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Showing posts from September 23, 2015

Protect territory, or shepherd direction?

Around 2003, when the split in the Episcopal Church was heating up over the election of an openly gay priest as Bishop of New Hampshire, I ran across an odd but fascinating essay about mathematical "open and closed set theory" by the blogger Steve Collins. His essay -- all that is in quotes below, as well as the illustrations, are from it -- offered a helpful explanation not only of what was going in the Episcopal Church at the time, but also in the wider culture now.

I plan to say more during Sunday's sermon, but here's a peek:

"Closed set believers have a 'territorial' concept of God's kingdom," Collins writes. To them, God's kingdom, or favor, is enclosed within a boundary, and "Once you are inside the territory, care must be taken not to cross the boundary again."


Open set believers, on the other hand, define membership by movement toward or away from Jesus Christ as the center. "There are still those who belong and those th…