Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How Literalist Christianity Often Appears to Those Who Are Not Christian

This is from Steven Carr's blog. It is a definition of Christianity:

'The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree, which never actually existed.'
The Christian beliefs when taken literally look like the above definition. No wonder more and more people are saying, "No thanks." Yet there are many of us who are participating in the reform of Christianity that regards symbols and stories as symbols and stories.

Marcus Borg is one such Christian. We are reading The Heart of Christianity in our Thursdays with Jesus group. Rather than regard Christianity as statements you must believe in order to get transported to heaven, Borg sees Christianity as a way of living.

We just finished his chapter on being "born again." This is a key phrase among literalists. Borg suggests that it is a powerful metaphor that can be reclaimed by progressive Christians. Being born anew is about the process of dying to an old way of being and becoming transformed into a new way of being.

The content of this new way is characterized by the teachings and actions of Jesus.

However, Borg points out that Christianity holds no corner on this new way of living. All enduring religious traditions, in their unique way, invite their adherents to participate in this transformation.

Progressive Christianity is not for everyone. But for those who find the symbols powerful and literalism impossible, it is an alternative.