Monday, December 7, 2009

The Slippery Slope of Progressive Religion

Jim posted something from another group on EU last weekend. A quote by Karl Rahner...within the post... caught my I googled it. (What else does one do these days to find information?) And as so often was the first step in that proverbial journey of a thousand miles...around the vast expanse of the world wide web. I was everywhere....all over the place...and found so much blog fodder, mental musings, and so many interesting places to visit. I love technology!!

Anyway, the quote....

"...what is called knowledge in everyday parlance is only a small island in a vast sea that has not been traveled... Hence the existential question for the knower is this: Which does he love more, the small island of his so-called knowledge or the sea of infinite mystery?

I found the whole article at the website of The Center For Progressive Christianity  (note to self...check this site out more thoroughly. Lots of stuff there) The article was written by Fred Plumer, entitled Progressive Faith vs. the Illusion of Control. Following are some excerpts from the writing and, of course, some comments from me...the peanut gallery.

So Mr. Plumer reiterates the question Rahner poses in his quote...

Do we love the small island of knowledge more or do we care to sail the "sea of infinite mystery"? It is far easier and certainly more comfortable to stay on the small island of knowledge and be an expert in a familiar paradigm than it is to venture out into the unknown.

Ya' think? So what are my options again? Do I want to stay here on my cozy little home sweet home where I am safe and comfortable...or do I want to set out on a rickety, ramshackle raft without a map, headed for an undisclosed destination through possibly turbulent, treacherous, shark filled waters?

The author thinks that is why many cling to fundamentalism...that in fact that is why fundamentalism was birthed. The unknown is just so....unknown. No telling what might happen if we even think about venturing there.

A progressive faith is one that is willing to challenge the assumptions and to test the paradigm under which we are operating. It is not afraid to ask hard questions and to admit to doubt.

Are we talking atonement theories here? The inerrancy of scripture?

My own experience has demonstrated for me that if I ask God or the Ultimate Spirit a question, I may not get the answer but I will be led in a direction where the answer becomes apparent. It is usually my anxiety from worrying about not having an answer to an important question that keeps me from discovering that if I had relaxed, I already had the answer.

But, Mr. Plumer, I have found the answer is sometimes a very, very long time in coming and that in fact God may ease the frenzy to know long before he actually answers the question.

The point is that it is always easier not to question or doubt. It is usually easier to ignore the truth if it requires that we change. It will often be easier to stay in the same place.

Progressive faith is like learning to ski down a slippery slope. Some of us just do not like that sense of movement under our feet no matter how much fun others seem to be having. We are not comfortable, even frightened, with the pull of gravity down a slope because we feel like we have little or no control. But people who have become proficient skiers will tell you that with practice, skiers gain control by leaning forward into the tips of their skis, actually releasing to the pull gravity. This movement is opposed to everything that seems natural to most people. Most of us would rather sit back on our skis and drag our buttocks on the ground for control. Could it be that the mystery of God is like the pull of gravity encouraging us to lean into the tips of our skis, letting the pull of the mystery lead us into an incredible journey?

It is an exciting time to be alive. I believe that if we follow Jesus’ example and let go of the need for dogma or inflexible belief systems, and if we learn to move with the flow of the spirit, we just might have the dynamic experience of being launched into the "sea of infinite mystery".

Progressive faith may be scary, but it will always be exciting.

More on this...yep...tomorrow.

1 comment:

paul said...

this is a great site about the new mystery religion!