BEYOND BAD RELIGION

You are invited!  Monday morning September 17th I will be leading a breakfast discussion group Ross Douthat’s provocative new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.

The Fort Worth Cokesbury Store is having a Grand Reopening Celebration. They have just finished remodeling the store (located at 6333 Camp Bowie, Ste 207).  As a part of this larger celebration, I would love to join with you in a conversation/dialog/mutual learning about a crucial component of our larger mission field.  Again, you are invited – 9:00 a.m. (coffee and pastry) as a part of the grand reopening celebration of the Fort Worth Cokesbury.

Allow me to wet your appetite by sharing some quotes from Bad Religion:

  • “We’ve been making idols of our country, our pocketbooks, and our sacred selves for hundreds of years. What’s changed today, though, is the weakness of the orthodox response.” (p.8)
  • “The boast of Christian orthodoxy, as codified by the councils of the early Church and expounded in the Creeds, has always been its fidelity to the whole of Jesus. Its dogmas and definitions seek to encompass the seeming contradictions in the gospel narratives rather than evading them. Was he God or was he man? Both, says orthodoxy. Is the kingdom he preached something to be lived out in this world or something to be expected in the next? Both. Did he offer a blueprint for moral conduct or a call to spiritual enlightenment? Both. Did he mean to fulfill Judaism among the Jews, or to convert the Gentile world? Both. Was he the bloodied Man of Sorrows of Mel Gibson; the hippie, lilies-of-the-field Jesus of Godspell; or the wise moralist beloved by Victorian liberals? All of them and more…. The goal of the great heresies, on the other hand, has often been to extract from the tensions of the gospel narratives a more consistent, streamlined, and noncontradictory Jesus.” (p. 153)
  • “The rootlessness of life in a globalizing world, the widespread skepticism about all institutions and authorities, the religious relativism that makes every man a God unto himself – these forces have clearly weakened the traditional Christian churches. But they are also forces that Christianity has confronted successfully before. From a weary Pontius Pilate asking Jesus “what is truth?” to Saint Paul preaching beside the Athenian altar to an “unknown God,” the Christian gospel originally emerged as a radical alternative in a civilizations as rootless and cosmopolitan and relativistic as our own. There may come a moment when the loss of Christianity’s cultural preeminence enables believers to recapture some of that original radicalism. Maybe it is already here, if only Christians could find a way to shed the baggage of a vanished Christendom and speak the language of this age.” (pp. 278-279

For the last eight years it has been a great pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors for the United Methodist Publishing House (along with Dr. Eric McKinney from the Central Texas Conference).  Cokesbury is not just a bookstore; it is a crucial extension of our larger ministry!

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