Christianities, christologies and me
Scott's comment about Romans 8 in response to my earlier post and some of what he has been saying (along with Peacebang and others) about UU dabbling in world religion raises an issue for me.
In as much as we worry about cultural expropriation of Native American and other faith traditions and practices, to what extent does my use of Christianity follow the same dynamic? I have gone out of my way to criticize UU supersessionary rhetoric when it coms to Christianity.
As a ministry student, I find myself being asked to talk about Christianity to people fairly regularly and to explain people's questions about their own faith traditions.
I came to seminary as one of those people who thought Jesus was good and Paul was bad. I had read the Gnostic Gospels and thought Paul was too dualistic, too misogynist and too hateful of our bodies. It was John Buehrens who started me thinking differently about Paul. Soon afterwards I had the joy and suffering of reading all three volumes of Tillich's systematic theology. I'm not going to make my point here very well. The language and line of thought is new enough to me that I am probably incapable of explaining it to others.
Through Tillich I came to think of an adoptionist Christology that showed that the Spirit functioned in Jesus in a way that it can function through the rest of us when we are so "grasped and shaped." I don't believe in the Holy Spirit (tm) per se, but I do believe in spirit and in a drive for life and towards connection and communion as a fundamental element of what it means to be alive. And I think that Pauline christianity (especially as mediated by Tillich) is as good a way to describe the relationship between our material creatureliness and our ability to be (or at least our aspirations to be) more than mere matter.
All of this however does not make me a Christian in my own eyes, and it makes me wonder about how I use and abuse the Christian tradition. Am I in any way entitled to participate in discussions about the meaning of Christianity?