Excerpt from Crucialism: A Christian Ethos for the Third Millennium; G.C. Dilsaver, All Rights Reserved.
Crucial means both that which is "vital" and that which is "cruciform." For the Christian life it is indeed the Cross that is vital. “Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” MT 16:24. Yes, what is vital for a Christian is that his life be Cross-conformed: conformed to Christ Crucified. Crucialism is an ethos—a way of life, morals, and values—that applies to the Christian of the third millennium this essential Gospel mandate to embrace the Cross.
Though Crucialism is dogmatically rooted in the ancient, immutable Deposit of the Faith, it is not strictly speaking catechectical, or at least that is not its specific difference. Crucialism's specific difference is that it is an application of that dogma. In that sense, it is a moral theology. But here too Crucialism differs from a manual of right and wrong, but rather aims to be an exhortation to the courageous celebration of the Christian life. This Christian life must needs be courageous for what is vital to it is embracing Christ Crucified, and such a life is indeed celebratory for it is inherently full of vitality.
As an application of both dogma and morals Crucialism may best be classified as a pastoral theology. Yet even here Crucialism differs from an erstwhile pastoral theology in that it is an autodidact theology, one not implemented from the pulpit but from within the person. Today's milieu requires nothing less than a personal commitment to Christ Crucified, a personal vision. In accord with the Christian principle of subsidiarity, Crucialism calls for the locus of inspiration and action to be on the most fundamental level: within the heart of the believer. So too, this means that the family as the most fundamental social unit takes precedent as the locus of Christian, and indeed sociopolitical, life.