Meanwhile, I've come across this from the Mad Priest. I think it's one of the most ***king brilliant things he's ever written. I hope he won't mind my bringing it here (where it is extremely unlikely that anyone will see it without having read it first at MP's). I just need to save it to ponder further. So, thank ye, thank ye, Jonathan for your generosity and clear-sightedness.
COMMENT: Ironically, this little outburst from The Tufti shows just how snuggled up in bed he is with the fundamentalists. There is little difference between the liberal desire to hold everything in our tradition up for scientific scrutiny and the evangelical obsession with treating every jot and tittle in the Bible as if it's the unchallengeable word of God. Both are missing the point, both are blind to the big picture. Both are standing on the beach studying the pebbles when they should be gazing out upon the glorious ocean.And, BTW, here is the second most brilliant thing he's written, IMO: "...born from an unnatural and obscene act of coupling between the British Old School Tie and Modern American Business Practice." (15 December, 2007 14:16).
Although there is still plenty of overlap, there are two types of people living in the developed countries and so, also, in the churches - modernists and postmodernists. Those of us who grew up in our faith embracing the freedom of liberation theology and narrative criticism are predisposed to look first for the big picture. Unfortunately, because of snobbery and the old school tie network, those in positions of power within the Church tend to be academics, like the Tufti, who still cling to the modernism that was the defining theme of their education. Modernism is about laws and classical science. Postmodernism is about big ideas, dreams and quantum physics.
These two world views can be understood as two different languages and this is why there will never be any agreement between the lawyers and the liberationists. When they speak I stare blankly because there is nothing in my mind on which I can hang their words. I am sure the same must be true for them when I speak.
But I am happy to be where I am as the alternative is such a boring place to be. I really can't see what the point is in worrying about the reality of our mythology. I accept that things either happened or didn't happen but to deconstruct them without any intention of reconstructing them as new, more powerful myths is pretty pointless and a Grinchy thing to do. When you read a book to a child, that child is not thinking, "Is this a true story?" The child doesn't care. The child is listening to a story and a story exists outside of conventional reality.
Some Christians are children of the Book. Me, I snuggle up in bed with those Christians who are children of the Story - it's so much more fun. Liberals made postmodernism possible. I would call myself a post-liberal in that I believe the liberal quest was of the utmost importance in the development of true religion. I also believe that it has now done it's job of deconstruction and it is time for us to reconstruct. This does not mean, in the slightest that we dump what liberal theology has taught us. It just means that it becomes a component of a new theology rather than the main, defining philosophy and method for radical Christianity.