Stanley Hauerwas, my love-hate fling with theological liberalism and radical Orthodoxy all at once says:
“When Christianity is assumed to be an ‘answer’ that makes the world intelligible, it reflects an accommodated church committed to assuring Christians that the way things are is the way things have to be.”
I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this little saying. When we say that if a society were Christian or that Christianity is the answer to the world’s major malfunction, we’re saying that the world is the judge of the Church, rather than the other way around.
I think we should instead try to really reframe what we’re thinking about both the question and the answer.
The ultimate question, I think is:
What is our responsibility given Jesus Christ, his life, his ministry and his endowment to the Church?
The answer is, I think:
Our responsibility is to be as Jesus Christ, who transforms all things. We must reframe the world we live in, knowing that we’re provisional intermediaries at best, yet this should not reduce our fervent devotion to live a life against the cultures of death and violence so common in the world of every age.
Christianity is not a system by which we make sense of the world or ourselves. It’s at best a challenge to be transformed, a summons to responsibility, a summons to a new and radically different culture, a culture which has at its heart, Trinity, cross, resurrection, Jesus Christ, Father, and Holy Spirit, Kenosis, Perichoresis. And all these things.
Christianity is not God’s answer to man’s problem, it is God’s way of telling us who He is because Christianity is in fact all a response to the life and words of Jesus of Nazareth.
I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone but me right now, but the answer is: Christianity belongs to God, not to me. That little fact, changes everything.