I knew the spam-filtering, skill-testing question (“the sum of five plus seven”) but, for whatever reason, I was unable to leave my comment on this post after several attempts and the same error message.
Never mind. I recommend the original post and will try to repeat the substance of my would-be comments here.
It started with Tony Campolo‘s appearance this week on CBC’s The Hour. (You can view it from the link.) Campolo is known for, among other things, being one of Bill Clinton’s spiritual advisers during the fallout over the Monica scandal.
Next, my disclaimers (some might say apologies):
I am not a Christian of the kind I would say is caricatured by fundamentalists. Nor do I proselytize. I identify more with some of the mystical, universal truths of what we believe to have been in Jesus’ ministry – especially the market-upsetting, speaking-truth-to-hypocrisy, “new commandment” guy who I think would be more comfortable at any number of social justice-related demonstrations nowadays than in most churches that operate in his name.
In short, I think of him much more as a social activist than a shepherd.
I don’t even believe in, as Tony Campolo seems to, a literal ‘judgment day’ although I try to act in ways that allow me to hedge my bets 🙂 – I want my actions, in the big picture, to speak louder than words. For that matter I can think of no dogma, at least not religious, to which I subscribe. To quote a button I used to wear, at protests in my even-more-radical youth, “My karma ran over my dogma”.
What I appreciated about Strombo interviewing Campolo was George’s apparent openness to, if not a conversion experience (not in the fundie tradition, anyway), looking at Jesus with less prejudiced eyes. With Campolo he was respectful, with a care that any of us might not extend to Ted Haggard, Jerry Falwell, or the like. And Campolo was there, clearly, not to exorcise the skepticism from our generation but to just offer a too-rare glimpse at what Christianity might look like (anti-death penalty, poverty-fighting, enough-with-the-gay-bashing-already) were more church leaders willing to speak out.
Spirituality of this sort, as opposed to religion, keeps me on the left side of my church and Church and close enough to the door to get out if it ever becomes, again in that more mystical sense, a lost cause.