Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Excerpt from “The Method is the Message” by Angus MacLean

The liberal is beginning to discover that she is more in tune with natural processes than are her maligners. The liberal has been accused of not knowing where he stood, or of walking precariously and uncertainly in the middle of the road with Christian orthodoxy on his right and communism on his left. It is true that her genius is only partly articulate. It becomes clearer everyday, however, that the liberal is much better off than those who stake their life and soul on such convictions as that the earth is flat, that Jesus rose from the dead and disappeared in the clouds, or that a certain prelate has been appointed by the sovereign power of the universe to be God’s spokesman on earth. Such so-called truths cannot be supported for long by experience, and must find support in authority and coercion of one sort or another.

In a very good article appearing in the Journal of Religion, William Christian puts it nicely in these words, “The liberal has a problem on his hands, but he is not in a dilemma. The liberal is not the person in the middle of the road, but, instead, the person in the middle of a journey.” Our faith may not know the end-all of life, but if it has assurance of direction, it has what matters most. To many this faith of ours hasn’t arrived or matured.

It, no doubt, needs maturing, but in a sense it will never arrive because nothing in the universe ever arrives. It does arrive, in another sense, because the universe is always arriving. The kingdom of love arrives in the act of love, the reign of justice in the act of justice, the era of freedom in the exercise of freedom. Our wisdom is that of direction, and this is in great measure the source of confidence. We shall always have to deal tentatively with many things, but we rest on assured principles of operation. It took us a long time to abandon the effort to build permanent and unmodifiable theological houses for the human spirit on life’s way. Well, here we are, on the way in the middle of a journey, and that is where our spirits belong. In a universe in which change is basic and universal, where can we find security and historic continuity except in modes of address to life?

(Edited for gender).

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