A couple of posts back I was responding to some of the discussion Steve Bush’s post (the church and postmodern culture: conversation: Applied Radical Orthodoxy), and there I delved back into some stuff concerning some initial problems I had been having with some criticism of Wallis by Jamie Smith. In responding to Steve’s post, I wanted to express how I share some of that reaction to what can apparently easily come off as dogmatic or too self-assured. Steve sensed it, I sensed it, and apparently Pete Rollins did as well. I think it’s a tough explanation to give, this idea of “kerygmatic boldness”; or as Jamie describes in The Fall of Interpretation, the acceptance of Interpreation as a piece of the “good of creation” rather than as constitutive of fallenness. So we always run the risk of discussions like this. And I’m not saying this to say I’m frustrated by these discussions. I’m not. It’s just the opposite. I am keenly interested in the implicaitons of this, coming as I have from a Southern Baptist tradition that has seemingly been “decided” by the present leadership in the SBC, and they’ve decided that THEIR interpretation really isn’t “interpretation”, but propositional truth. But Jamie points out that it’s really “interpretation all the way down”.
But we can’t let this get us into a complete relativism (and this is also an expressed concern of Jamie’s ; I also know that Steve shares some of my concerns about the rarity of authentic church life that represents an actual “Body of Christ”) In order to have some “marks” as a people, there needs to be some assertion of challenges to modernity; some means of helping each other to overcome these cultural addictions, so that we might cease to be “distinctly American” and be always “distinctly Christian”.
I am FOR all the people in this issue. I want us all to encourage one another (and I’ve seen enough of that encouragement to know that it can and should be more a part of everything we discuss together.)