Thursday, July 10, 2008

What is a Christian?

There have been several comments on Fishnet today about who gets to be a Christian for the purposes of the interest group.

In this, I would hope that we would continue the tradition of the Network (not to imply the IG is replacing the Network, but simply to make the analogy) of being open to all who find the conversation interesting.

That is, I think it imperative that "Evangelical Christian" (a difficult term in any circumstances as the recent Evangelical Manifesto demonstrates) not be the focus of the group. Rather, it is about the notion of a Christian subjectivity - a subject position that actually relates to a Christian view of the world - and how that intersects with the professional and scholarly work of anthropology.

This conversation is not even limited to confessing Christians, but clearly confessions Christians of all stripes would have a stake in the conversation.

I sat in with the Quakers' group two years back. It was a very interesting gathering of mainly those who had no particular theological commitments, but only historical/cultural ones. I don't know that Catholics have officially represented themselves at a meeting before, but I would hope they would feel included in this one. I think it would only enrich the group to have such traditions and perspectives part of the conversation.

I, personally, agree with Tom Love's tendency to go for the "Big Tent." But does that pose any problems I can't forsee?

1 comment:

Kent B. said...

Good summary, Brian. We're not practicing church in the Fishnet community, rather discussing anthropology from generally Christian presuppositions. In this context "Big Tent" is the best in my opinion too. (Which may sound a bit heretical coming from a fundamental independent Baptist missionary/pastor!) Regards, Kent