basics :: an introduction.

mjkimpan  —  September 6, 2012 — 17 Comments

the term ‘water-line’ refers to the line where the hull of a ship meets the sea. on any sea going vessel, messing with something below the water-line – drilling holes beneath the surface – will sink the ship when it’s submerged.  anything above that surface is fair game.

so where’s my personal, theological water-line?

in the past i’ve labeled myself a bit of a biblical heretic.

i’ve more recently encouraged some theologically ‘edgy’ conversations :: from challenging a traditional notion of the gospel to asking controversial questions about hot topics like hell. i’ve re-told tired gospel stories from a fresh perspective and encouraged the reading of some controversial books. i’ve quoted left-leaning thinkers like chris seay, tony jones and brian mclaren, and have allowed many of their thoughts to shape my own in my quest for a more incarnational christianity.

i’m even (quite happily) spending two days with evangelical black sheep rob bell next month.

i’ve written a great deal about homosexuality in an effort to bridge the gap between gays and the church and am desperate to move my dear conservative friends to engage in that dialogue with a more moderate posture and tone.

but lest i be labeled a flaming liberal, i thought it important to let my readers know where i stand on some of the more basic theological tenants.

thus this new series of blog posts, entitled :: basics.

my intent is to develop a sort of ‘water-line’ for future conversations here at the WayWard follower, particularly as it relates to my current understanding of the orthodox tenants of my christian faith.

my desire is to be honest, authentic and self-critical – not presenting myself as one with ‘all the answers,’ but rather as a WayWard follower or pilgrim, seeking after truth in the midst of discussions seasoned with diverse views and perspectives.

as is true with any theological endeavor, some readers (from both sides of the aisle) will undoubtedly be disturbed at points and wish i believed otherwise. this may be particularly true in my proclivity for (and even a commitment to) provocative and mischievous theological discourse for the purpose of inspiring thoughtful conversation and intentional movement as we together seek to better follow the example and teachings of jesus.

some initial disclaimers :: i am wholeheartedly orthodox in my affirmation of essential doctrines and the creeds of the early church (which we will in part explore in this series of posts), yet i’m much more liberal than many of my conservative friends would like; simultaneously, i’m much more conservative than many of my liberal friends would like.

i would consider myself a ‘biblical heretic’ in the sense that i have over time learned to err on the side of grace over law, and attempt to give greater attention to the teachings of jesus than the traditions of 21st century american evangelicalism.

i prefer conversation over conversion, and deeply trust that the holy spirit will do his work of conviction as i’m faithful to do my part  – serving as an ambassador of reconciliation.

as we together unpack the ‘water-line’ doctrines, values and beliefs i bring to the table of discussion, as well as the practical ramifications of those doctrines, values and beliefs, it is my sincere hope that this exercise serves as an opportunity for each of us to put into practice what we see in the jesus of the gospels – to engage in respectful, thoughtful and sacred conversation about God and the world – and more specifically, the church.

in the areas in which we may disagree, i’ll adopt the words of one who has deeply influenced and enhanced my ability to respectfully dialogue with others ::

rather than being disappointed in less than complete agreement or understanding, i’ll be grateful for even small steps we can take together in challenging dangerous features of the status quo and opening up better possibilities for the future.

may God bless our efforts.

  • Erika

    I recently posted on my blog along the same lines, however I’m going to post my thoughts as I read through the New Testament. I grew up going to a Christian school but I’ve never read it through for myself. I look forward to your posts.

    • that’s great – i’m looking forward to hearing what you discover. be sure to post links here when there’s related topics or crossover.

      as always, thanks for reading!

  • Terri Vaughn

    Wow. This is going to be fantastic, Michael. I’ve always enjoyed your blog and the way it has challenged me, at times, to rediscover what/why I believe certain things. You and I may not always agree, but i enjoy your way of inspiring conversation. I sincerely look forward to seeing your “water line” marks, since you purposely stay away from stating your belief on many issues so that conversations are truly presented in an unbiased fashion. Can’t wait.

    • thank you for the compliment, terri. your excitement and support is such an encouragement. looking forward to continuing conversation as the series continues!

  • Andrea

    Wonderfully written. You articulate so well so much of what I think about myself. 🙂
    “i prefer conversation over conversion, and deeply trust that the holy spirit will do his work of conviction as i’m faithful to do my part – serving as an ambassador of reconciliation.”
    Yes and amen! Thank you for opening up a safe environment to share thoughts, life, opinions, theologies without the fear of rejection, judgement, condemnation. So important.

    • hoping that as we continue to explore how to better follow God in the way of jesus (even through this series) we can invite even more voices into conversation to inform and inspire our thoughts as an online community.

      certainly looking forward to more conversation as we journey together!

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