Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Future Of Christianity: A Balm & Blessing To Hurting People Everywhere

"The future of Christianity will rest in our ability to make our spiritual boundaries more porous, welcome the wisdom of other faiths, and borrow the best from other spiritual traditions, even as we share with them the stories and insights of Christianity. This in no way dishonors the contributions of Jesus, but recalls his appreciation for those persons thought to be outside the circle of God's favor. When searching for an example of faith, he lifted up a Roman centurion. When illustrating compassion, Jesus spoke of a despised Samaritan who stopped to help. His willingness to see the good beyond his own tradition is a clear reminder for us to do the same.

Christianity, from its very start, was an invitation to believe God was at work in the wider world, far beyond the parameters of any one religion. When the church has forgotten the expansiveness of God, it has descended into a narrowness of mind and a meanness of spirit. When the church has remembered, it has been a light to the world and a balm and blessing to hurting people everywhere. To celebrate the life and witness of God in other faiths is not to diminish Christianity, but to elevate a core conviction of its namesake. This, I believe, should be the work and witness of the twenty-first-century church. This expansiveness of spirit will not be reached by our rigid adherence to orthodoxy, but by our willingness to enter into spiritual community with others, who though they might believe differently, still embody a high regard for the Divine Presence who enlivens and embraces us all."

~ Philip Gulley, The Evolution of Faith: How God Is Creating A Better Christianity (2012)