Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Writing the Evangel

The more deeply I read Christian literature and commentary, the more I find myself asking, "to whom was this written, and why?" I think that Duncan, like Jim Wallis, like Brian McLaren, is writing to fundamentalists, to evangelicals, to those whose rigidity leans in the direction of inerrancy rather than relativism. We who come from the halls of "liberalism" and universalism, who claim Marcus Borg and Anne Lamott and Mohandas Gandhi as our spiritual brethren, can tend to pick up writings of this sort and, with a self-satisfied smugness, shout "Aha! We told you!" Our needed corrective is not Duncan, but perhaps Billy Graham, or someone else who loves -- wistfully and painfully loves -- Jesus and our shared 2000-5000 year history.

Sometimes I recognize in myself the tendency to claim triumph, rather than to take in the needed admonishment, and to (lovingly) discipline my own rigidity and "inerrancy".

I am weary, truly weary of liberals and other pagans (not being technical here) who claim their deepest spirituality is in nature and not in church. Of course it is: nature cannot fight, conflict, err, speak out of turn, disappoint, sing offkey. Nature requires no response but gratitude, and doesn't even really require that. Nature is not human. It is, in that way, utterly unlike Jesus our Lord, who was deeply, tragically, joyfully human, and fought, conflicted, erred, spoke out of turn, disappointed, and probably sang offkey.

Our corrective is not universality or nature-reverence. It is rapture, engagement, humility. And the evangel Himself.

2 comments:

jON said...

Wow. That was utterly gorgeous. Thank you. I enjoyed every word.

Rick said...

I agree with you! Thank you!