Do My Actions Matter More than What I Believe?
This blog post, written by theology professor Peter Enns, is the inspiration for this question. In my post, I’m going to try to address how this idea that has wormed its way into the Church—this idea that standing by our beliefs is the most important thing we could possibly do as Christians—plays itself out in my own church life.
Several months ago, I followed a rabbit trail on the Internet that led me to Rachel Held Evans’ blog. I was confused, amazed, and enlightened by her ideas. That someone could express such unabashed adoration for the teachings of Christ and the Bible, yet believe in evolution, believe in an egalitarian model of marriage, etc., didn’t make a lick of sense to me. But I pushed past my confusion and continued to read her posts. And I slowly fell in love with her words. In fact, I fear I may have come to place where I idolize her a little bit. Not cool.
Anyway, lately I had been thinking about how awesome it would be to have her come speak at my church—at a women’s retreat or something. I’d love to meet her in person, and I think the other girls in my young adult group could learn as much from her as I have.
Then I thought about Enns’ idea, and how much fear I feel at the idea of approaching the leadership at my church and being told “no” about Rachel coming to speak at my church, because Rachel believes in evolution. Because Rachel believes women can and should be pastors. Or a million other beliefs that Rachel holds, beliefs that I also am beginning to see make a whole lot of sense to me. I know that the women of my church would benefit from a talk by Rachel. Enns’ post just made me realize that my church—and many other churches too—are often so concerned with defending the “right doctrine” that they miss the opportunity to learn from someone who probably has a lot of good things to say about faith, and love, and Christianity in general.
Maybe we all need to be a little more open-minded. That, at least, is what I draw from Peter Enn’s analysis of action vs. belief in the Church.