» thinking » When I talked to Harvey Cox…
Posted using ShareThis
Christianity is all about relationships. God created humankind to live in relationship – with God, with each other and with God’s good creation. Primarily the Fall broke relationship – it disconnected us from God, distorted our mutually caring relationships with each other and destroyed our stewardship of the earth.
We live in a world that still has a very distorted idea of relationships and we often accept this without a murmur because our lives too are a series of tasks to accomplish rather than a relationship deepening experience.
Our world majors on disposable relationships. We move, we change jobs, or we change churches and we disconnect from the relationships that under girded our previous life. Even our involvement in issues of social justice become tasks to accomplish that result in few if any relationships. No wonder we can swing from passionate concern about tsunamis in Samoa to child trafficking in Thailand without any concern for the impact of our swinging concerns.
And it is easy for us to justify our disconnect… especially when our relationships are seen as tasks to accomplish rather than as opportunities to both experience and represent the God who cares so passionately for our world that he sent his son to live amongst us.
These are Lauren Winner's 21 characteristics that - if we all are faithful now - the world will say about Christians by the end of this century. In other words, she hopes that the average person on the street in the year 2092 might think of these qualities when asked what Christians are like.
By the end of the 21st century, Christians will...
1. Be peacemakers.
2. Be expected to be the first ones to show up when disaster strikes.
3. Rest, because they know they're not the ones in charge.
4. While resting, reconfigure their work.
5. Live well in their bodies, whether by their diet, their sex lives, or the clothes they wear.
6. Practice boredom. They will not succumb to the "fetish of the new or the cult of novelty" when it comes to their faith.
7. Be truth-tellers, even if the answer is "I don't know." Even "authenticity" and confession can be a pose.
8. Practice silence in small and big ways, including in solitude.
9. Live in communities where everyone has access to power, and everyone can and will share it with others.
10. Live in communities where women can do anything.
11. Go to church with the people they live near.
12. Persist in making Kingdom demands. This means taking the same request to God, over and over!
13. When we think about God, we think about what needs to change next. This is largely informed by Tozer: what we think about when we think about God is the most important thing about ourselves.
14. Eat fewer strawberries. We will tread lightly on the planet and not risk the energy and harm to our planet just so we can have strawberries in January.
15. See ourselves as small characters in a larger story. As Winner's colleagues at Duke suggest, a "saint" can fail in a way that a "hero" cannot, which opens the doors to ideas like forgiveness and new possibilities of God.
16. Lament. ("We don't do this well. Jews do it a bit better.")
17. Throw good parties. Afterall, we're here to practice for the heavenly banquet!
18. Not gossip. This means talking about someone who is not present. Period.
19. Have unity without obliterating diversity, and that's because of the Trinity.
20. Understand something about grace (despite our 19 wonderful attributes above).
21. Describe reality and the spiritual sacraments in such a way as to "make mouths water and hearts hunger."