Monday, September 19, 2005

Love, belief, action

In the Scriptures, belief works in tandem with action. Our actions are reflective of our beliefs, but our beliefs drive our actions. So what I'm interested in reclaiming is the importance of these two together.

Sometimes faith becomes all about what people believe, and how you act doesn't really matter. But in the Scriptures, how you act very much matters. Like it says, what does God require of you but to love justice and mercy and to walk humbly? Those are all actions.
(Rob Bell, author of Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, quoted in a Dallas Morning News interview. Hat-tip: emerging sideways

Luv is a verb. (from a song by dcTalk)

The definition of love is the same at seven AM as it is at midnight! I believe that you can't prove love...if you love someone, you do things for them. Love is not a feeling; it is an action. (Chuck C., excerpted from A New Pair of Glasses).
This weekend, in between unpacking boxes (yes, dear God, there are still more than a few of THOSE to be dealt with!) I've been checking out a number of blogs that seem to have this theme of love, belief and action involved.

First, Rick Luoni's powerful post at a new life emerging talks about using love to heal the results of unloving actions or attitudes. Then Damien's Spot has an interesting interview with the pastor whose church sign announces that THE BIG EASY IS THE MODERN DAY SODOM AND GOMORRAH, and how escapees from New Orleans - who, I'm sure, often include faithful Christians - are justifiably irked by this Texas welcome.

[Theological aside: most discerning students of scripture will tell you that the "sin of Sodom" is not gay sex, but lack of hospitality - which, it seems, would make Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Tyler, TX the "modern day Sodom."]

Also, this weekend, in the process of following a Google bunny-trail I stumbled across Recoveries Anonymous over here. This group seems to believe that the mainstream of AA has ceased being about having a spiritual awakening through the practice of the 12 steps of recovery. They even believe that the book Alcoholics Anonymous has become somehow corrupted, and instead they favor using the original "multilith copy" of the AA textbook - which is, presumably, more closely aligned to wha the 12-step programs should be than the final draft of the text.

I've not read the "original manuscript," and so I won't comment there. But I understand that it's important to actually pick the book up and follow the original instructions in it, rather than just sitting around moaning about problems and buying into psycho-babble solutions to immediate problems. One of the many truisms in the 12-step community is that the 6th chapter of the "Big Book" is not titled "Into Contemplation," or "Into Preparing to Plan to Consider..." but instead Into Action. Another salty old-timer would often say to me, "Steve, if nothing changes, then nothing changes..."

That's what I see in these postings, and in so much of what surrounds the struggles to help people in the Gulf Coast. The things that have been most hurtful are the posturing, the sound bites, empty claims of concern and promises of action. The only thing that will heal that, as Rick points out, will be actions of service and restoration that will demonstrate love and care, rather than just talk about it.

God, in everything we do today, help each one of us put our talk into action. Let actions of love and kindness demonstrate what our words, in the end, will never show. Amen.


[rhymes with kerouac] said...

Oh yeah, I'll say Amen! to that!

Nick said...