- Women's issues are my wife's crusade. Most of what she hears and reads and experiences is translated through a feminist lens, and evaluated via her passionate critique of misogyny and its expansive impact on society. She lives with the ongoing compulsion to do something productive about it. I'm incredibly inspired by this, and Jen has opened my eyes to so much I have taken for granted, assuming it was normative rather than symptomatic.
- Queer issues are my good friend Adele's crusade. After coming out a few years ago, she has passionately advocated for equality, social justice, tolerance and respectful religious dialogue. Adele, too, has helped me become aware of so many issues of prejudice and injustice that would have never occurred to me in my own tunnel-vision-reality! (maybe I'm just slow...)
- One of my professors is a zealot for Green Theology! His own view of God has radically evolved as he has explored the connections and synapses between stewardship and earth-keeping, and God and spirituality. It's a fascinating area that a lot of Evangelicals are [finally] getting excited about. Perhaps just in time...
For me, though, I don't feel like there's one definitive subject I am particularly passionate about. The Emergent Conversation was my "thing" for a couple of years, beginning in 2004 when I started writing about evolving faith and progressive cultural and philosophic ethos. Hence this URL. And I haven't stopped caring about Christian emergence... it's just that emergence is the process. A lot of us thought it was the answer. It was just the path to more (and bigger) questions about God and society and spirituality and the world.
So Emergent really can't be "my thing," because it isn't a thing (sheepishly, I believe Brian McLaren, Doug Paggit and Tony Jones have been saying that from the beginning). Worse, the folks who have made Emergent their permanent "thing" are really just mainstream Evangelicals - who aren't particularly different from typical Americans - finding a "style" (a superficial change of clothes and language) and sticking with it for way too long. Worse, they (we?/!) come to it very late (like Christian boy bands or Gospel Rap) and think it's the NEXT BIG THING... instead of last year's big thing.
Now some well-intentioned Christian idealists might like to say, "but JESUS is my crusade/passion/cause." And you might THINK that. And it sounds nice. But none of us manages to follow Jesus without bringing in all sorts of personal preferences and prejudices along the way.
- Someone might be passionate about JESUS's... contemporary Christian music.
- Someone might be passionate about JESUS... as he fits into the social circles at work.
- Someone might be passionate about JESUS... as he's communicated by their charismatic pastor.
- Someone might be passionate about JESUS's... social justice.
- Or JESUS'... kindness toward women/the poor/the marginalized.
- OR JESUS'... supernatural healing and miracles.
And honestly, none of those are bad. Not even the cynical first three. They are simply the reality of what human beings [with needs and wants] do with God. We make God in our image. Or the image of our ideals. And religion follows.
The biggest thing for me is realizing I AM a sponge for causes. Tell me yours, and I might jump on board! That's not because I'm so naive (which I might be) but because I just get so darned-excited about what God is doing in and through other people. And I'd like to stay that way. Academia (as much as I enjoy it) is centered on being a comprehensive expert on one very narrow field of interest. I'd rather stay casually informed about dozens of topics, stay excited about all of them, and find ways that their aims and priorities overlap and complement one another.
Glad I'm a sponge...