sidesliding

i’ve had a lot of reactions to the article in Sunday’s Age. It’s surprised me because i didn’t really think it was that well written. The first two comments i heard were at the Forge conference, with both people calling me a heretic… to which i replied that maybe i simply choose to live by an alternative orthodoxy…

By far the greatest amount of feedback I’ve had has been from people outside the church who have sought me out to give their reaction, or to tell me their story [though there have been a number of requests to reprint it in church newsletters]. i am so grateful for what these people have to say. i’d like to thank Ross, in particular, for his email where he tells me he thought he was a backslider, but now he thinks he’s actually a sideslider. my heart leapt – that’s me too!

I was asked at the Dangerous Stories weekend whether i would call myself a christian, and i couldn’t find an easy answer. i know a few people who seem to need me to define myself as such – they tell me how my beliefs can find their place in christianity, but i don’t have the desire for the label enough to need to do the mental gymnastics or contortions to make them fit. the label doesn’t matter to me.

christianity is a story that’s formed me, and there are parts of it that define me better than anything else. but it’s not the whole of my story [definitions are so definite, and i’m anything but].

i’m meeting quite a few people over the coffee in the next week or two who read the article, found something of themselves in it, and want to have a conversation about it. Paul, who sits next to me, must think i’m heading out for a lot of blind dates because i keep having conversations over the phone that go like this: ‘i’ve got dark curly hair, and i’ll wear black, and i’ll try to sit at the table by the window…’

5 Comments

  1. redfish

    It’s an interesting space to be in, and I find it amusing how often in my community I’m getting evangelised to with a depth of theology I feel I left behind in sunday school…

  2. redfish

    I just realised how arrogant that last comment sounded… Sorry…

    I think I was trying to articulate my old annoyance at the assumption that, because church mostly leaves me cold that somehow I’ve lost “the faith”, and how your post reminded me of that…

    Or something.

  3. I had downloaded the article but hadn’t gotten around to reading it till reading this post. I think it’s a great article and very thought-provoking. But it seems to me that the sub-text actually undermines the thesis of the piece (perhaps deliberately). Because each of the biblical encounters you mention *are* about resurrection – just not a physical resurrection of the body of Jesus.

    It seems to me that the story of the resurrection in the tradition is absolutely vital, because it speaks of God’s guarantee of the possibility of resurrection for the kinds of people you refer to – those oppressed by civic and religious power, those isolated and shunned by society, those in need of an encounter with grace.

    Whether that absolutely vital story of resurrection within the tradition tells us anything at all about the physical location of Jesus’ bones is another matter entirely. But then again perhaps that was precisely what you were saying to us in your article.

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