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Letters

Straitened and Narrowed

I found Doug Frank's ["Straitened & Narrowed," November/December 1997] clarification of the constituents of authentic Christian faith interesting. If I understood him aright, his principles were that

  • the proper wellspring of our creativity lies deep within the mess that is the center of our being, a center which is, as a first principle, broken, painful, and dark;
  • we thus should embrace the anxiety, betrayal, hurt, and anger at our very core, and allow them to define us—this is the lived truth of human subjectivity;
  • it is best to let loose of all doctrinal certainties and other sources of cheap equanimity, for in doing so we can find our authentic humanness;
  • it is not "Truth" outside ourselves that will allow us to see the world better, but "ourselves" themselves;
  • in contrast to the deception of thinking that we can know truth in any meaningful way and thus be "right," the best state of the mind is unending openness and fluidity;
  • God's commands are really divine permissions which spontaneously generate a full flowering of being (and thus it turns out that God is not really that demanding or absolutistic after all);
  • forget the arid abstractions and distillations of Paul and the early church fathers—the real Jesus was the rustic flesh-and-blood itinerant the "historical Jesus" scholars found decades ago; and
  • this real Jesus drives us toward nothingness and beckons us to follow him off into the dark.

There's just one thing I don't understand. Why was it again that we call ourselves evangelical Christians?

Myth of the White Male Promise Keeper

The secular media often portray the Promise Keeper movement as disproportionately composed of white males. I was surprised to see this myth perpetuated in Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen's article ["Weeping Warriors," November/December 1997]. She makes the following statement:

The insecurity and uncertainty such changes bring are hard on all men in a society that has identified masculinity with breadwinning, but ...

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