I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. With that comes the belief that death is not simply a sad fact, but a necessary part of a full life. In Christian circles, this language is often used almost unceremoniously; “I must die to myself” “Less of me, more of Him” or “Taking up my cross” are not an uncommon things to hear on a Christian’s lips. But what happens to the idea that “death is necessary” when it is applied to the very religious system from which we learned the language of “death and life” and how to use it?
I am hardly the first to point out that western evangelical Christiantiy as we have known it is dying a relatively slow and public death. Author Mike Breen equates the current state of western religious culture to a tornado-struck town; what was previously familiar and comfortable terrain is uncomfortably strange and different because many, if not all of the landmarks we used to orient ourselves have been leveled. Calling oneself a “Christian” or even saying that one has “faith” means something different now than it used to. For many among us, we actually don’t want these things to mean what they used to and we are eager for new meaning to fill the space still possessed by these words.
While that may seem a bit dramatic, I’ve found this idea to be pervasively true with my circle of friends. I want to affirm the critique among my peers that very little about being a Christian looks like it used to (or soon won’t). I also want to put some marks on the blank slate in front of us so that we don’t feel like we have to draw new maps alone. I want to say that, regardless of the disorientation brought on by the absence of familiar structures, there is still a True North. I want to encourage those of us still standing amidst the rubble of once sacred buildings, that sometimes structures collapse because they were built poorly or cheaply… and that, in the future, we can build with more care. I want to proclaim that death is necessary for life and that believing in the resurrection doesn’t mean believing our faith (much less the structures we build around it) never dies. It means that death is not the end, even if it is our faith that has died.
This is why I’m doing the CMY(K) project.