I am no longer interested in establishing who is right and who is wrong, or guidelines for determining who is in and who is out. I am only interested in getting closer to the Truth—or, if you prefer, learning how to live in increasing harmony with God’s economy.
This is one reason why I am fascinated by the growing controversy over Pope Francis. I have no dog in the fight over the future of the Roman Catholic church, and probably couldn’t be much further away from Francis on matters of ecclesiology. But I think he is correct in pointing out Christendom’s ongoing failures, and the resulting discomfort in some circles indicates that he is turning over some interesting rocks.
No one has changed my mind more about how to read the Bible than Andrew Perriman. Somehow he has persuaded me that the Bible speaks much less comprehensively to Christians than the conventional wisdom tells us—and at the same time it has deeper, richer meaning to offer, if only we will read its stories on their own terms intead of universalizing its lessons. How he managed to take away all the old comforts, and yet leave me more comfortable, is a magic act I haven’t yet figured out.
A bit more than a year after rediscovering Dallas Willard, I’m more convinced than ever that our proper goal is not behaving properly, but becoming the kind of person to whom proper behavior is second nature. I’ve known this for much more than a year, but Willard is the one who crystallized the thought and filled in the details for me.
I suppose this idea is neglected or outright rejected because the alternative—telling people how to behave, and expecting/exhorting them to such behavior through dint of sheer willpower—is what keeps teachers and pastors employed. If instead we only allowed/expected them to help us become fully Christian, and judged their performance by the results—well, who could pass such a test? I’m willing to raise my children this way, and to be judged based on the results in their lives. No one I know seems to be interested in putting me (or anyone else) to such a test in their own lives—and perhaps that’s just as well.
One nice thing about being an anarchist, Christian or otherwise, is that consistency allows you to believe that others are wrong but insists that you not impose your own correctness on them. Limiting, but also liberating.