What We Say and What We Do

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I have been fascinated for much of my adult life with what people say they believe and value versus what people actually do in their lives.  I include myself in this observation of values versus behaviors.  I have always believed we are our most powerful selves, we are authentic, when we do what we say we believe — when our beliefs and our behaviors are aligned.  Seldom does this seem to happen.

Notable, thoughtful, and widely respected christian author, Ann Rice, recently posted on her Facebook page that she has “quite christianity.”  She is publicly abandoning what christianity has come to mean today.  She is not abandoning her faith.  But the Christ of her faith practice is being so grotesquely misrepresented by the church of today, she feels compelled by her Christ to leave that church.  She has stated that she is going into the wilderness.

In other words, Ann Rice finds such a tremendous disconnect between what she believes as a person of faith in Christ and the organized church that purports to follow that Christ, she is compelled to do what she believes, which is requiring her to quit organized christianity which she believes no longer represents her God.  I find this very significant.  To live what she believes is the work of Christ, she feels she must abandon organized christianity which has so seriously lost its way.

I must say, I have new found respect and admiration for Ann Rice!  You can hear her speak of her concerns in this short video interview.

Richard T. Hughes, Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College and author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God, recently wrote this:

… 83% of the American people claim to be Christians. If those Christians lived as they are taught to live by the teacher they claim to follow, the American public square would be a very different kind of place.

If one reads the New Testament—the charter for the Christian religion—one can discover rather quickly what that tradition is all about

  • Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth
  • Jesus tells his followers to make peace.
  • Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek.
  • Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them
  • Jesus tells his followers to extend justice, especially to the poor and the dispossessed.
  • Jesus tells his followers to serve as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation
  • And Jesus tells his followers to love one another, even their enemies

But based on their words and behavior, we may safely conclude that many of the Christians who dominate America’s public square routinely reject the teachings of Jesus, in spite of their claims to the contrary.

…  After all, since 83% of the American population identifies with the Christian religion, that 83% could make an enormous difference in the tone of American politics if those Christians actually practiced what they profess to believe. They could also make a positive difference in American politics if they held other Christians accountable when they engage in deception and slander in order to score political points.

America’s churches and their pastors therefore have a grave responsibility: to urge their members to serve the public square as peacemakers, as truth-tellers, as people devoted to justice, and as men and women who are actually willing to practice what Jesus taught. If America’s churches refuse to take up this task—which, after all, is a task that is central to the Christian calling—the consequences for our country could be dire, indeed.

Source:  Belief Blog

The entire article, linked above, is well worth reading.

In my lifetime I have seen the self-proclaimed follows of Christ become anything but Christ-like.  I have seen the influence this misconstrued  faith practice has had in our corrupt political system.  I have witnessed people who label themselves as believers clutch a self-serving agenda that has little to do with how Jesus actually said we should live our lives.

What 83% of Americans say they believe and what they do with their lives is stunningly out of sync.  We are living in an ill-informed, dysfunctional, disillusioned state where our hearts and our minds are no longer aligned.  We have stopped being our best selves.

Ann Rice and Richard T. Hughes have had the courage to say, “Enough, already!”  Hopefully they are among the first prophets to lead our nation back to a life of genuine, authentic faith practice.