You might recognize that the title of this blog entry is the same as that of one of Bishop Spong's well known books. That is because I am forming my thought on this as I read his book, but I am also drawing from some very interesting conversations that I have been having with some "emergent" friends.
It strikes me as funny that the person who spent the last eight years of their life jumping through the extravagant hula-hoops of the UMC ordination process would dare utter such a "heretical" statement about the once beloved church, but I am beginning to believe there is a lot of truth to it. Christianity as I know it seems to be barking up the wrong tree. So much of our time and resources are being spent funding and protecting the organization itself and I often see little that pertains to living out faith as taught by Christ. In fact if Christ were to come back (whatever that actually means....) I do not think he would be very happy. I think the turning of the tables in the Jewish temple would be a controlled warm up for what we would see. I believe that God simply has to be weeping at what is and has been done in God's name in history and the present.
If you are able to view Christianity as simply the predominate way of following Jesus as is promoted by the institution we call church, then declaring that this, Christianity that is, is not so sacred that it cannot be challenged. I know I have previously thought that to challenge the prevailing view of Christianity would be heretical and nonsense, but now I am not so sure. After all what is the prevailing view of Christianity? Is it the Catholicism practiced by millions of Latin Americans, the tongues and clanging gongs of the charismatic Pentecostals, the let's not take a stance on anything controversial of the moderate Methodists, the bible thumpin' southern baptists, or one of the countless other variations that are readily available to us? In reality it becomes difficult to defend or critique Christianity when Christians themselves cannot agree on what is essential to Christianity.
As thinking people, it is my sincere belief that we should be scared of any institution or way of thinking that discourages honest questioning and debate. So Christianity beware my questions are coming....