Saturday, December 01, 2007

bound to the city

A brief reflection inspired by John Caputo's On Religion.

In the radical Yes to possibility is the implicit sacrifice of status quo, of normal, predictable existence. When we open ourselves to the possibility of love, when we make ourselves culnerable so as to live the Yes, we are taking a risk, making ourselves uncomfortable, binding ourselves to the passion of God - a passion which, at least in the Christian tradition, leads to The Passion, namely a hill, a cross, a conviction, a crucifixion. The Yes is a path so uncertain that we risk nothing less than everything. Any "religion" that demands anything less than everything ought to arouse suspicion. "We are supposed to be crucified to the world" says John Caputo in On Religion (54). This is a path where victory is always ironic, triumph always suspect.

Here, at the end of Christendom, we who find ourselves in the so-called "mainline" churches are discovering anew what the cruciform path looks like. Could it be that from the belief of victory through death, we too, in our triumphant religion, have inevitably reached the point where we must allow Christianity itself to be crucified as/with Christ? Ought the task of churches really be "survival" or "growth"? I would argue that a posture of openness to possibility, embodied in and through radical hospitality, is our proper work in the world - not survival or growth. We must allow ourselves to be humbled, levelled, bound by the love of God.

The city is perhaps one of the best examples of where radical hospitality is most needed and where it is put to the greatest test. There is no more important place for "religion without religion" (Derrida), for religion without the dogmatics, victory cries and dominations. Today we are called to do theology - and likely implicit, not explicit theology - in all of the places where justice must be enacted in the city, where devoted service is needed.



  • There's a lot I didn't "get" in that post, but the one that really seemed odd to me was the use of the term "mainline." Do you consider the Community of Christ to be "mainline" like Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodists? Just curious.

    By Blogger Adam Gonnerman, at 12:38 PM  

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