A blessing it has been to listen to conversation around women’s roles and their connection to ministry.  Such conversation is one part of a larger picture – a picture of creating churches/ synagogues/ mosques/ worlds inclusive of all voices.

Much of that sounds admittedly soft headed.  But it is not.  Conversation takes courage for all involved.

A popular online podcast, defending “THE true Christian faith” lists its mission statement as, “… an online radio station that is free from the scurvy plagues of pop-psychology, goofy fads, self-help, pietism, purpose-drivenism, the prosperity heresy, contemplative mysticism, seeker-sensitivism, liberalism, relevantism, Emergent nonsense, and the sissy girly Oprah-fied religiosity that is being passed off as “Biblical Christianity.”” That brand of fundamentalism deifies a certain rigidity that is at best hard to move forward in the face of.  At its worse, it is downright scary.   All religious institutions I am aware of evidence in a given number of their adherents a tight draw to that very form of calcified faith, a faith that loudly proclaims (a) there is one and only one true way, (b) it is best exampled by those who follow that way to the letter and (c) it is under attack by those with whom the edges are more soft. The list of those who are “in” then becomes very short.  The list of those who are “out” grows ever longer.

In face of such opposition, it is easy to beat a hasty retreat, leaving to such people the Christian high ground.  Hence the need for courage.  I don’t believe we need ever beat a hasty retreat.  Christ’s model was dramatically clear.  It was a holding firm but not holding firm in the form of reflexive defensiveness of “THE Christian Faith” but a holding firm in love – a moving into the Christian life.

Look none of that is easy and if one thinks it is, you probably are not pushing your faith far enough – really allowing God in.    The interaction of faith and life should be challenging and transformative.  None of that occurs in arenas of smug rightness – “rightness” from liberals or conservatives.  It only occurs when we dare to allow ourselves to sink into the arms of a loving God … and MOVE.    Then we stop building bomb shelters and start speaking to new worlds.

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