Well, I've been looking for a theme for this semester, and along with the editorials, a project to pad out this space. And since I just spent the last two hours pulling books from the library from noted futurists for an outside project, it would seem I have it here.
This has always been a sore spot between me and Christianity, not that it insists on traditional answers to social and religious issues, which is fine, but that it completely fails to ask non-traditional questions at all, even as society moves in markedly different directions. It then spends the next fifty years playing catch up before it can even legitimately ask what happened.
What, for example, is the Christian stand on privacy? My legal friends say that this might be the next fifty years of constitutional debate, but what does Christ or the spirit of Christ compel us to think about these issues? How are we as Christians to frame them? What about issues of copyright protection and intellectual ownership? Hmmm? Ask these questions in religious circles and you get most often crickets chirping your answer, or simply a pat admonition to follow the laws of the land - which, right or not, is not comprehensive advice, nor is it strictly biblical.
There was a time when Christianity was a forward-looking religion, when the expectation of the age of Christ to come surpassed any current issues; indeed, it seemed to relegate the first Christians to waiting in a puddle and ignoring the polis entirely. I wouldn't advocate that we return to this, obviously - but I would say that the opposite, of debating for the next hundred years issues that the broader culture has by and large moved on from, is not the cure that Christ would look for.
Rather, I would urge that Christ would have us prepare for His return and shape the future in His image by healing the world we actually live in, rather than the subculture that we imagine that we inhabit or once lived in as citizens of a long-lost America. There are issues far larger than sexuality, pop-culture and church polity that impact millions upon millions of people everyday. Climate change is one of them, but threatens to become the only voice we hear. But what about peak water? Soil erosion? The invasive presence of technology in our lives? Our increasingly fraught and complicated relationship to health and biology, the very gifts God gave us? Where is the well-considered voice of reason and Christian tradition on these topics, and many others?
You won't find it here. But you will find me, ever curious, thinking and asking further questions as I engage some of the most prescient thinkers of our time - and, of course, the time to come. Recently, our Vicar has been taking us through something of an idea about what the Emegent Church might look like. This is fine, but there are larger questions to consider and broader questions that simply living in this modern world forces each and every thinking, caring Christian to ask and answer, no matter how they feel about the current state of this church or any other.
I hope you'll join me, or at least follow along at home.