Posted by: dacalu | 17 January 2010

Tuesday’s Christian

Happy New Year and Glorious Epiphany

Last year I decided it would be worthwhile blogging about basic Christianity, trying to avoid complexities and philosophical diversions. This year, I hope to return a more nuanced, but also a more exciting Christianity. This year I want to talk about the “peace of Christ which passes all understanding,” the peace that is no peace, the mentally challenging and frustrating world of Christian paradox.

This pursuit of troublesome Christianity highlights a very important part of my faith–for me, theology is pragmatic. Theology is about coming closer to God. When we assume that some intellectual proposition shows us the true nature of God or the universe, we run the risk of gnosticism, a heresy in which knowledge provides salvation. For me, it’s not about knowledge; it’s about relationship. Theology, then, ceases to be the litmus test of orthodoxy and becomes another spiritual practice. By entering into dialogue with God, scripture, and the community of faith, Christians learn to follow Jesus.

So our end goal will not be fixed beliefs, but a way of thinking:

discipleship–following in the path of Jesus
integrity–consistency between belief, identity, and action
humility–openness to being changed by experience
community–engaging with others in the search
curiosity–seeking out new ways to be in God’s presence

And of course, always presuming the three “theological virtues” which I discussed last year: faith, hope, and charity.

I like to think of this type of theology in terms of orthopraxy (right behavior) rather than orthodoxy (right thought). It’s about learning to be the people God calls us to be. We must judge our success by whether we have come closer to God in the process, whether our lives come to manifest the fruits of the Spirit:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23).

It’s a pragmatic view, and very different from that of many Christians in modern America. It’s not about knowing the truth, but about knowing the Truth. It is a real relationship, with a living person–Jesus Christ.

So I’d like to invite you to join with me this year in following after Jesus as He challenges us with riddles. We may never know the answers, but in asking the questions we open our hearts and minds to deeper realities and we begin to see God as God wants to be seen–with wonder.

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