It’s the end of May, so I better bring this series of random thoughts on faith to an end.
What is the point of all this musing? I’ve come up with this: Theology is worthless if it doesn’t motivate me to act on what I believe. Brian McLaren discusses this and equates orthodoxy with practice in his book, A Generous Orthodoxy:
This book can rightly be accused of blurring that distinction between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Absurdly (to some at least) this book seems to approach orthodoxy as a tool or means to achieve orthopraxy…
In sum, this book sees ortopraxy as the point of orthodoxy.
Interestingly, I recently read that early Christians would have done things in an order opposite that of what we usually do. Tony Jones writes:
One thing that’s intriguing to note, and easy to lose sight of two millennia later, is that in the very earliest church, practice begat doctrine. That is, the early church didn’t convene theological conferences to debate the nature of the godhead and then spin out a practice of prayer.
Instead, it’s clear in the earliest Christian documents that the people prayed, and out of their experience of God’s nearness did they develop doctrinal beliefs regarding who God is and how God acts.
So what do I believe, and how should I act? About a year ago, I blogged about my creed:
I believe in love, lived out in the context of community.
And what does this have to do with all of these thoughts? I’ve been writing about atonement, Rob Bell’s book (Love Wins), and universalism, among other things. Sometimes, I seriously consider (or even embrace) ideas that are unorthodox (at least within some streams of Christianity). But it all comes down to this: I’m finding that the love of God, demonstrated in the life of Jesus, is bigger than I could possibly imagine. I’m tired of subtly being motivated by fear – fear of hell, fear of my own failure, fear that the kingdom of God is irrelevant to today’s world. I’m ready to embrace something bigger. To re-quote Bell…
What you discover in the Bible is so surprising and unexpected and beautiful that whatever we’ve been told or taught, the Good News is actually better than that – better than we can ever imagine.
The Good News is that love wins.
P.S. Greg Boyd provides a summary of all of this: “The Heresy of Failing to Love“
Thoughts on Faith: