I haven't written much lately about faith/God/ministry etcetera. I haven't had much to say, as I've been in a bit of a holding pattern - sensing I'm about to take off one way or another, but unsure of where or when. Anyway, the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five meme is in regard to belief. I realize that through the years, I've depended on the mostly-helpful notion that Christianity isn't about belief as confidently assenting to the truth of a set of doctrines, but cultivating faith in God as a way of life. The difference between faith and belief (when it is articulated with more clarity than I'm managing here) has been of vital importance to me. When I was about nineteen, I decided that whether or not I believed in the five things I thought I was supposed to make myself believe in to be a bonified Christian, I would try to trust God and participate in communities of faith anyway. For the most part, this has worked out for me, though sometimes the utter ambiguity of my faith exhausts me. The notion of orthopraxis - right practice - as opposed to orthodoxy - right belief - deeply appeals to me. Give me communion over catechesis any day. Which is not to say that I don't love theology; I simply see it more of a practice of imagining the God in whom we have faith rather than laying down a set of orthodox doctrines.
Have you ever suffered through such a verbose introduction to a meme?
Here are five things in which I believe.
1. I believe that my family and friends love me (and I love them).
2. Nick Cave sings, "People just ain't no good." Except when they are. Despite the human tendency toward selfishness and fear, I believe that all people are capable of love and kindness.
3. Violence is wrong, and cannot ever be justified, even if waging war appears to be the lesser of evils. I could go on. Yes, I believe atrocities need to be stopped. I believe there are other ways to stop them than further atrocities, that there is such a thing as making peace. That said, while I believe situations in which violence is used to abort violence (self-defense, WWII) are not morally justifiable, they should be interpreted with compassion in light of context. Which is to say that if a person murders someone out of self-defense, it is still wrong to kill, but we will have compassion for the person given the circumstances. Dietrich Bonhoeffer participated in the plot to assassinate Hitler, yet he never once pretended that it was acceptable in God's sight to kill another person. In his eyes, the failed assassination was not heroic, but a sinful action he was willing to undertake out of concern for the victims of the Holocaust.
4. I believe in music.
5. I believe in (the Triune) God. I believe that God is the source of all goodness and love. I believe that God will save us, whatever that means.