Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It Used to be Called "Muscular" Christianity

Early feminist theology misinterpreted "muscular" as meaning male, rather than physical, engaged, and active, so the term was sent down the memory hole in an effort to be "inclusive".  [When one starts using quotation marks around terms, we know we've moved into dangerous linguistic territory.]

It is being resurrected through a variety of recent books, meant mostly for conservative Catholics and Protestants, as Dynamic Christianity.  This quotation, however, sums up the eternal truth about how we are to be in the world, but not of the world.
We need to remember that Christianity is a dynamic faith, not meant to be lived in a defensive crouch. The political and social challenges of our present moment are formidable indeed, which is precisely why Christians as a group must not withdraw. The society they live in still needs them. We need to bring to the table the vast wisdom and resources of our faith, charting a path forward for all our compatriots and not just the chosen few.
Unfortunately, far too many of my ordained colleagues think that being engaged in contemporary life as a Christian means repeating Democratic Party talking points.  In recent decades, that has simply left those who do not see life through the synoptic lens of a political party feeling dis-invited from the Episcopal Church.  [I brought this up once at a clergy meeting and was met with the reply, "So?  We don't need those people."  Yeah, that may be the problem in a diocese that is 1/3 the size it was twenty years ago.]

In reality, being an engaged Christian is more complicated than being a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian.