A New Direction in Simple, Practical Faith

Have you ever noticed that, when you first identify with a new group and adopt its beliefs and tenets as your own, the members of that group commend you for your wisdom and discernment? Later, when your experience and careful consideration lead you to change 1your mind about one or more elements of the group’s shared beliefs, you are regarded as having somehow lost your ability to be wise and discerning. Instead, you have apparently succumbed to influences that have led you into error.

Or, as a friend of mine put it, “I was a prophet right up to the moment I became a heretic.”

I began turning in a new direction, both theologically and politically, that day, about ten years ago, when, for the first time, I came to believe that the gospel of the kingdom is 3primarily focused on the needs of others. That conviction has only intensified over the years.

Today I measure every policy, every perspective, every political position and biblical interpretation against a threefold standard:

1) Does it honor God?

2) Does it reflect the character of Jesus and the values of the kingdom?

3) Does it put the needs and concerns of others, especially the powerless and the disenfranchised, above my personal interests and material comforts?

4

The faith I am coming to embrace is
more comprehensive,
more holistic,
more robust.
Less theology, more doxology.
Less exposition, more experience.
Less theoretical speculation, more practical application.
Less indignation, more compassion.
Less judgment, more love.
Less concern about the hereafter, more involvement in the present.
Less rigid ideology, more faithful flexibility.
Perhaps not less Christ, but certainly more Jesus.

God enabling me, those will be the guiding and energizing principles for my ministry, whatever form it takes, for the remainder of my life.

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2 thoughts on “A New Direction in Simple, Practical Faith

  1. I wonder if it is possible that in order for you to have reached this new perspective on ministry and on politics and on a wide range of philosophical and practical matters, you had to first experience all of the grounding, honing, and shaping that your earlier time as a fundamentalist, evangelical, Anabaptist, and Anglican afforded you. In other words, your particular and very precise spiritual journey has so prepared you by immersing you in the things you now no longer find necessary that you no truly do no longer need to spend further time with them. I ask, not in a challenging way at all, but as one who desires to learn more and more about the journey on which God has so obviously led you. I believe we all have much to learn from you as you share with us more details of the things God has taught you in these latter days.

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