Here’s a great find from my friend Tad (the link is after my short diatribe on evacuation theology).
The link is a parable that speaks of evacuation theology – or for those who prefer words with lots of syllables it speaks on the “eschatology of abandonment” (term from McLaren). Evacuation theology focuses on forsaking the earth and focusing on getting in to heaven and what heaven will be like when we are all there. “Forsake” is such a christian term, so what do I mean by saying they “forsake the earth”? I mean that believers in evacuation theology (most often they are fundamentalists, although you may hold some of these values and not even realize it) do not focus on being change agents on and in God’s creation – the earth and our culture – as God calls us to do. They see the gospel as a fire insurance plan to get them in to heaven while they bide their time knitting and darning new socks on earth. Churches and pastors may not intentionally teach evacuation theology to their communities (although some may) but through their church they will put programs in place that draw people away from their physical community (neighborhoods and circles of influence – the Catholic model of parishes is actually a very good model for building community) and into a Christian ghetto withdrawn from the world at large. They will feature “christian music”, “christian books”, “christian paintings”, and anything else that uses the adjective “christian”. In their sermons they will speak of storing up treasures in heaven; they will sing songs that speak of the afterlife; songs that include: “I’ll Fly Away”, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” (there are two key lines in this song that most people gloss over), “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and other songs that focus on the afterlife instead of the here and now. Their language/mottos might include, “just passing through on my way to heaven”, “see you in heaven”, “looking forward to communing with the saints” or other similar statements.
Some view my blogs as being crass and too critical of the church but when churches put our focus on theological tragedies such as these I believe it’s a slap in the face to God’s bigger goal…his kingdom coming to Earth. And if we’re all focused on leaving the earth and playing our harps in heaven with saints from days of yore then who will usher in his kingdom right now on this bright, sunny, partially snowy day today and in the days to come?
If you are a believer in evacuation theology then while you are reading this parable you honestly might view it as heretical* but personally I believe there are parts of evacuation theology that are heretical* and essentially are slapping God in the face. So let’s all be happy heretics* together. Now, please understand that I am not saying that we should not focus on how awesome and great it will be some day to be in God’s presence in “heaven” but I can almost assure you that I do not want to be in your heaven…hmmm…that sounds like a future blog-post to me. 😉 But let’s see if we can weave together a beautiful theological tapestry of marveling about the day we’ll be in God’s presence while also redeeming his creation and our culture here on earth.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth…
* You might also be wondering why I used the word “heretic” so much. For those who grew up in the modern-era or have parents who taught us in the ways of the modern-era we might be conditioned to automatically dismiss something that challenges our paradigms as “wrong”. When we believe something is “wrong” in regards to religion we label them a heretic or a cult – it is much easier to make a denigrating comment rather than to examine the truth which might be contained within. I do not revel in being called a heretic or make notches on my wall when I upset people, but I do appreciate stretching my mind and the theological paradigms we are conditioned to. This is why I am involved in Midrash here in Little Rock.
“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” – Henri Poincaré