For the past couple of months we've been looking at The Justice Project (http://www.amazon.com/Justice-Project-Brian-McLaren/dp/0801013283), a collection of essays from a diverse group of authors, each writing on some aspect of justice--some rather philosophical, with others more applied in perspective. The book is grouped into sections, each containing essays written along a particular theme. For March we had originally planned to discuss Section 3, Justice in the U.S.A., and were hoping to include the author of the essay, Just Liberals: What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Liberal Politics in Light of Biblical Justice, as a attendee to contribute her views on this topic. Unfortunately we weren't able to make this happen in time, though we're still hopeful for April's meeting.
Once in a while, however, something comes along that seems exceptionally relevant to our continuing discussion of emerging Christianity, and such is a recent article from Religion Dispatches. Healed of the Sin of Religion: At Church with Sara Miles is an interview with Sara Miles, a women who, as the article notes, was a journalist and a chef who wandered into a San Francisco church one Sunday, got religion, and stayed to start a food pantry that now feeds 600 families a week. Far more than a simple appeal to help others, Sara Miles provides a refreshingly candid, yet cordial take on church, tradition, religion, community and what it means--and doesn't mean--to live as Christians within diverse communities, often well outside our comfort zone. Please read the below link and we'll discuss in-depth during this Tuesday's meeting. This will be in lieu of Section 3 of The Justice Project, which we'll resume in April.
A few of Sara's remarks struck me as particularly fascinating:
"As someone who is not a scholar of religion, there are a couple of things that struck me when I became a believer. One is, of course, that every religion claims that it has the inherent path to truth, when in fact it is a catalog and piling on of heresies. You pile the heresies on top of each other and the ones that last become orthodoxy. There’s a constant re-making of religion."
". . . you want a place that feels authentic and real and where you can be yourself. But what I see over and over again is this inability to tell the difference between tradition and nostalgia."
Compelling words, even somewhat provocative, and when taken as a whole I think her comments warrant serious consideration. We look forward to your feedback as well this Tuesday.
Thanks to everyone who came out last month during a very cold evening, and participated in a terrific conversation. And please note, you don't have to read or even have the material to participate. You'll learn a great deal from just being present and can easily join in. We welcome your involvement, and hope to see you!