That’s the question I found myself pondering on the drive home from downtown Minneapolis yesterday. I had an interesting coffee klatch with David Schmike, managing editor of the left-leaning alt mag, The Utne Reader (props to Kelly for setting it up). David and I are, in many ways, cut from the same cloth. We were both reared as Midwestern Congregationalists, and we have many other commonalities. I read and admired his writing at the City Pages for years.
We had a fascinating and far-ranging conversation — I even got a parking ticket because our conversation lasted so long. David is trying to grapple with the changing landscape of American Christianity for his next column. He met with Jim Wallis a couple weeks ago, and he, like several other journalists, is trying to determine whether Jim is really correct about the coming justice revival among younger evangelicals. On that point, there is no data to yet back it up. I did talk to someone who saw Jim speak to a SRO crowd at Wheaton College, and he reported that it did, indeed, have a revivalistic feel. Others, like Mark Silk, aren’t so sure — Silk reads the exit polls this way: traditional evangelicals still voting Republican.
David and I also talked about the bi-polarities of American Christianity, and that got me to musing about liberal versus conservative Christians. Honestly, I find them both exceedingly boring. I’ve done a gamut of radio talk shows in the last week, and conservative Christian radio is, for the most part, totally predictable. One host told me, after we were off the air, “I really like to get both sides of the issue. I mean, I get most of my news from Fox, but I read other stuff sometimes, too.” Their questions are predictable, and their responses to my answers are predictable.
And I find liberal Christianity just as predictable and boring. I mean, I have no interest in a Bible that is expunged of all of the interesting parts: the pogroms and rapes and healings and….the resurrection! That’s what makes Christianity interesting, the stuff that doesn’t make sense, the stuff that’s hard to grapple with, the stuff that causes me to doubt. That’s the aspect of the Christian faith that I love.
Please, let’s un-boring Christianity.