble was now in my shoe and causing discomfort on my journey. My mind settles on my preaching course.

This course was instituted at the presbytery level and was developed within the United Church Manual guidelines. It was two years long and consisted of a rigorous bible study of the Old and New Testaments as well as instruction on worship. liturgy, hermeneutics and sermon preparation. There were about a dozen people in the class. I know that the course had a profound effect on us all. Two members felt the call to enter ordered ministry, while the rest of us took on enhanced roles in our church families and throughout the presbytery as lay worship leaders. My swing from conservatism/traditionalism started during this course. I was introduced to Borg and Spong; Harper and Pagels; Crossan and Armstrong; Breuggemann, Barth and Bonhoeffer. I experienced a traumatic period of doubt about the direction my journey was taking as well as sadness at the deconstruction of something I held dear. My faith was in ruins. But from the rubble a delicate sprout appeared. I watered it with further reading and discussion. I explored other traditions. The sprout became a sapling that continues to strengthen and grow today. Although I kept my rapidly changing thoughts to myself, figuring my classmates would find me bizarre, my enthusiasm spilled over from time to time. A few people finally questioned me about my new outlook and I discovered that they too had been experiencing similar doubts and sadness. I was able to tell them that the end result of my experience was very liberating, enlightening and satisfying. I felt a load had been lifted from me. This is what I feel the fundamental/ traditional/ literal throngs are missing. They may have a happy right relationship with ‘God’, but only because they are following dogma and orthodoxy that other people deem proper. Their God is the old man on a cloud who lives in a place with streets paved with gold. Having that right relationship is good, but how much better is it to have a liberated and enlightened relationship that is the product of one’s own examination and discovery.

I am happy that so many people, of all traditions, have that happy relationship with the creator, yet I know they can have so much more. My prayer is that the Spirit moves them to examine their journey so they may experience the ‘kin-dom’ of the Spirit here in this life.



Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

Amber Alert Looking Into God’s Eyes?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Read Chase Now

Chase Rourke (As he sees himself)


Read draft sample NOW

Click here!

Blog Stats

  • 6,039 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other followers

%d bloggers like this: