Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith


Coming out of the Christian Closet: Guest Post by Author Becky Garrison

posted by Joan Ball

duck.jpgGRAPHIC: http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/934/
©Jon Birch

Coming out of the Christian Closet

By Becky Garrison

As part of my ongoing pilgrimage to chat up the
themes I raise in my book Jesus Died for This?
, I’ve begun to connect with an increasing number
of folks who seem to be searching for a connection outside of themselves though
they often wouldn’t call themselves emergent, misisonal, organic, holy hipster,
or even Christian.

 Thanks
to my conversations with Karen Ward (www.episcopalvillage.org), Kurt Neilson (
www.seekhere.org) and other like-minded souls, I’ve been exploring
my connection to Celtic Christianity and Anglicanism. On his blog, The Website
of the Unknowing
, Carl McColman reflects how I have begun to
describe myself as an ‘Apophatic Anglican’. The
following excerpt from that piece helps to explain what I mean by this:
 

“During a panel discussion at Journey Imperfect Faith Community , a
number of us were asked to explore the faith label we use to classify ourselves.
I said I was an Apophatic Anglican, which I described as follows: “The more I continue to enter the cloud of the unknowing, the more I realize
just much I cannot know a God that is outside the time/space continuum But
something happens when two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus.
And the Anglican part is because I enter into the mysteries through the
Anglican ritual. And Anglicanism is one of those traditions, where I can
actually leave my brain intact. I don’t have to park my brain at the door when
I come in to partake of the mysteries. I was asked to further describe
“apophatic” as the tradition of negative theology by which you define God by
what you do not know. (And BTW-and it’s not apathetic but apophatic. :)



“The more I continue to enter the cloud of the unknowing, the more I realize
just much I cannot know a God that is outside the time/space continuum But
something happens when two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus.
And the Anglican part is because I enter into the mysteries through the
Anglican ritual. And Anglicanism is one of those traditions, where I can
actually leave my brain intact. I don’t have to park my brain at the door when
I come in to partake of the mysteries. I was asked to further describe
“apophatic” as the tradition of negative theology by which you define God by
what you do not know. (And BTW-and it’s not apathetic but apophatic. :)

cloud-of-unknowing.jpg

 

GRAPHIC: http://www.nakedpastor.com/2008/11/13/cartoon-inclement-weather/ ©Naked Pastor

 

So what do you think? “What does
it mean to live out a faith where we live out the teachings of Christ while
walking in the cloud of the unknowing?”



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Comments read comments(8)
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Julia

posted December 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm


I welcome the place of “unknowing” God. It gives me a spiritual goal to pursue for the rest of my life on earth (and beyond?). And, my experience is, when I seek God and get a glimpse of who or what God is, the experience is pure and complete beyond words. Sometimes that comes during prayer or reciting Liturgy in church or reading scripture or in relationships. God has no limits (that I know). It’s enough to know that God is. Thanks be to God.



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Hilary Chaney

posted December 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm


I think my blog post on sin and forgiveness may interest you. See http://graduatingfromgod.blogspot.com/



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jestrfyl

posted December 29, 2010 at 11:09 am


I have no idea if you read any comments from a post almost a month old – but i was busy before Christmas and didn’t see this article. Nonetheless, here goes…
I have a great distrust and dislike for “organized” religion. There is a strong element of control and manipulation in even the best intentioned institutions. It is for that reason I find a home in the United Church of Christ. We work hard at keeping open minds and willing hearts. There is still some desire to tell folks what to do and how to think – in a liberal way. But I embrace the concept that liberals and conservatives can meet and pray together, share the great hymns and stories from scripture, and still consider themselves a houshold of faith.
Perhaps it is my own idealism, but I enjoy the dynamic of this sort of unity. We have to respect each other while keeping our philosophies honed. It does not always work, but for the most part this sort of creative tension makes for a well tuned congregation. I can preach on liberal topics and still honor veterans in November and sing patriotic songs in July.
Also we have a reverse heirarchy. The congregation is the source of power, the conference and denomination staff simply offer resources and support. There is no one to impose anything on a congregation. This is accomplished – on a good day – by area congregations honoring our covenant to be with each other and for each other. Some churches opt out of supporting anything other than their own ministries. But most of us share the cost as we enjoy the benefits of shared discipleship through the work of the conference and denominational staffs.
It is here, in the shared ministries that there is one expression of external authority. The associations – usually geogrphically related congregations – authorize ordinations and congregations joining the UCC. This nexus of congregational power and regional authority creates a web of accountability – again, on a good day.
Of course, as does every religious organization, have our share of bad days. Often the system does not work to meet the specific crisis at hand. But we can tinker and fiddle with the process, using the imaginations and judgment of the people involved to create resolutions that are usually satisfactory. If something simply does not work we even have ways to deal with that.
The United Church of Christ is the best and most open denomination that is a positive expression of a disorganized religion. Perhaps the frequent typo, the unTIED Church of Christ fits us as well. But this is a better place than most to experience faith without the unneccessary burdens and baggage of religion.



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Benjer McVeigh

posted December 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm


Here’s my stab at your question: God invites us to continue to grow in our relationship with him, which means getting to know him better. Perhaps we are meant to continue to search out mysteries about God while not forgetting to do the things that are pretty clear. Among them I would count worshipping him alone and loving our neighbor, who annoyingly usually turns out to be someone that we’d rather avoid.



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David

posted April 12, 2011 at 1:36 am


Here is my take…

You have parked your brain at the door. Since when does ‘ritual’ replace the Word of God? Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Everything that may be known of God is printed in millions of copies of the Bible everywhere. It’s just common sense. Use your brain! Pick up a Bible and BELIEVE! He is near to all those that call on His name. So, what are you waiting for? CALL ON HIS NAME!!!

God is not mysterious unless you want Him to be.



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