Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lack of control

Mostly I love technology. Computers and I have been friends since they were in diapers. I learned on mainframes, and can still recite DOS alongside childhood limericks. As they grew, I learned to let go -- to have less control over how they ran, what languages they learned, and what they did with the knowledge I gave them.

Our church has begun to create a deeper online presence. This week, we started offering Bible study through bulletin boards on our website (
www.campbellucc.org/discuss -- we're working on Luke), and to have one of our leadership discussions online where everyone can see it. It's a baby step, to be sure, but an important one.

Of course, just as we're taking our little steps forward, technology (see "lack of control", above) fails us. Our web provider, ipowerweb, has some nasty code lurking on its Apache server that's been appending to our web pages and messing up our bulletin boards.

How does it feel? Like we've just got the baby toddling on two feet, but some hacker with not enough to do is deliberately tripping the baby -- and the web provider is giving the baby a little shove from behind.

So we're back to square one, waiting for them to fix the server so people can learn how to connect online.

Kind of missing the old days right now.

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.