What is Hacking Christianity? [manifesto]

What is Hacking Christianity?
Why on earth would I choose THAT as a name for a blog?
Is this some HomoLiberalAgenda to gain access into heaven by beating the Christian beliefs?

Take a deep breath...

Since hacking is a loaded term (it got you to read this, didn't it?),
there's got to be some nuances as to what I mean by this.

Here it is:

We live in a post-Christian world...

Hear it again: We live in a post-Christian world.

What this means is that Christianity is no longer the dominant narrative, nor does it shape what the world thinks like in previous centuries. To remain relevant, Christianity must find ways to place itself in the rhythms of the world, or, better, to beckon the world to the rhythms of the Christian way.

The digital age has complicated this effort. We can choose which channel to always watch (Fox News or CNN, etc), we can choose which blogs to read, we can even customize our news and search filters to always come from the same avenues or philosophies.

The digital age has made living in an echo-chamber a very easily achievable reality...an echo-chamber that often has its mind made up already about Christianity in general, and individual Christians in particular.

Is all hope lost?

Is all lost? By no means! You are reading this blog. :-)

This blog seeks to hack Christianity.

What that means is that Christianity is a system of symbols and doctrines that interrelate to make real the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

I have dedicated my own life to this system of ideas because I believe the story of Christ speaks most clearly to me. However, not everyone can claim the Christian story as easily. Roadblocks and preconceived notions keep them from integrating themselves into the Christian story.

The idealist in me says there must be some way to "hack" the system of symbols and make it more accessible and relevant to the digital age. By that I don't mean a system of salvation (that's God's business), but the way our ideas, doctrines, and symbols interrelate can form a more accessible notion of Christianity not dictated by middle-ages atonement theories or first-century declarations of women or modern pigeon-holing of Christianity to one political party.

How can we do this?

This is not hollywood. There are helpful definitions of "hacking" that can relate closely to what I mean by "hacking Christianity." Let's look at some of them:

  • In systems theory, hacking refers to that which makes a closed system open, and an open system even more dynamic. To hack Christianity, then, means to push the man-made boundaries of doctrine and make Christ's offer of universal grace...truly universal.
  • In philosophy, hacking refers to exploring the underlying reality of existence using any tools available. To hack Christianity, then, means to wrestle with all modern and historically marginalized understandings of Christianity, even the one bible idolators leave out.
  • In lifestyles, hacking refers to anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way. To hack Christianity, then, is to find effective ways of transmitting the Gospel and examine how they walk the fine line of accessibility and acculturation in a contemporary context.
  • In health and nutrition, hacking refers to improving one's health by altering how one eats. To hack Christianity, then, means to understand how we consume spiritual food, and bringing forth Wesleyan disciplines to improve our spiritual health.

So, that's it. Interspersed between pastoral anecdotes will be hacks: examinations of how these ideas, internet videos, or current events hack Christianity and make it more accessible and open to modern culture...always viewed from a pastoral perspective.

This sounds corny and considerably nerdy. Well, it is. But bloggers need a passion to drive them, and readers need content other than hearing about my day to come back.

So subscribe to the blog, and hopefully you will find some things from different perspectives too.

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Disclaimer: all original content reflects the personal opinions of Rev. Jeremy Smith, not the doctrinal positions or statements of the United Methodist Church local and global.
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