The way I pictured this for me is that in my wresting with all that I wonder about I am on a trapeze and need other people with their hands outstretched to grab onto. I know that the things I wrestle with are more progressive than my family thinks and it helps me to know I am not alone and to know smart, godly people have traveled the same journey as I have and come to similar theological understandings.
For j's friend to know of pastors and scholars who think differently than his evangelical upbringing gave his exploration and 'different' thoughts more credibility or validity. I feel this way too. Even if we think we explore on our own, we don't. Our belief is impacted by the family that raised us and then the family we choose--theologically.
For me this can feel a bit like letting go from one trapeze bar to grab onto someone's hands whose legs are wrapped around another one swinging towards me. There is some risk. Still it's the only way to get across.
The conversation about the Gulley/Mulholland books did not solve any huge mysteries, but it did offer me more dialog partners. He recommended two other authors.
- The One Purpose of God - by Bonda
- The Heart of Christianity - by Marcus Borg