Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is Christianity?

In case you've missed it, I haunt Gus DiZerega's blog. There, Thora proposed that,
To be a christian does not automatically necessitate such beliefs as original sin, a male God, or the exclusive salvation of christ-followers. To claim so indicates a misunderstanding of the faith.

To lock either christianity or paganism in a box is to diminish it, and to deny syncretic integration is to deny the whole history of religion.


To this DiZerega responded,
I mean this question quite sincerely - what do you take to be the irreducible core of Christianity? That without which one cannot be a Christian and the minimium one must hold or practice in order to be one?


Of course I couldn't pass this up. Here's my answer to the question.

I argue that being (“becoming” is more accurate) Christian is about participating in the Spirit of Christ. As such it needs to be understood primarily as a dynamic calling, rather than as an identification with a static, institutionalized religion. A Christian spiritual path pays special attention to Jesus (Christianity’s primary symbol) as it winds through life. Christian community forms around arguments regarding the meaning of their central symbol, with different communities arriving at different answers and wrestling with different questions.

What I propose is neither an individualist nor a communal understanding; neither a religiously dogmatic nor a secularized understanding. Accordingly, specific beliefs are less important than actively (or passively) interacting (whether playing or wrestling) with the Christ encountered in liminal experiences.

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