« Emerging Church and Cultures | Main | On Emergent »

June 06, 2005



Ryan, thanks for your insights regarding the growing fascination and pursuit of the more ancient faith practices. Viewing this as part of an embraced eclecticism is helpful. I'm wondering if such a desire to be eclectic is somehow akin to a darker and more dangerous 'syncretism'?

"The key missiological benefit of these retrievals, in my opinion, is the positive example of communities whose lives embodied a faith that overcame the sacred/secular split -- where their spirituality encompassed all of life. "

I agree, yet believe there's more to the ancient-future urge than this. In part, it's a desire to divest ourselves from our modern arrogance of developmental superiority (theologically as well as ecclesiologically), and in part it's the desire to anchor into the past in order to survive contemporary challenges to our faith (e.g. what survived past challenges will survive again).

You're also right about all this not being "magical", yet wouldn't you agree that the attraction to things-ancient is, in part, an attempt to re-value the mystical dimension of Christianity?

Ryan Bolger

Chris, great insights.
I agree to the benefits you listed --
To clarify -- spiritual practices that overcome the sacred-secular split are inherently non-modern and mystical, as modern culture is the only culture in history that created the sacred/secular dualism. Modernity's metanarrative includes the idea of unceasing progress. And you are right, these ancient practices overcome this modern, Western arrogant stance. But other local practices, current practices can do this too...My concern is if we do not worship/practice our faith in indigenous ways as well, we create a dualistic life -- one for worship, one for everything else.
So, once again, our eclecticism must include the present so that we bring our whole lives to God (as my alt-w friends like to say)...

I'm not sure what you mean by syncretism -- I don't see eclecticism as any more syncretistic than thoroughly modern forms of faith that stayed within one tradition, but this might be another thread...

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


  • www.flickr.com
    thebolgblog's photos More of thebolgblog's photos

Fuller Seminary

Current Classes

Upcoming Events

Recent Events




Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005