According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just Who Are the "REAL" Christians?

Guest Post: Are You in the “Real” Christian Camp?

by Laura Ziesel
posted June 25, 2011


Today’s guest post comes to us from Laura Ziesel. Laura is a freelance writer and editor living in Azusa, California with her husband. She blogs on matters of faith, gender, church culture and more at She is also a contributing writer for The Redemptive Pursuit, a weekly devotional for women. I think a lot of you will relate to her thoughts here!

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My husband and I have lived in a combined total of 17 unique cities (3 outside of the U.S. or its territories). And we're still quite young. Now that we are adults calling the shots, one of the most important aspects of settling into a new "home" is to find a Christian community. We look for this community in a church, because we believe in the accountability and humility required to be part of a church body. And we look for a church that will both be challenging to us and a place where we can serve.

Exactly a year ago we were driving across the country from Boston to suburban Southern California. Never having lived in California, we were excited about experiencing the newness together. But what we were not excited about was figuring out the landscape of denominations available to us. Why? Because whether or not we want to admit it, we are driven by the belief that there are two main camps of Christians out there: the real Christians and the cultural-only Christians.

Now the complicating factor is that on top of our "Us vs Them" paradigm is the fact that our concept of who the real Christians are has changed over the course of our lives. Unfortunately, American Christianity seems to be divided along our political ideological lines. The extremes of each camp can be characterized (from my perspective) in the following ways:

Conservative Christian: sexually chaste; wears Gap clothing; believes that women can/should not be pastors; denounces homosexuality; equates Christianity with American patriotism; believes that humans are born sinful; submits to the authority of the Bible; esteems Church leaders; takes lots of missions trips to needy places elsewhere.

Liberal Christian: sexually permissive; wears non-branded clothing (well, maybe Birkenstocks); believes that women can/should be pastors; embraces homosexuality; equates Christianity with global citizenship; believes that humans are born good; interprets the Bible casually; believes in organic Church leadership; takes lots of missions trips to needy places just down the block.

Growing up, the real Christians in my mind were conservative Christians. I literally believed that Democrats could not be real Christians. Really. I'm not exaggerating. I would say, about what I have categorized as liberal Christians, "Oh, they're only cultural Christians." But then I went to college and I started to learn about my own culture and how it affected my perspective of the world. And I overcorrected, finding myself saying, about conservative Christians: "Oh, they're only cultural Christians."

Now my husband and I find ourselves in the lovely world of the in between: We don't feel at home in either camp. We believe that both camps err in major and minor ways in regard to orthodoxy and orthopraxy. But, we still feel that we're forced to choose, more or less, between the two camps. And we hate this.

I realized today that my hatred of being torn between these two perceived camps has created a new category of real Christians in my (ever so self-absorbed) mind: Real Christians are those who don't feel at home in either conservative or liberal camps. Now I think everyone is questionable and few have found The Way.

I obviously have a sickness of needing to determine if someone is a friend or an enemy. If only I could focus on the real enemy.

One of my college professors used to say, "The nearer the theological proximity, the greater the vilification." He was right.

Hopefully we won't move for awhile. 'Cause if we do, we're screwed.

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Do you feel like you have to choose between two Christian “camps”? How do you decided? How have your biases changed through the years?

(Be sure to check out Laura’s awesome blog!)

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