There is no essence of Christianity. There is only Christianity as it manifests in a given time and place practiced by people who are always already themselves contextually situated. Even things that look like internal reductions — Jesus’ take on the shema, or his invocation of the Golden Rule, or James’ “true religion” of looking after widows and orphans — are set deeply within a particular sociopolitical/religious context, birthed within a particular milieu. Whatever it is that I might find interesting about Christianity, or worth hanging onto, is irreducibly bound up in all that stuff I find less tenable.
–Ted Troxell, in a post “Prone to Wander” at his blog Irritable Reaching