I am really thankful that a lot of the ways in which our culture understands faith is changing.
In the book Missional Spirituality, authors Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson point out that the Christian faith you find in many churches is an excarnational practice. What does that mean? Excarnational faith is one that lives mostly in the brain, rather than the body. It’s understanding the religious life as being about knowing the right things and believing in the right stuff. Even in our many seminaries, religious education, though certainly a great tool, teaches church leaders how to write and research and study theology.
While the intellectual understanding of one’s faith tradition is great, without practice it is irrelevant.
Unfortunately, true change rarely begins in the mind.
Sure, believing the right thing can be important. But the true test is whether or not it is lived out. If “loving your neighbor as yourself” is what you believe as one of Jesus’ core teachings, how are you living it out each day? How is your faith community providing opportunities to love neighbors that you may not even know or may be very different than you? I feel like our culture is getting tired of hearing about “right belief” and is ready to see more faith that is lived out.
True spirituality is about embodying God to the world, to be part of God’s physical expression of love to the world.
I’d rather be wrong in my belief and help someone in need then be right and do nothing.