Some years ago, I had the great joy of introducing my friend Vada to my friend Anita, and of watching the friendship between the two of them blossom.
Vada is a seeker. The daughter of a very strict Presbyterian minister, she was totally turned off by his kind of religion and has spent her long life (She's 91.) trying to figure out what to believe. It has to be scientific, of course.
Anita, raised Catholic, concluded that "the Catholic Church lies to you" and has been Episcopalian for most of her adult life.
So another of Anita's best friends is Julia, who lives next door, and Julia's husband gave Vada a copy of his book, Getting Christianity Right. Vada read it and has passed it to me, hoping I'll read and comment.
Yes, I will!
This author is an ordained United Methodist minister and has been a college professor of religion and a participant in the World Council of Churches. He is a follower of Paul Tillich and Bishop Spong and - don't let your jaw drop too far - he goes beyond them both. His premise is that Christianity (as he knows it) is dying and he wants to prevent that by overhauling it drastically. "Will Christianity change wisely?" he askes, "and in time?" He wants to take the religion "beyond Jesus, with his blessing."
Dr. Sessions emphasizes intellectuality; his writing is heavily laced with words such as: intelligent, thinking, thoughtful, perceptive, thinkers, scholars. In the Preface, he says of himself:
I have lived in a world of ideas, emotions, and words, a wonderful world of books, lectures, sermons, and one-on-one and large group discussions, retreats, conferences, and panels. Much of my life has been spent in classrooms - first as a student in public schools and in undergradualte and seminary classes at Brown, Dartmouth, and Southern Methodist University. After seminary came a doctorate at Boston University, with elective classes at Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological Seminary.
Okay, so here is a chance to see what makes some of our Liberal Protestant friends tick. I'm devouring the book, halfway through already.
And I think, along the way, I'll share several tid-bits with you.
Hey, it's not all bad, either! Sometimes he nails it. Other times he screws it up. See what you think.