My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is History?

I was recently asked:

How do you think modern views of historiography have affected our ability to think theologically and ethically about our past and present experiences? Here is my answer:

Modern views of historiography, like most everything modern (or should I say postmodern?), are thoroughly rooted in a pluralistic secular movement of what it means to live in a post-Christian era. Sometimes I get shrieks when I say post-Christian, as most people look at Europe as the prime example of a post-Christian culture. Although I know the United States is currently not at the same place as Europe, I do have to bring up the point that Christianity is America is declining at the same time it’s rising in Europe.

My belief is that the “religion” of secularism is riding a way of the past four decades of poor Christian expressions of love and outreach. It’s the fifty-some year old secularists who are leading the charge against the validity of Christianity, and many of the more well known secularists were raised in the Church. After being bitten, excluded and poked at, in their mind it’s their turn now to turn the tables by forming their own movement—which has gained way more momentum than I personally ever thought I would see. Because of this, historiography within our era will forever be skewed away from anything we stand for because in many people’s minds (specifically the mainstream cultural influencers), Christendom’s time has passed.

The only way to recoup any of the Truth in history is for us to intentionally start loving in such a way that we become the come-as-you-are-culture we are supposed to be. This does not mean fight. This does not mean picket. This does not mean cause a stink. This means that if we can focus on the character of God and live out his commands to faithfully and exuberantly love all of his creations made in his image (and I mean all), years from now society will look back with their own version of historiography—one that looks nothing like the secularist version of today. What is this love that I talk about? It’s not a Universalist type of love where anything goes. It’s a Christ driven love that allows God to work on HIS timetable; not ours. No matter what the outcome. It’s a type of love where the Body of Christ intentionally seeks out those considered on the outside—and that does not mean go to Africa and help those who can’t help themselves (although that is good too). It means we go to our own communities, our own outcasts, our own neighbors who are in our everyday lives. It’s so hard because it’s so personal. Those starving babies in Africa don’t know you, won’t talk back to you and adore your every moment. Not the same with a grown American adult who has been burned by the Church at some point in their life.

It’s time to go out and move forward; and history depends on our actions today!

Much love.


Debbie Thurman said...

"Those starving babies in Africa don’t know you, won’t talk back to you and adore your every moment. Not the same with a grown American adult who has been burned by the Church at some point in their life."

You got that right, brother.

Andrew, I appreciate what you're about. Since I'm roughly twice your age, I, first, marvel at how God has used you already and, second, realize my generation has a broader perspective on life that only years of living can bring.

But God has "spiritual parents and grandparents" out there who are younger than the rest of us old-timers.

I do not feel compelled, for instance, to immerse myself in the "gayborhood" as you have done. But I would never question that call on your life. You are teaching us some important things. Will you become too immersed to see the forest for the trees at some point? I hope not. I think not.

I have found myself surprised by what God is doing through the conversations I am having with various members of the gay community. 'Twas you who first sparked me to do that, really. Wendy Gritter of New Direction Ministry gave me an additional push.

Bless you, brother. Enjoy that vacation.

Andrew Marin said...

Thanks so much Debbie! The one thing that I take very careful time and consideration into, is to not be so immersed in my "work" that I lose persepctive of life and God and culture. Thanks for that reminder! And yes, vacation was awesome :)

And PS - I appriciate your words of encouragment recently in your own life and experiences. Much love!