more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.

 

The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.


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« Have my daughters...or dealing with the elephant before he sits on us | Main | Trust, patience, and holding tension in community »
Monday
Apr142008

Why community?

Often when I present ideas on rethinking gospel in connection with the idea of the "leveling of the table" or "embracing justice as gospel oriented" I am met with a barrage of personal attacks. They are couched in personal choice. "Why don't you--sell your house, give up your car, move to the city?, Why do you want us to do this? This is your call not mine so don't project it on me.Why do you assume we should follow you? Why don't you "stop talking" and do this? etc."

Mostly I interpret what they are saying as, "why don't you go away and stop troubling me or us." I understand the frustration.  I do. And it is sometimes tempting to do these things in order to "prove I am serious" or relieve the pressure of hypocrisy these questions incite, but I don't react without thinking it through. I am too old and experienced to have a knee jerk reaction and jump in. I am convinced that  leaving alone to do this relieves the pressure from the community, and from myself, but it doesn't succeed at all.

In fact it may exacerbate the problem by creating the divide.

One of the reasons I "don't"  do these things follows. Understand that the pressure to do these things would indeed relieve stress and self doubt from me, the agitator, for a time by "showing people that I am serious  or committed". It also, might I add, relieve tension from the upset and often frustrated,  agitated, community. But "submitting" to this pressure will lead to frustration in the end. When "the one" goes away from the larger community on an isolated charge into this system they will not fare well, and the community can return undisturbed to their business ,which will do little good, until the next singular brave soul pops his head out of the shell, and the cycle, much like this sentence, repeats.

I have seen it again and again in my friends. They take the plunge and are isolated from the central controlling community and are thus made ineffective and eventually fail due to lack of resource, fatigue, or self doubt. They are not weak, some are determined and tough perhaps the most dedicated people I have met, but this is simply not meant to be done alone. No person, or individual from the controlling empowered system of church creates this scenario which drives the wedge between these two. There is no evil conspiracy, no one intending boundaries be made, it is simply a part of the systemic problem.

What these dedicated isolationist inadvertently do is allow themselves to be successfully insulated and isolated from the communities  in proximity, presence, and persuasion and in this way have been successfully marginalized to the unseen, unvisited, and forgotten edge.

These pioneer, rugged individualists are very dedicated but are silenced in their removal from the community. One of my early classes on evangelism taught by Dr. J. Dudley Woodberry discussed the most effective way to impact a people group. Three things were important 1) proximity (being near for contact) 2) presence (having a voice and 3) persuasion (speaking in a way that invites response). And this shift in our understanding of the gospel is a type of evangelism. While I do target a world that longs for justice and truth I am preaching to the choir to turn around as well.  I am suggesting a rethinking of gospel for all of us.

What these dedicated isolationist inadvertently do is allow themselves to be successfully insulated and isolated from the communities  in proximity, presence, and persuasion and in this way have been successfully marginalized to the unseen, unvisited, and forgotten edge.

They may die there.

These systems occasionally import a Shane Claiborne type model, (no offense intended to Shane's method or sincerity intended) into their radar, but he serves mainly to placate the community, normatively the high school or college age, with his novelty and "missionary passion". He is impassioned and admired, but he is seen as unique, and most young people will be encouraged to pursue a more accepted way of moving up the ladder in conventional system of education. The leaders who bring him in never really expect most attendees to emulate him so much as marvel at him. He is the chosen, marginal character, that serves as the opiate for dreamy eyed youth. It is easier to let him brush against the system than upset the system by resisting him. I know that sounds harsh and cynical but for now there it is.

Throw in the  constant barrage of "blessing" theology (i.e. if you are blessed of God, usually meaning financially, then obviously you are doing the right thing because God is backing you up), steeped with consumerism, meism, and few travel this "leveling of the table" road today. Particularly if it is optional and not central to the gospel. Only the "called" are expected to respond and  "go it alone".  Often they will have a challenge staying above water and may feel lesser or better than "the ones that are blessed or sell out" depending on who is speaking.

Neither scenario is good. Never the twain shall meet. The beat goes on.

Not if I can help it. 

I want that to change that so we all share in the "keeping of our brother" lest the spirit of Cain rule the day. The gospel is about the table, open and level, for all who may come in. These are the days when this message makes sense.

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