Throughout the series called “Setting our Stories Straight,” I examined several of the theological narratives that Europeans used to justify their colonial expansion and demonstrated how they ran counter to the spirit of Christianity. But saying ‘no’ to bad narratives is only one part of the battle. What do we say ‘yes’ to?
Here is a list of the theological affirmations that emerged in the series:
- All humanity is created in the image and likeness of God; all humans therefore have the same inherent nature and dignity.
- All of the world’s peoples exist in relationship with God; there are no ‘Godless’ people.
- Diversity is not a problem as far as God is concerned. God created human diversity, has blessed human diversity, and did not choose to erase human diversity.
- To be ‘chosen’ is about humility and the grace of God; to be ‘chosen’ does not equate to ‘better than’.
- In the Bible, God’s generosity and blessing is shown to be with those ‘not chosen’ as much as with those ‘chosen’, just in a different way. There are no Godless peoples.
- Christianity has no land covenant; there is no ‘Christian Promised Land’ or Christian exceptionalism. Instead, Christians are ‘chosen’ for life in the Kingdom of God, whose ways are about Shalom — whole and healthy relationships.
- The way of Jesus opposes the ways of the world and its Empires.
- Power for Jesus is always ‘power with’, not ‘power over’.
- The Genesis story ties human ‘dominion’ over the earth to our status as representative images of God in the world, and to our vocation to tend to and care for the earth.
- The duty to care for the earth establishes a relationship of protective responsibility for creation that is in keeping with the Biblical ethical ideal of shalom, the wholeness of God’s peace.
- The appropriate response to receiving creation as gift is gratitude.
- Specific places are important because it is only through the particular that we can truly experience the universal.
- While Christianity is committed to the idea of growth, or progress, this is growth in love, grace, and mercy, not in economics or technology.
- Unbalanced and controlled growth is cancerous and must be stopped.