Not sure I agree, entirely. It is perfectly possible for Christianity to build on the local paganism and the magic and the expectation and the suffering - and for it to be multifaceted. Maybe this is a legacy of missionaries who created their opposition, who were themselves arrogant and narrow. African society is no less complex than Western. It could be that a sacred canopy that is still effective forces a kind of unity within itself, whereas a secular/ plural setting allows all manner of diversities. Nor do we live in splendid isolation even if cultural assumptions vary from place to place. Dougal puts it:
Disagreement, conflict and painful struggle is part of the Trinitarian nature of the Church and to opt out of that into a conservative holy huddle or a liberal glee club is to turn your back on God and fail to follow the Commandment not to take the Lord's name in vain...
I don't know what a liberal glee club is. It's complicated and I don't want to go into it too far here, but anyone reading my blog will see occasional references to Liberal Catholicism. I developed a contact with one group that saw its origins in both the theosophical related Liberal Catholic development out of Old Catholicism and with a historic Unitarian based offshoot into Free Catholicism. Developments that were unforeseen and pastorally based and showing something about small institutions have led me to break that connection now, which is a shame. None of the liberal connections I have had in the past were glee clubs, in fact they are rather testing because nothing can be left to just received doctrines. You have to test everything, and wondering what is myth, and fantasy, and supernatural, and magic, and faith, and history; and the relative importance and non-importance of these. James Martineau (pictured: an image used by the Unitarian Historical Society) projects right into this current religious situation: with him you can see how religion is on a knife edge, and he dealt with the fine and unstable balance between the objective and the subjective, and I would say takes us to the creative and awkward postmodern.
This evening in the Anglican setting there was a good discussion on the historical Jesus, and what if anything can be a method to find that person - and my approach is mainly a reconstruction from the outside in, but produces a very strange last days figure. Of course, if you can use secondary sources (like the Gospels, say) to construct a history of some sort, all it produces is a history of some sort. The speaker paid much attention to Albert Schweitzer, who of course made such a break with received doctrines and then went off to do something more practical. The Jesus Seminar, it seems to me, just produces something very dull and hardly of the immediacy of a preacher and healer who thinks he must act for God to act, to produce the coming of the Son of Man (whoever he or it was), and for all the woes to be cleared away and paradise to come. Well that is my construction, and on this if it is right or Schweitzer was right then Jesus was wrong. And if he was wrong - and there are no excuses (so say I) then there is no glee club, no easy way to have the doctrines, even relaxed a bit - and somehow you look at what faith is and how that works in the connection with the early Christians and what the connections exist through and back to the man himself.