Distraction Can Be Good Or Bad

Positive Distraction Jesus Progressive Christians Bible

A friend saw the meme I made about conservative Christians, and suggested that one should be made featuring liberal Christians being distracted from organized religion by Jesus. I thought about it, and it seemed that liberal Christians are the dominant force in mainline denominations, which are certainly organized religion. But in a variety of forms of Christianity that fall under the umbrella of “progressive,” the focus is consistently on Jesus, with the Bible as an important collection of human writings that provide information about him, but which also includes earlier texts that Jesus himself interpreted in interesting, creative, and selective ways. And so fundamentalist and conservative Christians view progressive Christians as distracted from the Bible. But being distracted from focusing on the Bible by turning our focus instead onto Jesus – his example and his teachings, including his example and teaching about how to interpret scripture – is not, from our perspective, a bad thing. Indeed, as someone who used to be a biblicist, I view the shift with hindsight as a move away from idolatry (bibliolatry to be more specific) towards a focus that isn’t even ultimately on Jesus, but on the God towards whom Jesus consistently directed attention. And so perhaps I should have added “God” on the image, with the man looking through Jesus towards God. But that would complicate things unnecessarily, I suspect you’ll agree.

I realize that, as a progressive Christian, I am inclined to like this meme. Perhaps others will not, and I am certain that conservative Christians could make a version of the “Distracted Boyfriend Meme” that is more critical of progressive Christians. By all means make some and/or share those that you have found which were made by others. If there is one thing that ought to characterize progressive Christians, apart from our focus on Jesus rather than the Bible, it is a willingness to learn, and that means being open to criticism and critique.

 

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I like everything about this post.