Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exploring Framing Stories(Part 2): Trying To Move Forward!

In my last post we looked at the idea of "framing stories" and the 2 general framing stories that are alive in western Christianity. However, what happens once you define and establish which framing story (conventional, emerging or another), and you then find yourself at odds with other framing stories.

Using the examples from last post, the Conventional Framing Story is finding itself more and more at odds with the general public. Why? There are many reasons. What it most generally boils down to is that someone grows up exposed to the conventional framing story, but because of new experiences and education (not meaning formal ness., simply education that comes with experiences) when leaving home and the overwhelming influence of the conventional framing story. In other words, they experience a new and different reality. It can come from college classes, a change in lifestyle, visiting another country, studying global issues, or simply physically removing themselves from the conventional bubble they were accustomed to.

However it happens, more and more people are connecting with the emerging framing story(EFS). Those that cling to the conventional framing story(CFS), fight hard to hold control and power within that context. This leaves those in the new(yet I would argue more ancient/orthodox FS), in a conundrum. They are drawn into these arguments and thus the last 10 years that we have seen this EFS come to fruition has been riddled with debates and arguments. Alas, we are beginning to see that this way of doing things is getting us nowhere.

There is still this problem: we know that there are many people within the Church that are dissatisfied with the form of religion being fed to them, but are unaware that an alternative FS exists. Then there are those outside the Church that are not in connection with anyone who can offer them the emerging framing story. Thus they are left thinking that Christians only care about Heaven, hell, and fire insurance while ignoring the global issues of the day!

However, this EFS seeks to reconcile all of Christ's teachings and Biblical themes in the lives of people. This means that Christ has once again become our example Christian prioritization. Christ was most concerned about helping others. McLaren and others argue that Jesus himself came offering his 1st century contemporaries a NEW FS! In he midst of an empire that marginalized many and enforced their version of peace, the Pax Romana. There were many Jewish sects that fought over the right way to approach this empire that was suffocating them (Pharisees, Zealots, Essences, etc...), however Jesus came in to offer another way...God's way! And this new view offered by Jesus was the only way for which true peace and equality could be achieved. This is the FS that the EFS seeks to work within. One that cares about what Christ cared about, who seeks to follow his teachings and examples of life, not just the afterlife.

But what do we do? What comes next? Here we are with this EFS that is vital and relevant in today's world, and yet most of those that fall under the banner of "Christian" have not been exposed to this new option. Do we continue to fight? Do we campaign? What?

Again, let's look to Christ for an example.

Here was Christ, holding this new FS which was vital to the world, and he went low key. He didn't fight (although he had many chances). Instead he TRAVELED! He went from place to place teaching and showing what this new FS looks like. Along the way, he picked up more and more people who caught on and were captivated by this new FS. Yet, he didn't walk aimlessly. He walked TOWARDS the reality of seeing this FS come to fruition. He traveled TO the cross! Along the way he simply invited others to join in his journey. He never showed hatred, or acted non-compassionately towards those that didn't get or agree with his new FS. He simply, like the "Rich Young Man", allowed them to continue on their way. He allowed them to keep practicing what they felt was right, while continuing to live the life of this new FS.

A life of love,
Of Service
Of Sacrifice
Of Giving
Of Equality
Of Hope
Of Peace....

This is the EFS...The same FS we see in Christ!


(Painting by Greig Leach: Jesus Washing The Disciples Feet)

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