Theological Landscapes, etc.

July 23, 2009 - 10:15 am 16 Comments

The Theological/Scriptural Landscape
Literal / Fundamental: An approach to Scripture or Holy Writ and Practice that holds that these sources are without taint, free of errors, and are wholly inspired, complete, and to be considered inviolate and divinely authored.

Scientific/Provable: Belief or trust in ONLY in those faith assertions that can be tested, corroborated scientifically, and empirically proven to be accurate and true. Skeptical of all other conclusions or claims.

Intellectual/Rational: Similar to the scientific, but broader and more conciliatory in scope or its appeal. The proofs here are based in logic and reason, and can be intellectual or abstract. Faith can be based on a rational assertion from philosophy.

Ethical/Prophetic: Understands their religion as principally a guide to ethics in action. seeks to empower or follow through on their faith claims and religious ideals in personal and social terms of reform and renewal. Central concerns are for justice-making, social reform, and using one’s faith in the world.

Mystical/Experiential: A wide open theology, not bound or constricted by Scriptures or tradition, but informed by them. Potentially exotic and ethereal, the mystic is open to nonlinear, non-rational and the extraordinary dimensions of religion and spirituality. The Experiential is paramount- I know what I believe because I have had the experience of it in my life- these experiences be they more rational, aesthetic, or faith based or extraordinary become the focal point of their faith.

The Theological Spectrum
Reactionary/Radical: A person who reacts negatively to threat of change and becomes alarmed if there is any modification in the conventional, the expected, or the earliest ways.. This form of radical wants a return to the “original intent” and the most sacred, time-honored traditions, and rejects modernization as being irrelevant and moves away from the old ways are misbegotten.
Conservative: One who protects or conserves what has been established. They desire to keep, retain protect and preserve the status quo; or whatever has been the standard beliefs and practices in worship, beliefs, and practices.
Moderate: A person who is not likely to have or express strong feelings, ideas, or values. Enjoys remaining an anonymous contributor to the group, but rarely will speak out or express their views unless the changes or directions are very upsetting or disconcerting for them.
Progressive: One who makes or seeks out steady, gradual changes or advances. A person who favors incremental changes in polity or beliefs. A person who willingly adapts to easily assimilated changes and seeks to balance their concern for tradition with an interest and an openness to what is new or different.
Liberal: A person who seeks to free or to liberate from the status quo… A person who chooses consciously to embrace change; to explore, investigate, and to experiment with a variety of approaches and ideas. Someone who favors a broad, inclusive, tolerant approach to faith and values.
Revolutionary/Radical: A radical is one who seeks to return to the core or the roots of a concern or situation, belief, outlook or organization. Someone who looks for root meanings and the original vision or inspiration of a belief or ideal. A revolutionary is someone dedicated to change; constructive or destructive but whatever accomplishes the goal of tearing down in order to rebuild.

Types of Church/Faith/Institutions
Creedal / Sacramental:
A person, church or community that ascribes willingly to a historical statement of beliefs and practices, decisions and conclusions that govern their faith and outlook. It describes a person or a group that holds in common certain theological definitions and affirmations of faith and holds them publicly; often reciting a portion of them as a part of regular worship.
A community that openly adheres to historical articles of faith that include within them the recognition and efficacy of the administration of the seven/eight traditional sacraments of the Catholic churches and their members.

Presbyterian/Elders:
Here the community has a more limited hierarchy. It elects or appoints a board of overseers or elders- members who would guide and direct the workings and operation, the stability and the worship life of the community.

Congregational/Community:
A person, church or community that declares itself to be lay governed and directed supported by its membership. Through publicly held democratically run government, all the decisions concerning the church, its polity and practices, are elected or decided by the consent of the members. This is a historical development most often aligned to American style Protestantism, with a low style of church worship, that is anti-hierachical in nature.

Free/Independent/Non-Traditional:
Usually Congregational in its format, but not always strictly mainstream Protestant in its content or approach. The beliefs and practices are peculiar or unique within the congregation, as are any statements of mission or faith. Strict, local control is observed. No formal ties with larger, more traditional organizations or denominations.

The Four Essential Qualities:

For Health:

Healing; Harmony; Holiness/Wholeness; Hope

For Discipleship:

Discovery; Discernment; Discretion; Discipline

For Community Relationships:

Reason; Respect; Reverence; Responsibility

to be eventually connected to the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality……

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