Since landing on these hallowed shores, I have been introduced to the phrase "dancing on the third wire." I guess it has something to do with playing with fire, flirting with danger. I don’t always realize that’s what I’m doing. Maybe that’s for the best, a little like not looking down when you're on a high wire.
Sometimes I am well aware that I am on the third wire, and there’s no safety net and I’m not wearing rubber boots. The talk I gave on Christianity and the Cross after Clergy Abuse, was one such occasion. I had more than a few nerves.
So here is the question- Can we save Christianity from churchianity, or do we even need to try? As an individual, it’s not a conundrum for me. Christianity can live or die and my spirit will carry on either way. Christianity is a resource that I use to nourish my spirit and not a club I need to belong to. I imagine many individuals feel the same way.
However, as a community that grows out of Christianity this is a more discerning, delicate process. What is our relationship to Christianity? Are we a Christian organization, or a spiritual community with people of many faiths (including Christianity) and no faith? What are the stories and symbols that unite our community? How much energy should we put into reforming Christianity?
In some ways, the dilemma is like whether to fix a type writer or buy a computer. The typewriter has a purpose. It has historic value. It should be held in a museum and honored. However if you want to be efficient in the modern world, buy a computer. Life is lived in the present. Spiritual growth occurs in the here and now. Communities don’t evolve in museums. They evolve in the every day realities of life.
This is an important conversation for our community. The clarity of identity we will gain will be exciting. It’s also an essential conversation for the western world where a default version of Christianity predominates. Will people simply slip off the edge of the tradition as it becomes irrelevant, or look to a new form of the faith to emerge?
Thank you for joining me as the people, and community, who are prepared to dance on the third wire to ask the hard questions.
Now dive in and take part in an online forum for anyone to express any opinions at all.
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Don’t be shy. As Philippe Petit, the eccentric high wire artist who walked between the Twin Towers in 1975, said “To me, it's really so simple, that life should be lived on the edge. You have to exercise rebellion. To refuse to tape yourself to the rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge. Then you will live your life on the tightrope.”