I think of Christianity as a culture. It has produced 2,000 years of artifacts: literature, music, art, ethics, architecture, and (yes) beliefs. But cultures evolve and Christianity will have to adapt in order to survive in the modern era.Now, I don't see how you can be a Christian pastor without, you know, believing in Christ. But perhaps that's because my familiarity is with traditional trinitarian sacramental theology (e.g., Catholic and Episcopalian) . I don't know how the Presby's rock. But this does seem a bit.... unconventional.
I believe one of the newer religious paths could be a “belief-less” Christianity. In this “sect,” one is not required to believe things. One learns and draws upon practices and products of our cultural tradition to create meaning in the present. ....
Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now, even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly. Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in Heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity. Instead of traditional beliefs, they emphasize social justice, personal integrity and resilience, and building community. The cultural artifacts serve as resources.
Personally, even though I don’t believe in God as a supernatural agent or force, many still do. I utilize the symbol “God” in worship. This may be viewed as cheating but since our cultural tradition is filled with images of God, it is near impossible to avoid. As a symbol, I’m not yet ready to let go of God. It is a product of myth-making — I know that — but the symbol incorporates many of our human aspirations. I find that “God” for me is shorthand for all the things for which I long: beauty, truth, healing, and justice. They’re all expressed by this symbol and and the stories about it.
Update: We have talked quite a bit about being a secular Christian, and in many ways I am one. So that doesn't faze me. But what I find interesting is that he's a "professional" God-believer....being a pastor and all... yet considers God just a symbol he uses in worship.
Shuck isn't belief-less, he's just without a conventional belief in God. He believes in lots of things, as he has indicated here.
He's perhaps not that far from Karen Armstrong.
The myths and laws of religion are not true because they they conform to some metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because they are life enhancing. They tell you how human nature functions, but you will not discover their truth unless you apply these myths and doctrines to your own life and put them into practice.” The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness
Or from me, for that matter. But I'm not wearing a collar.