Engaged Spirituality

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From Linda Mercadante’s Belief without Borders: “What about mainline Protestant Christianity? For all its losses and low self-esteem, this type may be better positioned to adapt Christianity to the postmodern context. With its tolerance for ambiguity, as well as its ecumenical interests, open-mindedness, social concern, and receptivity to other religions, this type of Christianity may be most able to speak with SBNRs [Spiritual But Not Religious folk] compassionately and attentively. But the answer for such churches may be counterintuitive. What would happen if liberal or progressive Christians actually became more “religious”—in the sense of recognizing God’s majesty and mystery—rather than less? What would be the result if they renewed the core message of the faith and really lived it out corporately, while still retaining their liberal social and political values? What would happen if they focused more on, for example, immigrants, the disenfranchised, or the lonely? What would happen if they became more intentional about commitment and community, and less interested in appearing relevant and non-demanding? What would happen if they better understood and had more confidence in their beliefs? Could they do that and also allow room for doubt and individual interpretation? Could they promote a compelling Christian message which counteracts the conservative positions which have turned off SBNRs? Could they develop a leadership style which works well for a postmodern mentality? To do this, mainline churches will have to recover their prophetic edge, communal spirit, and devotion to the faith. Only a church that is intelligently faithful, ecumenical, and inter-religious stands a chance of convincing SBNRs that the church is truly forward-thinking, serious about spirituality, and an agent of change.”

Roger

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