Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Christianity Worth Believing

In early 2008 Doug Pagitt has new book coming out that sounds like a great read.

The subtitle for the book is, 'Hope-Filled, Open-Armed, Alive-and-Well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind and Let Down in Us All.'

Doug writes, "Please don’t misunderstand me here. I love my faith. I believe that living in the way of Jesus is the way humanity will embrace peace, justice, mercy, compassion, and love. I have seen my fellow Christians graciously, selflessly caring for the least among us. I have seen Christians who have found ways to live at peace with each other and in harmony with God. I have seen Christians following Jesus’ command that we love others as we love ourselves, even when that love involves great sacrifice.

But while Christianity has given so much to the world, it too often carries with it a message, a belief system, that can be hard to believe. It too often creates a culture that is unintentionally hurtful to far too many people. I have a tendency to climb on my high horse of righteous opinion and make statements that imply (sometimes not very subtly) that Christianity is a stagnant, exclusive club for those who are satisfied with ill-fitting answers meant for issues of a different age. But when I come to my senses, I’m convinced that if I’m ever going to feel like I truly belong to this family, if I’m going to live out the faith I profess in any kind of honest way, then I have a responsibility to break the no-talk rules and say what I believe the good news has been about all along. I am as responsible as anyone for the faith I profess. If I want to be a full participant in Christianity, I need to stop complaining about the beliefs articulated by others and make my contribution instead. In doing so, I am following the true legacy of this family.

For Christianity has always been a living faith, one presented in hundreds, even thousands of different ways around the world and throughout the ages. It has always been the dynamic interplay between the Spirit of God and the lives and cultures of people. It is meant to be a real-life journey of discovering, wondering, answering, and questioning.This book is an articulation of that process. It is an expression of my desire for a Christianity that makes sense in the world in which we live, a Christianity that is not afraid of questions and will not resist answers, regardless of where they lead. It is my attempt to embrace a faith that is expansive, growing, and beautiful, one in which God is active and alive, involved in all of life. Because I believe in a Christianity where nothing is left out and no one is left behind, where humanity participates with God in the redemption of the world; where sin is more than a legal problem to be judged but a relational problem that can be healed; where we pursue harmony, centered on Jesus the Messiah, the Jew, whose life, death, and resurrection allow us to live well with God; where the Bible draws us into a story of life and healing; where we find hope for this life and life ever after; where love is alive, where love drives out fear, where love propels us toward lives lived for the betterment of all the world.The Christian family will always include people who are satisfied with the way things are and people who want to see new possibilities come to life. And we are all better off because of the mix. No one should be removed from the family simply for wanting the benefits that come with conservation, and no one should be removed for wanting to move forward as the faithful have always done.

Toward that end, this book is a call, or a re-call, for those who believe the gospel of Jesus is an invitation for all people to live a dynamic faith as full members of the family, joining in the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of God for the world no matter what kind of family we come from. Doug Pagitt, A Christianity Worth Believing, Jossey-Bass 2008

Advent Conspiracy is all about what or who we believe in. And how we'll live our life because of that. Do you have a Christianity worth believing?


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