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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cornerstone case

What Kind of Friend Am I

The song ‘What Kind of Friend’ written by the late Mark Heard and recorded by local artist Ralston Bowles in his outstanding release ‘Carwreck Conversations’ is worth considering when we think of the goings on at Cornerstone University these days. I am referring to the ‘controversy’ involving three heavyweights Stowell, Dobson, and Wittmer that is being played out now on a rather public stage. The song discusses ‘what kind of friend am I’ when ‘the bomb goes off and the shelter is his’ or ‘when the musical chairs are down to one’. In other words how do I respond when the heat is on in respect to my friends or colleagues? Will I throw them under the bus or not?

What kind of a friend could pull a knife
When it's him or you and his kids need shoes?
What kind of friend would do you in
When the bomb goes off and the shelter's his?

What kind of friends do friends become
When the musical chairs get down to one?
What kind of friend could I become?
What kind of friend am I?

In the case of Cornerstone the answer to ‘how will I respond’ is to create a well written managed public statement that is carefully constructed to maintain my position while extending a ‘hand of friendship’ to a colleague I feel ‘is sincere but wrong’. The conflict at Cornerstone (and in Christianity in general) is fueled by the tension of followers standing on the sidelines like kids in the school hall waiting for a fight to break out. They want to see if you will stand up for what is right…whatever that may be based on their own conviction. Sides are chosen. Lines are drawn. Right versus wrong.

This is all so familiar.

But it need not be.

At this juncture in time Christianity is seen as a set of beliefs. Believe the right stuff and you are Christian. Step in this box with its bounded sides and you are ‘in’. Step out of line and you may be outside of the realm of what we consider ‘orthodox’ or right belief. We live and work out of a bounded set constraint.

But there is another way.

A centered set paradigm sets Jesus at the center and asks that we move towards Him. Your path may be different than my journey, your conclusions of what may be the best way to go may differ from mine but that is really not a problem because I know you are headed in the direction of the Kingdom. I don’t assume you have to have the same ‘set of beliefs’ as me to trust that you believe in (that is, trust as true) Jesus. In the case of the big three at Cornerstone the truth is---all three are headed towards the Kingdom of God. All three are seeking Christ. I trust that. They need not be forced into a position of ‘making a stand’ or ‘boxing one another in or out’. In the centered set paradigm (way of thinking) a conciliatory mindset replaces a dividing mindset.

Frequently Jesus said things like…’the kingdom is upon you’ or ‘you are not far from the kingdom’ indicating a path or journey towards a center. He often resisted the mindset of the Pharisees, or Essenes, or Zealots which said ‘be like this’ or you are not orthodox serving God ‘righteously’. His way was moving towards God.

Would to God that we would learn this lesson in our day and move away from those ways that divide, and onto the ways that encourage. It would set these fine men free to continue on their way without setting them up for a conflict in the hall of the ‘school called Christianity’. As a Christian I really don’t like seeing fights in the hall of my school anyway. A new way of thinking can eliminate these troubling skirmishes.


Daryl Underwood

Reader Comments (4)

i have just read the article discord need not divide believers. what i do not understand from the article is...what does a believer believe. the article says that right now christianity is seen as a set of beliefs. believe the right stuff, and you are a christian. well what do you mean by stuff. i have never heard of such a thing, and what is it that i am to believe. the atricle says jesus is at the center and asks that we move toward him. what does that mean. it goes on to say your conclusions of what may be the best way to go...go where. so the article is very confusing. it seems to be talking in code, in fact it seems to say nothing. now this is a good time to tolerate my ignorance and enlighten me as to what you are writing about. i honesly do not get it....rc shoun III

January 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrc shoun III

In order to understand more on this perspective read Marcus Borg or even NT Wright on what it meant to 'believe' prior to the reaction to the enlightenment by fundamentalist. One resource is "The Heart of Christianity". I don't ascribe to all Borg says but he some good insights. To 'believe' was to 'trust in'.

January 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterDaryl Underwood

I think you are making an extremely valuable point, though I don't agree with the entirety of your statement. Indeed, it is disappointing to witness such personalities in (figurative) combat, but is the discussion not necessary? You are right to be upset with the followers who irresponsibly expand the ferocity of their leaders' positions, but without the central dialogue, we would make little progress in understanding this issues.

Conciliation should be the mindset of those coming into the debate, not the outcome of the discussion. If an issue does not align with the

January 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterK. Cody Hettich

I will continue, as I did not intend to submit the post...

If an issue does not align with Truth, then conciliation is not possible.

K. Cody Hettich

January 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterK. Cody Hettich

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