« on: April 27, 2013, 08:03:21 PM »
Thanks, Steven, for that thoughtful reply. I don't think Cox or the others would dismiss the Bible or theological reflection. What I see/read in them is going deeper in such reflection beyond sometimes near mindless recitation of creeds. I have heard it said and my scripture reading supports the contention that in the Gospels Jesus said directly and in parable, "Follow me," many times over any exhortation to "believe."
I see the hunger for deeper theological reflection in my own congregation. Book studies focusing on the work of Marcus Borg and others are well-attended and participation/discussion is robust. My church also has a midweek "House Church" at the parsonage attended by more than a dozen folks who share communion and reflect on the week's lectionary readings. Almost all who attend either or both gatherings are energetic thinkers not prone to taking an intellectually easy way out, but asking and reflecting on hard questions and welcoming, not always unchallenged, new theological insights.
I share the sadness at the demise of Bangor Theological Seminary, especially since it welcomed me, as a lay person, to classes. I never felt shunted to the side in favor of ordination-pursuing seminarians. This may be tangential, but in Maine and, I think, some other Conferences (Iowa/Wisconsin), lay academies are offering programs of serious theological reflection. In fact, Maine's Academy fo Congregational Life and Leadership is now exploring how it may fill some gaps left by BTS's closing such as preparing lay people for licensed ministry.
That is to say, I see signs that there is a growing hunger for theological reflection that goes beyond or apart from creedal recitations and none of it smacks of a slippery slope to a more mindless approach to faith. In fact, what I see is just the opposite -- that hunger to delve deeper rather than skim over.