The process of accepting one small change after another until you’re suddenly in a position far away from where you intended to go is colloquially known as “a slippery slope“. Especially as reflects how disturbingly easy subsequent changes are to make or accept. Those arguing for or against some idealism often cite this metaphor in defense. It has been used truly countless times throughout history. However, I wonder if all such slopes are really all that slippery. Or truly unwelcome. Or really “slippery slopes” at all. The definition in Wikipedia is informative in this respect. Conservative Christians are one group that is somewhat fond of using this type argument to argue against things they don’t want to accept.
I’ve been on a serious investigative bender in spirituality, christianity and the church for a few years now. A friend basically put me onto the term “progressive christianity” and “the emerging church”. What’s more, it has become much easier recently to find authors either quietly or overtly challenging some of the evangelical church’s most cherished points-of-view. Part of the reason for this is that the scholarship has been advancing even whilst the church teaching has not, and in a number of ways has rather left the traditional church teaching behind. And when you finally realize that the church teaching you’ve been receiving over the years has been going around in circles, the modern scholarship is a storm of fresh air.
I mentioned Brian McLaren in a previous post, and one particularly startling comparison between the die-hard churched and society at large that he made in a recent book. It is with some sadness that I can easily identify a number of people in my (former) church who would probably say the first things wrong with today’s society are sexual immorality and abandonment of God.
Sorry, but I rather disagree. Let me list a few examples that are rather more important than that:
- Our planet is on the verge of going to hell in a handbasket. Literally, in the case of global warming and climate change. And we keep voting in politicians who just do not have the balls to do anything about this, substantial or otherwise.
- Too many large businesses are focussed on making money at any cost. We have mining companies making obscene profits that they keep all to themselves by doing their upmost to steamroll all opposition. Thus we have fights in the courts over whether they can destroy historic towns, or priceless water catchments.
- The federal government is finding it has to make conditions for those seeking asylum here worse than what they are fleeing from in the first place in order to deter them. If this is not criminal, it should be.
Does an awareness for this brand me non-Christian? I dunno. It shouldn’t.
I’ve been watching the sorts of things I like and (re)share on Facebook recently. As well the humour and serious discussion, I also talk about (as a sampling) climate issues, human rights (female, racial, what-have-you), recovery from church abuse – there was even a recent post about de-criminalising drugs. All this is highly liberal and progressive. And almost exactly the opposite of the most staid of conservative church-going fundamentalism.
This is not the start of a slippery slope, partly because I’ve willingly gone down it but mostly because I’m not at the start of it anymore. And I want to be here. I am owning the fact that my spiritual journey is now bearing fruit that makes much more sense.