Below you will find my final paper for Todd Johnson's Ritual Studies course at Fuller.
Rob Bell is presently suffering a great deal of controversy and meanness over something he felt was important enough to say. Despite all that, I'm reticent to post this piece of what I recognize is a controversial thesis I've been working on for some time now.
Basically, I think that what the Church has tended to lump together under the term "syncretism" is actually a wide spectrum of interpretive and integrative moves toward deeply integrating the Christian story into particular personal, social and cultural stories. These moves may be more or less faithful to the broad sweep of the Christian tradition, the Bible and the story of the Kingdom of God story revealed within it but we'll never know if we squash them before they've had a chance to grow.
In the paper below I attempt to show part of why I think this by looking more closely at how rituals emerge and function. In my introduction I try to lay out as clearly and broadly as possible what I'm trying to get at.
If you don't like to read on screen, click the link. You can download a printable PDF from Scribd licensed for Creative Commons sharing for non-commercial use with attribution.
Incubating Fetal Ritual
For more context on this argument in my other work at Fuller see the Scribd Collection below entitled "Re-Narration."