Friday, April 4, 2008

Discipline and Life Change as a result of what we believe

"All living theology grows out of personal experience" - Howard H. Brinton (Friends Theologian)

I think this is a very important idea, that whatever our philosophy of life be, or our theology is, that it should be intrinsically tied to our living. Religion was once defined by a teacher of mine as 'how to live right', and the latin 'religare' means a 'relationship with God'. Both of these definitions work together in my opinion.

Some might say that my theology changes my life as it's generally all I talk about, and the fact that I am hated at brock for it. However I must say that I have so much to live out in my faith. I thirst for discipline, and the ability to act upon what I know is right. I know Walmart uses child labour and that Shane Claiborne is right about most things, but at the same time, I don't seem to believe what I preach enough to actually act on it and drive somewhere else. This isn't just about theology either, take the environment. My brother works as a Forest Ranger guy and his wife is in the Ministry of Natural Resources job circuit as well, I've read alot of theology about ecology and how we should treat the earth better. I mean who thinks we should ruin the earth? no one. So I support the Green Party in debates lots of times, and defend extra costs spent to protect nature, but what do I do? Drive an SUV by myself with Premium Gas, and then vote conservative because they lower our taxes. What an awful contradiction. There are plenty of other sins I could go into but I'll keep this G-rated.

I am fascinated as I study the Anabaptists, the Mennonite Brethren, the Quakers and the Low Church denominations alot. After studying the high church Anglican/Catholic/Orthodox theology, it is like a breath of fresh air - or maybe just air that I am more comfortable with. I am amazed at them because they act so strongly on what they believe. They don't go to war, they live completely simple lives, away from society, in a Christian family, and abstain from pretty much everything. Many of them even in the 17th centuries like the Quakers refused baptism because they believed wholly in Christ and that he didn't need 'a sprinkling of cold water' -as one Quaker said- to save them. Now this isn't shocking to most, but just look at this debate between Voltaire (Catholic/Deist) and a Quaker:
It was believed (and still is even by some protestant denominations) that for someone not to be baptized was for them not to be a Christian. Voltaire gets horrified about the fact that this holy man who loves the Lord hasn't been baptized. The Quaker defends himself and pretty much pwns Voltaire in the end using scripture.

Where this ties into the topic again, is the fact that they believed something strongly about God, that is not 'served by human hands' as Paul says in Acts 17, and even though many said they were in fear of Hell, they stuck firm and trusted God. I desire in my own life the strength to live that way. To be simple, and to know what is right and do it. To live right in every aspect, healthwise, schoolwise, jobwise, etc.

I've currently reordered my own values and tried a bit and put alot more emphasis on Christ, and not worry so much about my own accomplishments and success as just being satisfied in his goodness. I know that sounds stupidly trite and 'spiritual' but actually I think that all 3 of you reading this might disagree with this choice, and maybe it is wrong, I don't know (just trusting my inner light as the Friends say). But if I'm worried about school or stressed out from a long day and I have homework or something, I just sit down and pray or relax or read my bible instead. So I might do worse in school, but I am much more at peace, and I am constantly remembering that my entire life is in God's hands and he will lead me wherever I go, and that I should be still and know that he is God, instead of trying to prove myself and earn my own self-worth from my meager accomplishments. Maybe I'm just 'Christianizing' laziness, but I don't know, and maybe I'm totally wrong, but right now it is the path I am taking, and in this moment I look to my brothers and sisters the Anabaptists and remember that my religion is about living right, and being a Friend of God.

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