What Are You For?

June 13, 2013 — 1 Comment

Maybe it’s just the corner of the blogosphere I read. Maybe it’s the particular mix of folks I follow on twitter. Maybe it’s the stuff Facebook chooses to show me in my newsfeed. It sure seems, though, that most the Christians I know are spending more and more time writing about who they aren’t and what they don’t stand for.

I’m over it.

Sure, it is a necessary part of separating who you are from who you are not. It is a vital step in being able to talk about what you think and believe. But don’t get stuck there. Don’t be the anti-whomever, always talking about why s/he is wrong, heretical, or hypocritical. Tell us what you are for. 

Or maybe you don’t know?

That’s okay. Own that.

Fill space with what you don’t know. Struggle with your words. Fight to build something out of the rubble in which you find yourself.

Stop casting yourself as the foil to all those other people out there with whom you disagree. Create something new.

I’m struggling, too. It is much easier to talk about who I’m not than to talk about who I am. It is much easier to talk about what I’m against rather than what I’m for.

I need to take my own advice, so I’ll go first. Here are some of the things I’m unashamedly for:

  • The Gospel – yup, the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God, victor and king, reconciler of all things to God through himself.
  • The Bible – I think it’s special among sacred texts and gives us the best articulation of God’s dogged pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and restoration, all three things that are best summed up best in the word, “salvation.”
  • Nonviolence – whether in systems, institutions, nations, or among people, you will find me on the side that actively pursues justice, reconciliation, and restoration through means that are subversive, prophetic, and nonviolent.
  • People who don’t look like/believe like/act like/agree with me – I’m a white American Christian male. I have more latent power than I know what to do with (and most of the time, I don’t know what to do with it, how best to give it away, or even how I’m presently using it). I want to find more and better ways of activating and releasing power in those who don’t look like me, don’t believe like me, don’t agree with me. No conditions, no preconceptions. I think we can teach one another.
  • Christians who are ready to leave the church – If you’re one of those people who is sick of seeing “hypocrisy” in the church, in the lives of other Christians, then we should hang out. Together, we can imagine a way forward that looks different to what pisses you off.

That’s me. What are you for?

Anderson Campbell

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  • http://thecommonloon.com/ Dan Stringer

    Thanks for this, Andy. You prompted me to think of a few things I am for:

    I am pro-Creation – I actually kind of like our world, so it’s worth the effort to study, respect and renew it.

    I am pro-Culture – Human flourishing requires our collective participation in cultivating artifacts/narratives/rituals/institutions/ethics from society’s “raw materials.” (borrowing from Crouch & Woodward here)

    I am pro-Church – It’s always consisted of flawed people, but we can’t fully experience God’s kingdom of reconciliation without what Newbigin called a “sign, instrument and foretaste” of that kingdom.

    I am pro-Jello – Just to show that my favorite things don’t all have to start with the same letter.