DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Circumvent Relational Morph into Cheap Syncretism
Lo-Fi Monk

Circumvent Relational Morph into Cheap Syncretism

When do honest attempts at incarnational relationships morph into cheap religious pluralism and/or spiritual syncretism (both are very different from deep inter-faith conversation, which is something I support with all of my being)?

I’ll have nothing to do with cheap religious pluralism, spiritual syncretism, and/or reckless appropriation in the name of an increasingly thin and useless North American Religious Liberalism (for the record, I’m no fan of North American Religious Conservatism either). Incarnational, missional practice has real limits. It’s good and wise to respect those limits; respect prevents the downward spiral into organizational meaninglessness through cheap inclusiveness. In other words, incarnational, missional friendships should actually move all involved somewhere, over time.


  1. ck
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Hey Shawn, what are you envisioning when you say “move all involved”? I ask because Sharon Welch, whose course I’m taking, and whose books I’ve been reading, has a concept of “deep connection” in relationships that are forged between very different people. She didn’t expand on it too much, and it left me wondering: does deep connection require that beliefs change? or attitudes? or ways of living? I wonder how you could gauge whether the relationship is stale and superficial versus “deep” (or in your words, maybe, “incarnational”).

    Any thoughts?

  2. Shawn Anthony
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Hey, ck. One word: “context.”

    Context is especially important in terms of differentiation between individual and organizational dynamics. Sooner or later, all of those different individuals are going to have to center upon something to achieve authentic collective cohesion (a must for a healthy, forward-moving organization or institution). This will require a move by all collected, or it will not be honest. In my specific context, this move is a specific one, and yes, it requires a change in beliefs, attitudes, and ways of living. So, I can still chat nominally with those who diverge, but it won’t be under one roof. I will neither build that roof, nor will I park under it because it is propped up by the flimsiest of corners (cheap pluralism, spiritual syncretism, and North American Religious Liberalism [and North American Religious Conservatism, in a roundabout sort of way]).

    That said, I suppose I can summarize what I’m envisioning with one word too: “Agreement.”

    Put the two words together and you get: “Context(ual) Agreement.”

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