Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Faith: Where Christians mess up

Here's what I find wrong with Christian believers today -- besides a Pelagian dualism and an us-vs.-them mentality: Claiming to love the spirit of the law yet living by the letter of the law.

Too many believers preach rules and formulas in an effort to judge or control situations from a safe distance, instead of personally and incarnationally discerning what Jesus would do, then jumping in and doing it, in the fullness of love and without fear. It's as if they are standing at the top of a pit, telling the hapless soul who fell in to get out (though rarely how), as opposed to having fallen into that pit oneself before (or knowing someone who has), being familiar with a way out, and personally climbing down to pull or lead the other to an escape. Befriending others and genuinely being able to appreciate their good points is also a step in the right direction.

Church people, in an effort to preserve themselves from sin, too often preserve themselves from humanity. As a corollary to this, those who are better human beings (if not yet believers) can spy insincerity from a mile away and will avoid it at all costs.

It is not the purpose of a baseball team to play by the rules and preserve itself from errors; it is the soul of a true team effort to strive for personal excellence, pick oneself up after dropping the ball, and to do whatever it takes to pull together an athletic economy that produces a winning game. This can be expressed in the phrase "Got game?" or "Do you have your eye on the ball?"

It is vital for Christians and all moral persons to "play by the rules" and avoid cheating or complacency. We should never intentionally "sin." However, we ought never to hold back from playing full-out for fear of making a mistake. A sin requires forgiveness; mistakes are part of the human landscape. All God asks is that we continue to run the race, always in good faith and to the utmost of our ability.


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