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
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thomas Jay Oord - Holiness as Love. Not as Rules, or Living in the Past.

Atheists Only Slightly Worse at Retaining Children
than Holiness Folk

by Thomas Jay Oord
May 15, 2014

A poll a few years ago from the Pew research group has generated surprising results. Some of the results encourage me. Others are profoundly discouraging! 

According to the Pew poll, only 30% of those raised in atheist homes remain atheists. That’s a pretty astounding number!

That means 7 out of 10 kids raised by atheist parents chose a path different from their parents. To a theist like me, it’s encouraging to see many choosing to believe in God.

Now the discouraging news: only 32% of those raised in holiness Christian homes stay in that tradition. To someone like me who was raised in and is committed to the holiness tradition, that’s bad news!

Here’s a graph compiled from the Pew study:

What does this mean? What needs to change?

I suspect that the vast majority of those raised by holiness Christian parents are not becoming atheists. I suspect they are moving to other Christian traditions. 

To which traditions are they moving? I don’t know.

Why? I don’t know that either.

I’m sure there are many reasons children with holiness parents are leaving. The recent work by David Kinnaman points to some reasons. In his book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church… and Rethinking Faith, Kinnaman's surveys reveal the following reasons young people aren’t staying in the churches in which they were raised or are rethinking faith:

- Young people feel overprotected by their parents and elders

- Young people think Christianity as presented to them is shallow

- Young people perceive the church as against science

- Young people think Christians have skewed or repressive views of sex and sexual orientation issues

- Young people believe the church is too exclusive of outsiders

- Young people think the church allows no room for their doubts

Holiness Christians, generally speaking, have been slow to adapt to the changing world. They have not taken the lead in the academy, in culture, or in other domains.

To many, I suspect, “holiness” means “living in the past.” That may be a reason the children of holiness Christians are not staying in the holiness tradition.

Holiness as Love

My experience tells me, however, that those who understand holiness primarily as love are more likely to remain in the holiness tradition. By contrast, those who think holiness is primarily about rules and social taboos leave the holiness tradition.

In my view, the holiness message of love can be persuasive to youth today. But holiness people like me must be willing to adapt our language and the form of that message. We must explore the power of ancient practices and innovative liturgies.

We in the holiness tradition also must not be afraid to address the hard questions, face the tough issues, and be humble enough to admit we haven’t got everything figured out. Year after year, young people come through my undergraduate and graduate courses eager to go deeper in their faith. Most want to get beyond surface answers and flippant platitudes.

We have much work to do to reverse the trend. I sure want to be part it!

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