This came from a commentary that i read. Your thoughts please.
In order to understand this first macro change
that the church must make, one has to have a proper understanding and respect for the word and term- MYTH
! Let me begin by saying the concept here is much like that of a metaphor
. Most people think a metaphor is sub-standard to a fact
! Hardly! A metaphor is more than a fact
, it is a truth! A thing does not have to be factual
to be truthful
! This may take some time to fathom, but you'll get there. It's the same with a myth which is a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people. It is not necessarily history but it's understood AS history. So, it is then in this first of four macro changes that the church must change is Mythological concepts
The church is losing credibility in today's modern society because it has lost a sense of the mystical and largely because the fundamentalists have dug their heels in proclaiming the Bible to be entirely LITERAL
. The Bible is so much more than facts, literal, and fundamental doctrines
. I am so happy to say that!
Many equate myth
. Nothing could be further from the truth! As John A. T. Robinson so aptly put it, "Myth relates to what is deepest in human experience, to something much more primal and archetypal and potent than the intellect." In so many ways (psychologically, sociologically) the myth has been the glue that's held communities, societies, and nations together.
Maybe all the church divisions
is because of it's abandonment of myths. Think maybe?
Myths, down through the ages, have been taken quite seriously and realistically (though not literally). The Fall of Adam and Eve are MYTHS
! I mean who was there to record "that event"? Neither CNN , nor FoxNews was that's for sure. Man has to have and had to have a "story" about the fall of man and how it all began and thus the Hebrew nation came up with one that's been told for century upon centuries. How else can you explain pain for a woman in child birth or man having to work by the sweat of his brow?
Makes sense to me: and neither do I have to think it was factual.
Here's what doesn't make sense. It's called the Apostle's Creed
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost
Born of the virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried,
He descended into hell;
He rose again from the dead,
He ascended into heaven,
Seated at the right hand of God,
judges the quick and the dead!
I'm to believe all of this actually happened, is factual, literal, and historical?
It doesn't wash, but it does make for great mythology which tells a story that's greater than the words ever could. There is a mixture of actual history and myth- and some of both in that Creed. It's impossible to go on using out-dated church language about events that are beyond a normal person's reasoning, not that all has to be reasoned. However, when the church can come to the place that it says those events are stories, metaphors, and myths about what we cannot explain, but what we know in our heart is a truth, the church will continue dying on it's own religious vine.
There is nothing being "taken away" from the Christian faith: far from it. We're just letting the Spirit speak to us in modern-day terms that is far better "spiritual bait
" to attract fish (or whatever your metaphor might be). I'm now going to move from Mythological concepts
to Metaphysical principles
. The second area where the church needs to adopt a new paradigm, which is really the oldest one. Here's one way to look at it (these two). What myth is to the imagination
, metaphysics is to the intellect
asks the question, what is REAL
? It's the study of the ultimate and fundamental reality of life. Unfortunately, much of the world think that the church is out to lunch with some of it's unbelievable concepts. And, I do too, but since I love the church, I'm doing what I think I can to save it while I labor in a nearby vineyard
called a COMMUNITY
People don't see as REAL
(definition of metaphysics) many of the stories that Christians tell. They don't believe in a virgin birth
. They can't get the supernatural
mumbo jumbo that they hear Christians praying, asking a God somewhere out there to come and intervene in our life. But, get this. They believe in the supernatural. Where has the church gone off track?
They can't see any reality in a man that was a Spirit, who was pre-existent
, but somehow became one of us, and then went back to being who He was before He was one of us- whatever that might be, and who on earth could know that? Oh yes, and then in His ousia (being), He's going to come back some day (Parousia
). The religious god language that the church uses may have had some value 1,000 years ago, but it doesn't make sense to the NOW world and so therefore people don't see what we say as anywhere near being REAL
And none of the above denies the NOW divinity
of Jesus, the Christ!
And as Teilhard de Chardin
is quoted as saying, "Even the index to a course of Christology doesn't have any mention of "pre-existence", while layman let it fall off their lips like slobber."
The mystery of Christos is one of the most deep puzzles that we treat with way too much familiarity: as we do other religious terms that are more like "passwords
" to see if someone is worthy of entering "your club". The ontic
(real being) rope to which Christianity has attached itself is frayed and about to snap. The church has got to come up with new language that speaks in a dialect that people today can grasp- that makes sense, and is REAL (to them). And I would venture to say becomes more REAL to us.
Praying to a parental Father
out there somewhere who rewards us for doing good and spanks us for doing bad doesn't quite seem real to today's thinking person. Saying that there is a Consciousness
that holds the world together that knows and created all makes far more sense. Saying that we are ALL
a part of that One, Spirit, or Ground of Being (like a wave in an ocean or a beam of the sun) is inviting and non threatening- except to the devoutly religious.
All I can say church, is change
or keep dying the slow death!
The third area wherein the church must change is in the language of ABSOLUTES
! There really isn't any need to insult the other 70%
of the world that's not Christian by saying that they are going to hell if they don't accept Jesus as Lord because there is NO OTHER NAME
by which one can be saved. Now, while I totally agree with that statement in John 14:6
, it's not so clear (if at all) just HOW
that might come about. Is it here in this life time, in the life after death, or in some ways here that we're not understanding? What it automatically does though is make us look haughty (even if we're right who needs the heat?) and creates enemies that we already have enough. Is this so hard to see?
Never mind how each denomination thinks it is the ONLY WAY
. You must be water baptized by sprinkling, speak in tongues, not eat pork, go to church only on Sunday, say your prayers in a certain way, and another thousand ABSOLUTES
! Few people are in the market these days for such goods.
And then there's the "God said
", or "God told me
Well, that sure closes off the discussion doesn't it! Paul Van Buren
says that we're living in the "age of dissolution of the absolute
". I couldn't agree more. How many things have I thought were absolute, no longer are, and I am a better follower of Jesus as a result. What that translates into is that any kind of exclusive uniqueness or finality of truths is not going to sit well with the world. It's not that everyone is a relativist. Hardly!
and should be the CENTER
for all who call themselves Christians, but a Christian doesn't put down a Muslim
based on their Islamic faith, nor a Buddhist
because he or she embraces Dharma
. I could go on and on with such analogies, but I spare you. All things do eventually cohere IN
Christ, but I sure don't know HOW
all that happens so in the meantime, I'm just going to love people and BE the witness of LOVE
. There'll more fish at the end of the pole with love than arrogance, absolutism.
As John A. T. Robinson
said, "God is characteristically to be found on the shifting frontiers of social change, in the relativities of events, rather than in a timeless absolute or beyond it all."
For the last of the four major macro changes
that I believe the church must embrace to prevent further decline. All one needs to do is look at England and the rest of Europe, which was once heavily weighted in favor of Christianity, and now see but a shell of what once was. We first looked at Mythological concepts, then Metaphysical principles, followed by Absolutism markers. And now on to Historical mining
The "historic faith
" that Christianity has so proudly proclaimed over the centuries has come under close scrutiny in the last 125
years or so by numerous archaeological digs and discoveries. Since almost everything (99.9%) that we know about Jesus comes from Biblical sources alone, Christianity is not firmly planted- outside it's own faith.
That's not necessarily bad, but neither is it a big kudo!
People want to know, do we have the ipsissima
verba (Latin for "the very words") of Jesus? Or maybe another question would be, do we need those VERY WORDS
, or is the parabale, the approximation good enough? When, in Don Cupitt's
words, "There is one Jesus, and millions of Christs (how each individual sees Him), is an exactness a possibility?
The exact historicity of the Christian story ( Bible) is one of the most scrutinized endeavors for some 2,000
The Christian canon may be a closed book for some, but not for me. We are constantly discovering new facts about the development of our faith. To think that all there is to know is now known is to stick one's head in the ground and live in denial.
Unfortunately, many are!
We cannot predetermine
what is yet to be discovered, but we can with eager anticipation, keep our eyes open, and be ready for whatever might be added to our Christian heritage.
In order for the American Christian church to survive and not fall into the quiet ruins that we observe in Europe, where 85%
of the attendees are women, it's got to begin to live by faith again, led by the Spirit
, and not by the church hierarchy.
Not easy to do since you're going against those who control it.