…and there never was.
When I hear the old refrains of my religious upbringing, I am reminded of the harm and danger that the dominant Christian culture inflicts on society — and it is little wonder that so many walk away.
We have situated our theologies as if they really are something more than human reflection.
We assent to credal and institutional statements as if they have a special force preventing us from challenging the domination narratives they represent.
We convert interpretive claims about scripture into objective statements about God’s being (?) and activity (?) in the world.
We make the bible more than it is.
We even go so far as to speak for God.
All of this in a vain effort to deny an existential truth about ourselves that we already know — there is nothing wrong with us, and there never was.
Dogmatic proclamations, confessions of sin, the false binaries of sacred and profane; all lose their meanings in the truth that from the beginning, all is good.
That we harm one another deeply cannot be ignored — that we disfigure, wound, and destroy all that is around us must be addressed. That we often lack the courage to speak truth to power and fail to engage in the transformational work of love cannot be overlooked.
But faith is deeper than our statements of being, and more than just the regulation of moral behavior…it might even be more than the institutional and cultural religious systems that we have created in order to bring meaning to the world.
Can those systems make faith relevant again?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that we are going to keep including everyone.
We will continue to embrace the deep truth that there is nothing wrong with you, and there never was.
We are going to continue to love, challenge, and support one another, and explore the infinite reality of a divinity that embraces all and whose depth cannot be discovered.
This is what the youth group of All Saints Church is about — this is the journey that we are on.