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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Left the house this morning, bells ringing, filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling'
~Bruce Springsteen in 'The Rising'

To the contemporary mind much of what Christianity has to offer in the past several decades has been difficult to embrace. It seems in some fashion out dated or irrelevant. As we move on in almost all other disciplines religion seems somehow stuck in the muck. The tradition I come from, American Christianity, is one of the systems under attack. Christianity as we know it is in trouble.

What has been smoldering beneath the surface is beginning to come forward. Most young people living in a pluralistic society, embracing globalization, honoring all peoples, traditions and stories, simply cannot embrace a religion that declares that other traditions or stories are either inferior or insignificant.

The days of a conquering singular metanarrative are rapidly passing. What once was assumed, (that is, that ‘we’, whomever we might be at that time, are somehow better than others and have the God given task to enlighten the ignorant or unenlightened) is now conceived as arrogant and presumptuous. Colonialism, for example, was once the unashamed, unabashed goal but now it is viewed as a bad thing—a downright nasty word to this generation. Cooperation and mutual respect on the other hand always feels really right, is always in vogue, and drives this generation forward. The medium and the message are clearly in sync—we are in this together and there is no room for those who claim to have ‘a corner on the truth’. In some ways ‘being right’ is the most intolerable position of all. Being ‘in’ is definitely out. Being part of the whole is now the way to be.

The globalization perspective has contributed to an embrace of other systems and challenged the time honored ways of confidence in a conquering metanarrative. As a result many in my generation and even more so in the generation that follows have begun to investigate other ways of believing.

So I came to wonder, silently for the most part, if Christianity was ‘right’. I began to question if the story that I found myself in was the ‘right’ story or just the religion I had inherited. Eventually I set out to set my mind to rest. In order to be an honest witness to the ensuing generation I had to do this. I could not accept that Christianity would become irrelevant because we chose to hide our heads in the sand at this crucial juncture. Two things have served me well on this journey. The first is that I was a pastor (for over 25 years) and had a plethora of information and experience to draw from as I came to the table. This served as a sort of ballast to keep me anchored and a compass to give me direction. The second was that I was willing to leave my ‘position’ behind in order to walk the road—either a courageous or foolhardy act—depending on your perspective. As time would tell these were both necessary in my quest.

Christians—and Christianity in general—is very uneasy with questions and doubts. For the most part they are avoided.

Pastor Jim Miller writes,

'We Christians don’t like to discuss our doubts. We don’t even like to think about them. Having doubt is like insulting God, calling his integrity into question, admitting that we are weaker than we would like to think. So we suppress our doubts to hide our lack of uneasiness about some of the things we have been taught to believe. And there is little advice available to help us through those tentative times. But one of those helps recently came from theologian Alister McGrath’s 2007 book, “Doubting: Growing Through the Uncertainties of Life.” Doubt, according to McGrath, is not the same as unbelief and it is not necessarily the antithesis of faith. Doubt creeps in involuntarily, he says, uninvited. Unbelief, on the other hand, is a willful act, a deliberate choice not to believe.'

We live in a ‘sleeping dog world’. To wake the dog is to ask for trouble. Double so if you are a pastor. The funny thing is—part of my convictions comes directly from that humbling experience. When I stepped out of that inner circle there was no safety net. When I came ‘naked’ into the world I found it was a hard place. A lonely place. It helped me to see why others never risk going. There is a certain amount of psychological justification that comes when our pension and position are at risk. We tend to really want to believe what we have been told to trust and have been trusting for a long time. We really want it to be ok…even when it really isn’t. To step out is risky.

So we don’t.

But in my naïveté I did.

And in some ways that is the way of faith.  

Dr. Martin Luther King once said,Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase` Now that I have done that I know he was right. More importantly I know that Jesus was ‘right’ in taking the risk of descending intentionally. He was right to do this but we hesitate to follow His way. It cost Him--it could cost us. So I stepped down and have begun my journey at the only place I know to begin…at the foot of the cross.

Is there any place lower?

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