top of page
  • Writer's pictureScott Carr, Jr.

Why "Reimagine Faith"?



I began blogging in 2015 (which feels hard to believe!). The site was dramatically different, on a competing web host, looked pretty shabby, and had another name, Re-reformed. The name reflected a conviction I held at the time that the Church's problem was that even conservative evangelical and Protestant churches had wandered from the central tenants of the Protestant Reformation. The site aimed to recover these for the Church and return to its roots. I moved away from that site, not merely because I wanted to give it a (hopefully) improved look, but because I moved away from that mission. Through college, seminary, personal study, and practice of my faith, I encountered gifts from the Catholic and Orthodox Church while still gratefully accepting the gifts of my Protestant heritage. I wanted a site with the freedom to draw on the full breadth of the Christian tradition, rooted in Scripture, and a life of prayer to nourish the faith of readers and myself that was open to the continuing work of God in the present.


As I revamped the blog in 2017, I needed a new name to match the new vision for the blog. A common theme in conversations with friends was "imagination". How I was processing my faith reminded me of growing up, when I would rehearse Bible stories with a sense of curiosity in a way that grabbed my imagination. I also read in seminary about "social imaginaries". James K. A. Smith, in particular, throughout his book Desiring the Kingdom, talks about "social imaginaries" rather than "worldviews". Worldviews focus us on what we think. Social imaginaries recognize we interact with the world in other, precognitive ways through feelings and affections shaped by experiences and practices. Before we can reflect, we have gut reactions to the world around us and draw conclusions based on our body's response. We learn through stories, rituals, songs, and habits how to understand the world and move in it. All this talk of imagination reminded me of Jesus' words: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3 NRSV). As children, we are not merely stuck in information but soak in the stories, songs, practices, and world around us in ways that inform how we process and relate to others, the world, and, most of all, God. A childlike faith still seems to me to be ready to encounter God in prayer and sacrament, in the stories of Scripture and His Church, and in the theological reflection of all His saints throughout the ages.


I selected the word "reimagine" to capture this sense but also highlight that we are returning to this approach. For many of us who have been Christians for a long while, we are often focused on thinking correctly. It can be defensive, focused on protecting itself from challenges, but also retreats from encountering God in the world and the larger Church. Accepting an imaginative, open disposition is a recovery, a retrieval of how we related to the faith as children, less concerned with correct answers and more concerned with how the story of faith fired our hearts. It is also less concerned with conclusions and defending our beliefs, but rather open to soaking in more of the story of God's love for us in Christ as it flows to us from many streams.


Yet the word "reimagine" also has a sense that feels more like "rethinking" or "reconsidering". In an age of deconstruction, reimagining is the process of constructing a fresh, new, vibrant faith on the other side after we have unpacked what we need to leave behind. I believe this process is vital to our growth in faith. As we grow from childhood to adulthood, there are things we leave behind: diapers and pacifiers, naiveté about the real dangers in the world, and learning new ideas that fit our developmental stage. As St. Paul says, "When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways" (1 Cor. 13:11). As we grow, there will be a change in our faith. We will find new ways to relate our faith to new cultural situations. We rethink old assumptions that we once held, that were constrained to specific experiences or to the distortions that occur when one Christian tradition overemphasizes an important biblical theme to the neglect of others. Yet on this blog, this process of reimagining is not simply about throwing away the old. It is about reading Scripture afresh. It is about adopting ancient prayer practices we have never tried before. It is about reading the reflections from other parts of the Church that are themselves ancient but are brand new to us. We rethink, not by closing us off to the traditions of the Christian faith, but by beginning to drink from rivers we have never tasted before.

The name "Reimagine Faith" for this blog is focused on recovering curiosity in our faith and finding new wells from ancient streams to nourish our faith in the present. It is a recovery of the ancient faith and new construction of relating to God in the present. It rejects the stagnant waters of a faith closed off from the gifts of the wider Church but instead embraces the flowing tributaries from the Church in all times and places. Its source is engaged readings of Scripture and a life of prayer. It is about moving past the challenges of deconstruction to curiously loving God, relating to Him in new ways that tap into all the ancient streams of our Christian faith, beginning with Scripture and prayer. I need this now more than ever. Due to fresh challenges in my life (which I might also write about later), I find myself stuck in my head, in a season of asking questions and recognizing ways the painful parts of my personal history in the Church still impact and limit my life with God. While I believe the Church needs the vision of Reimagine Faith, I also need it now more than ever. "We look at Scripture, Church History, Spiritual Disciplines, and the teachings of the Christian Tradition to cultivate a faithful imagination, open to a life with God. Come with us and join the journey!"

Recent Posts

See All

Publication Announcement: An Invitation to Lent

Lent is just around the corner! (Starting February 14th, this year!) If you are thinking about how you will practice Lent or have never engaged this season, I have a new publication to help you get st

Comments


bottom of page