Monday, January 19, 2009

Seeing Gray

I have just finished ready Seeing Gray by Adam Hamilton. The main premise of the book is a question, is there territory for a Christian between Jerry Falwell and John Shelby Spong? For those who might not be up on your religious polar extremes in the USA, Falwell is a former voice of the Religious Right, and often a source of embarrassment for all those who would call themselves Christian. John Shelby Spong has often been called the voice of the radical left in the church world. Calling people to abandon all understandings of Scripture and disregarding centuries of Christianity for the sake of the moment. Understand those are both gross simplifications, but this is not about them, but about a place to claim.

Hamilton proposes there is a middle ground to be found, but it is not the land of moderates, it is called the radical center. I like that. The radical center is the place where the classic foundations of the church are honored and celebrated. Scripture is still the anchor to our faith, and the patriarchy has not gotten it all wrong. At the same time, there is an acknowledgement that the church has wandered far from the social issues of our world. I guess it would be best echoed by the words of Wesley, possibly the earliest radical center dweller, stay in love with God, do good and do no harm. Or as James put it in Scripture, faith without works is dead.

The church has been a place of either, or, a place of division and conflict for far too long. I confess for many years I participated in the battle which divides the church. I am not sure if there is a need to point fingers of write and wrong. I know there is time for repentance form all. I know it is time to reclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and put to rest the gospel of human initiative. Time has come for the people of God to reflect the will and work of God.

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