Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spiritual Pollution

Check out Richard Beck's web site, Experimental Theology and Spiritual Pollution series on the role of Disgust in our moral and religious outlook.

from part I

Growing up in my small church in Erie, PA, I often heard that, as Christians, we were to "hate the sin but love the sinner." As a catchy aphorism, the formulation isn't bad. It nicely captures two treasured Christian commitments: Holiness and love. But as we observe Christendom, it seems that this formulation frequently fails us. That is, it seems to be very, very hard to balance a fierce commitment to holiness with a call to radically love a broken world. Churches that emphasize maintaining "holiness" seem culturally marginalized, fearful of the world and often despising the people participating in the larger culture. Some of these churches can seem downright hateful. By contrast, "relationship-oriented" churches seem soft on sin, tempering the ethical message of the gospel to "connect" or "reach" a variety of populations. And each church "type" seems suspicious or judgmental of the other.

In the following posts I'm going to suggest that this balance between holiness and love is hard to achieve when we structure facets of Kingdom living with the emotion and logic of what is called sociomoral disgust. Looking ahead, I'm going to argue that certian sins, such as sexual sins, and certain aspects of church life, such as worship and doctrine, are often structured by a contamination logic, a logic that activates a disgust psychology that creates interpersonal distance and irrational emotions.

1 comment:

Jay said...

Sounds interesting, I look forward to it.

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