Church & Theology
There are many things to be said about the structures of church that must be re-imagined for any of this to be possible. For instance, no organizing bi-vo pastor can work for more than 15 hours a week in the organizing functions of a church. There always must be 3-5 such pastors founding a community. They must know how to mutually submit to one another under one Lord. The kinds of job skills you must develop require discernment.
To illustrate, Augustine advocated for a “rule of love” when interpreting Scripture that was virtually identical to Flood’s rule for determining when God is breathing life into Scripture to allow it to become the word of God. In his view, every passage of Scripture must be interpreted in a way that increases our “love of God and neighbor.” Yet, this interpretive rule didn’t prevent Augustine from citing Scripture to support the practice of torturing and even killing heretics—out of love! To my mind, this illustrates that we cannot rely on conscience and life experience alone to determine what is or is not “loving,” and thus to determine when Scripture is and is not inspired.
Benjamin L. Corey reflects on his time in Jordan and the life that comes out of death:
My journey to Jordan has been many things, but perhaps more than anything, Jordan is where I remembered that God invites us to let our kernels of wheat– whatever they are– fall to the ground and die, so that he can grow something new out of death… something that he promises will “bear much fruit.”
News & Views
Z: So apparently you've rejected the evangelical church of your youth and apostatized to the mainline, huh? (Tongue firmly in cheek.) Care to explain yourself?
RHE: Ha! It was funny to see some of the pre-release buzz assume this is a story about ditching one denomination for another when it's most certainly not. We get so caught up in categories and labels we forget most people don't fit quite so neatly into them but are rather unique amalgams of many faith experiences, both past and present, good and bad. And I'm the same. I grew up evangelical and am deeply appreciative of those evangelical roots, but lately I've been drawn to the more liturgical tradition and inclusive posture of the Episcopal Church. This doesn't mean I have rejected evangelicalism; it just means I carry elements of both traditions on the journey.
Ben Witherington both affirms and criticizes Evans's approach in Searching For Sunday:
There are many poignant moments and powerful passages in this book about the sacraments, about silence, about other spiritual disciplines, and especially about the feeling of being bereft, cut off from the church, feeling abandoned or even spurned by the Evangelical Churches in which she was raised. A trial separation from such churches gradually became something of a divorce, and she landed in a ‘less-judgmental’ Episcopal Church in Cleveland Tn. What her book fails to really grapple with however is the major difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance of us as we are.
But the death-knell sounded in July of 2013 when Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, America’s largest ex-gay Christian ministry apologized to the LGBT community and shuttered his organization. Chambers once claimed he knew “tens of thousands of people who have successfully changed their sexual orientation.” But last week, he told me “99.9 percent of people I met through Exodus’ ministries had not experienced a change in orientation.”