Food For Thought: mythology and the church

Dave over at Faith in Fiction had some interesting comments while discussing The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show. According to Dave, the novel’s exploration of the role of mythology and tradition in one’s faith sheds light on the current evangelical church:

It underscores–if it needed highlighting yet again–the particular way that modern American evangelicals have somehow rid themselves of any sort of lasting mythology. And not even mythology, but really any link to the historical church. The liturgies, the hymns, the Holy days that passed unchanged through generations fell out of favor in recent decades, replaced with, really, nothing tangible.

Dissection of the current church feels more like poking fun at old yearbook photos, (ie, Wasn’t it funny when we all thought Carmen’s “The Champion” was the coolest thing out there? Wasn’t it neat when we all said that prayer with Jabez in it?) than some confrontation with anything of much lasting power. Like much of the culture around it, church tried to be relevant by simultaneously being disposable. “Don’t like it this week? Don’t worry, you’ll find something that resonates.”

In either scenario, believers are left with the same difficult question: What’s real? What’s True?

Is it better to have 2000-years worth of jerry-rigged tradition that sometimes seems to be held together with little more than a string of beads or a vacuum in which apparently waits the gleaming Son of God, but which often seems more like the void of space–boundless, silent, cold, and intimidating?

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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