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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My inadvertent participation in the domination systems of the western church.

Before I go too far let me say that these people at IRC are good people, really good people, and I am grateful they gave me a start. I only paint this picture to help us think.

When I was a youth pastor I took our high school group to a downtown mission called The Other Way Ministry. We were from a suburban white church called Immanuel Reformed. It was once a city church but the neighborhood had changed and it became clear that if they didn’t adapt to the change they would become extinct. They wanted to leave anyway although no one really wanted to speak it. Secretly it was true though they would never say it. The city was not really a good place. They took a soft survey and found they weren’t really wanted in the shifting neighborhood. It made it easier to sell the building, a really nice building, which had become a maintenance issue for $75,000. It really was a good price with a dismal future. It was soothed by the fact that the congregation was black and “would do well” in this neighborhood.

They built a new facility on the Beltline in a suburb surrounded by new move ins with new money and new targets on their foreheads. Being in the suburbs they had enough money to buy a youth pastor for their kids. I was eager to get the job and never even considered anything about this history. In fact I was glad the location was good and the facility was new. I was culpable in this crime. The senior pastor was a California guy shipped in to help bring the new neighborhood in. I was to assist in that endeavor.

Here I was with this group on a Saturday in the poor side of town doing good works for God. When we gathered in the group before our assignments our guide, the director of the mission provided a talk about what we would engage in. In the midst of the talk he said something to the effect that “none of you will ever experience poverty because of the support you have, the education you enjoy, and the families that back you”. I remember thinking that he must have had a bad morning or was really a bit whacked. I mean how could he know such things? Turns out that he was mostly right. I accompanied a few of the kids to a home on the west side. It was the cat ladies house. You can probably get the drift. Many cats and no supervision. It was horrid. I wondered if we were given that assignment out of a secret vendetta or something. One of the kids was the daughter of a CEO and huge contributor to the building fund and the church machine. I remember she did her work without complaint and really quite admirably. We were impressed. It was great except one thing—after this one foray into the world on the other side she would never return. The cat ladies house would fill with new unsupervised mess and she would be off to Grove City College or Calvin or Wheaton or University of Michigan. She would marry well, live well, and the paths of the cat ladies of the world would never enter her space again.

Repeat this scenario every week-end until the cottage exit in the summer to the coast of Lake Michigan and you can understand the director’s cynical remarks. But he was bought, I was bought, and no one planned that. But everybody supported it. Even if we never really thought about it. Nothing really changes in my hometown. The churches still go to the other way missions so their kids can learn to ‘serve’.

No one is guilty in a direct way; all are guilty in a subtle way as the cycle just repeats itself over and over and over. And when I post this on the internet I know that the coward in me hopes they never read it. They are not bad people, but they support a system of domination that needs to be addressed in more than an offhand way if we are to be ‘Christian’.

Unless we alter the definition of what it means to be ‘Christian’. And that is what has happened. We made it about believing in a set of statements instead of dreaming the dream of God and walking in that.

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