EC part 4
10am – general session, with 3 Christian faith perspectives: evangelical (Bob Webber), Catholic (Jack Caputo), Mainline Protestant (Phyllis Tickle)
3 exploratory questions: (1) What does your tradition need to leave behind, as we move from modern era to this new territory? (2) What does your tradition need to gain or learn from the other 2? (3) What about the other 2 traditions, that makes it hard for people in your tradition to learn from them?
respective sound bites::
Webber: the evangelical experiment is in trouble — too much shaped by modernity, too much in its own box..
Caputo: what’s wrong with Catholicism? let’s start with sexism and authoritarianism, the boys just haven’t learned to played with the girls.. authoritarianism [is connected to] anxiety about certitude, which shows up with Papal infallibility.. the [Catholic] church does do right in social justice, and that voice is being muted by a stampede to the right b/c of the abortion issue.. critiques of violence, injustice, that’s the authentic Christian voice.. to understand the Reformation is helpful, which is [in part a] deconstruction of authoritarian power -> the church is the people, not clergy; to read the Bible.. what bothers this pathology about infallibility and certitude…. problems with evangelicals, the inerrancy thing shows up, it’s the same **** thing! An inordinate fear of the human condition, fear of the fact we didn’t drop out of heaven hard-wired with the truth.. we have to make our way through the world.. Biblicism puts them off..
Tickle: got to give up notion that rationality is the only way to know experience.. intellectualism is a great thing, but it’s only a part.. dedication to denominationalism is on the way out, has been a deterrant to expansion into the larger Christian body.. need to make a distinction between observing Christian vs. cultural Christian.. to be a Christian has to cost you something, and not a matter of social comfort.. need to forsake their lakc of self-discipline.. and, the lack of Biblical formation is amazing.. the parables alone don’t give you the context.. evangelicals have been good at religious education and biblical literacy.. evangelicals have a personal and spiritual intimacy with God, and can share that in fellowship with each other.. evangelicals have a passion that doesn’t show up in other traditions.. it’s not enough to say be free, it’s be free and sin no more (referring to parable of the woman caught in adultery).. a theology of religion that allows holding on to one’s tradition and convictions, and recognize that others may believe differently.. a sense of aesthetics, Catholics seem to have more of that than Mainline/Protestantism.. and notion that time can be sacramentalized.. sense of fragility with evangelicalism.. the real argument is really between relativists and absolutists, rather than liberals and conversatives (cf. Smith).. both side believe in the same absolutes: GOd, Jesus, Scriptures.. they differ in how those absolute values are approached.. this needs to be reframed..
concise 1 sentence statememnts -> Rethink everything. Understand your finitude, your limits, we do the best we can, we don’t have infallible access to anything, and that’s what you mean by faith. Get passionate about God.
what’s resentful and embarrassing? Caputo: fundamentalism’s unintellectual approach to matters of faith; Tickle: assumed uniformity of politial opinion among Christians; Webber: we look more like culture than Christianity..
what is the treasure of each tradition -> Caputo: the necessity for faith to dialogue with philosophy, so theology is more reflective, less naive, able to give a reason for the hope in you.. that’s how theology is done in the Catholic tradition.. Tickle: Book of Common Prayer, liturgy, as that’s been handed down over history.. Webber: passion. Evangleicals are passionate about Jesus, about their faith.. caveat, in addition to that, we really need to become a more reflective community..
Brian (moderator): we find we meet one another in weakness and brokenness.. and, postscript 11 hours later– acoustics in the general session room is terrible, b/c of concrete walls and vastness of space.. I felt this panel’s go around wasn’t as feisty as the San Diego one, but I wouldn’t know, since I wasn’t there.