Tuesday, October 3

Some Slightly Insightful Church Bashing

The problem with Christianity is that's too much belief and not enough action. Now, when I say Christianity, I mean the set of historical beliefs, practices, symbols, and values in the proportions and emphases defined by most Christians. I don't mean the way those same things were defined by Jesus or Torah.

For one, practice is more practical; it's more important to give to the poor than to know why one should give to the poor, what God thinks about poor people, etc. For another, there is more expressed meaning through practice than belief. Invariably, what a person physically acts will have more influence on their own self than what they think. To be glib, you are what you do, not what you say. For another, Christendom would be far more united if we centered ourselves on actions rather than belief. Denominational divisions are most often from belief than action. Even in Islam where the issues of women's involvement is also debated, their is no division because of it because they are more focused the basic actions - fasting, charity, and prayer. And of course, I think it's more scriptural. I could quote all day where Scipture says to "do this" or "do that," but I'm hard pressed to think of verses that read, "think this" or "believe that."

For instance, this week at Greenville is Global Impact Week. Repeat: impact. But the typical evangelical response in chapel yesterday purposely rejected talking about action and explained what we should think and believe about God and action. It was the same sermon that gets preached in every church at least once a month: God is love and cares about the world and you should too.

On a positive note, the maintenance department at Greenville this year is outstanding! I'm continually amazed by their promptness and organization.

2 comments:

Erin said...

JBJ,
Here is my two cents not that you need it want it or asked for it. *smile*

In Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller states quite clearly that your beliefs should cost you something. There are things in that book that I'm still not quite sure I agree with, but I loved that statement as soon as I read it. While it is true that God is love and God loves his creation. Love (charity) requires action. It requires you to think of someone one else as yourself.

I struggle sometimes with having a strong desire to give to those in need. I see someone with a need and I want that need to be met. If not by my action, someone else's action, God's favor and action, or a combination of all of the above. For me is doesn't matter their circumstance. I mean people like to justify not taking action with ideas some of which are if I gave that bum money they would just go spend it on crack or it is unfortunate that so-and-so is in this situation but it isn't my responsibility to get them get them out of it.

Where would all of humanity be if Christ had a similar attitude with humanity? Saving all of humanity cost him his life by death on a cross.

I could go on writing, but I don't think I need to. I will finish my point right here. I think action requires belief, and your beliefs should cost you something. You can't be lazy or lackadaisical about loving someone or it doesn't last. Love will require time, action, thought, honesty, growth, reflection, and so many other things. It might even require creativity and ingenuity. It will cost you but it will in my opinion make one ordinary life an extraordinary, a life worth living.

Ephilei said...

I utterly agree with you. I was mostly writing about the socioloigcal affects of actions. Well, I meant to. Maybe I didn't really.

But certainly I don't suggest we give up caring about what we believe. It seems to me that Christians don't "have room" to focus on action and belief, so we've traded one for the other. If that's true, I think it'd be worth changing the balance so that action has more focus and belief less (tho not none at all).