/ 15 April 2005

Lisa Lambert has an evocative piece up at CommonDreams that describes the worldview — and some of the experiential nature and concerns — of a particular kind of rapidly-growing, highly conservative evangelical Christianity. It’s a piece worth reading and pondering. Such a community’s “premillenial dispensationalism” (the brand of Christian theology behind the “Left Behind” books) is not so much the typical prosperity gospel — “if you believe, you will receive; if you doubt, you’ll do without” — as it is that gospel writ large in eternity. In other words, your life may be hell on earth, but if you hold tightly to a set of beliefs grounded in an inerrant scripture, you will NOT be left behind at the rapture.

What I found so powerful about Lisa's essay is the empathy she displays for the people who hold this worldview, which in turn provoked my own wonder about how those of us who ground our scripture differently -- Lutheran and Catholic views of scripture, for instance, accord it Truthful ('capital T truth'), but also recognize the myriad genres within the Bible, and the very human brokenness of those who took the stories, wrote them down, built a canon, and so on -- how might those of us with this kind of hermeneutic (a fancy word for interpretation) reach out to these other believers?