sparklesanddaffodils asked: Unka Glen, I love your blog! I was brought up in a very Bible-based, traditional, evangelical church. The passion was great, and I was able to ignore the controversial questions that I still can’t answer. Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself more at home in a liberal setting, with its love and gentleness, but I miss the certainty of Evangelicalism. But when I go back, I don’t feel like I fit any more, no matter where I go. Help? (This is more an ‘Arrgh!’ than a question, sorry!)
Unka Glen answered: I can work with Arrgh. I know exactly what you mean. In more traditional-minded churches, they often focus on what they call orthodoxy, which is about drawing lines of correct beliefs and incorrect beliefs. But as you point out, cut and dried as all that may be, it doesn’t really help to answer the tough questions in life.
Then you go to a more liberal-minded church, and their message is: “hey man, who’s to say?” Which kinda sounds nice, because it seems all open and inclusive and whatnot, but in reality, they not only fail to answer those same hard questions, they fail to even address them.
But now, let me teach you a fancy word that you can use to impress your friends at parties: orthopraxis (kinda sounds like a new medicine, right? “ask your doctor if prescription strength Orthopraxis may be right for you, side effects may include spontaneous dental hydroplosion”). You see, where orthodoxy is about knowing the right beliefs, orthopraxis is about knowing the right actions to take. And this is what you’re really looking for in your walk.
So, for example, let’s say your cousin is an openly gay dude, and he wants to invite you to his nice little gay wedding. Well, your old church would tell you (likely with some haste and overemphasis) that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. they might even make it sound like some kind of big, giant, huge, hairy sin of some kind. Fine, but that still doesn’t answer the question: should I accept the invitation?
Meanwhile in a more liberal church setting, they might tell you, “hey it’s all cool man, do whatever, because after all, who’s to say what might be right or wrong?” Which in the end is just as unhelpful.
Being able to help people choose right actions comes down to this: how much have you wrestled with these things in your walk, how much time have you spent in a Christian bubble, versus time spent out in the world trying to help people who don’t believe what you believe? You figure out right actions by being in situations where you need to figure out actions.
So now imagine that I tell you about how in Matthew 9, we find that Jesus is eating with some of those despised tax collectors and other “sinners”, and the religious types are criticizing this, and Jesus responds by saying “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”. Suddenly you know everything you need to know about the right actions to take in this kind of situation.
You know, for example, that if people from your church talk bad about you for associating with sinners, that they are unfamiliar with the actual, Biblical account of Jesus, who very clearly set an example over and over again, that being with sinners in their sin is not the same as agreeing with their sinful lifestyle.
You know that you’re in the right place if you’re witnessing to people that aren’t normally hearing the Good News. You know that Jesus isn’t ignoring the sin, as He refers to their sin as a sickness, and Himself as the doctor.
Doctors go where the sick people are, sensitively listen to the patient, diagnose the problem, explain the disease process, explain the nature of the cure, and urge the sick to fill that prescription. Doctors attack illness in the body, all while showing sympathy for the patient.
So how did I know to apply this story from Matthew 9 to this situation? Well, working with gang members in the inner-city gives me plenty of occasions where I need to go to scripture to work out all kinds of dilemmas. In the end, this process makes me as Bible-based as your hardline denominational friends, and it makes me as understanding and non-judgmental as your more liberal minded friends.
But if you want people to teach you right actions, as well as right beliefs, you have to find someone who’s actually living it. You’re looking for a pastor or mentor who can tell you how they’ve gone out into the world and made disciples, and how they found the right scripture to apply, as they worked out their orthopraxis.
- jinniedapooh reblogged this from unkaglen
- tinaille likes this
- b-lynninja likes this
- amyshorewrites likes this
- ferguson19274 likes this
- u-live-and-learn likes this
- bekaboo likes this
- pd12 reblogged this from unkaglen and added:
- pd12 likes this
- grace-love-and-mercy likes this
- kraka-chan likes this
- mushytee likes this
- hewalkswithme reblogged this from unkaglen and added:
- hewalkswithme likes this
- pussiesandpoets reblogged this from unkaglen
- pag-asameanshope likes this
- bayliboop likes this
- jspark3000 likes this
- grace-isms reblogged this from unkaglen
- ridikkulus likes this
- watchinghissunrise likes this
- thedailydoodles likes this
- constructivecatharsis likes this
- chiisuchi reblogged this from unkaglen and added:
- bellepepper likes this
- growing-into-stephanie likes this
- lafermeassurance reblogged this from unkaglen
- lafermeassurance likes this
- creatingfire likes this
- itstimetoletlovein likes this
- unkaglen posted this