I share with the CrossLeft folks that the more moderate to progressive Christians that affirm a common statement of Christian faith the better. The old liberal rhubarb about focusing on the works of faith seems again and again to — well, care little about Christian faith and gives liberals a reputation for being vague and insincere. Basta! I can’t think of a better way to stand together against a not-so-Christian (and not-so-biblical) fundamentalism that’s taking over the public mind of what Christianity is. Or as they put it
The public face of Christianity in America today bears little connection to the historic faith of our ancestors. It represents even less our own faith as Christians who continue to celebrate the gifts of our Creator, revealed and embodied in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What I’d like to get my head around is whether or not the Phoenix Affirmations is the place to start. (I’d be happy with the Apostles’ Creed, but that’s me.)
Here’s the link with the Phoenix Affirmations. I’ll muse on it here. Comment about what you think.
3 Replies to “Phoenix Affirmations?”
I just got an email from these folks (OK, it cound have been Friday, I have been busy as of late) and have been working my way through the affirmations. I like them. As a place to start…well…I will have to think about that as well. I am pleased to see that there are people working in this. One can only hope that others are listening…
Affirmations one has to work their way through are a problem.
The notion Christianity isn’t what it use to be –that what’s practiced today has little connection with the past– a recurrent Christian compliant that in part gave rise to Fundamentalism in the first place; and prompts a belief that one needs to strip away lawyers of history and practice to find some fundamental proto Christianity revealed in literal biblical text.
Glad you’re reading/commenting on the Phoenix Affirmations! I was one of the drafters and am serving as co-president of CrossWalk America – an org that’s hosting a Walk Across America in 2006 in concert with a number of faith-based, progressive orgs. Hope you can join us! (www.CrossWalkAmerica.org).
Regarding the opener, it is meant to signal both a link to the past and point to the future. Note that it reads not only that the present faith does not resemble the faith of our ancestors but it represents EVEN LESS our own faith, etc. This is meant to indicate that while we are linked to the historic faith, we believe God is still speaking. Therefore, our present faith does not merely parrot our ancestors but moves it forward a bit while falling within the broad stream of the (living) Christian tradition.
I do agree, however, that the understanding could be made more clear. What we try to do in our advertizing materials is indicate this more strongly. We believe that all this – not just the Phoenix Affirmations but the groundswell of moderate and progressive backlash against fundamentalism (and even conservative backlash against it!) – is part of a basic shift taking place within Christianity. The shift started before any of us was born (a little more than a hundred years ago) and will likely still be developing after we’ve departed. The Phoenix Affirmations are meant to act like a photograph of where we believe this shift is presently. The Affirmations are not to be a “final word” (They are not a new Creed). In fact, they have a version number attached to make it clear that they are meant to morph and change over time to reflect where the Spirit is leading. That’s our hope anyway.
Not everyone will necessarily agree with every point. That’s OK! The main thing we are hoping is that a great number of people will agree with the basic tenor and tone – the spirit of them. If this is the case, we’ve really got something to go on. We can join hands across denominational lines and with the 7 out of 10 Christians in America who aren’t actively participating in any church or denomination. We can stop quibbling so much and work together to change the face of Christianity in America to one which more closely reflects the face of Christ, as best we are able and with the Spirit’s help, and God’s grace (and patience!).