I have been thinking for a long time that the way we have characterized Christian faith is maybe not what Jesus intended. What if Jesus intended to impact how we lived more than what we believed? Now I know that Jesus spoke a lot about belief in God who sent him and having faith in the kingdom of God that he represented. But more and more I am not so sure that belief was the point of his message, but that what he intended was for us to live as he lived, to love, to forgive, to accept those others reject, to be part of the healing of this world. I think that Jesus came to teach us to be better humans than more spiritual.
If that is true, then maybe the ones living those values are closer to Christ than the ones who “believe” the “right” things about Jesus, but live for themselves, or fail to exhibit those characteristics and values inherent to Jesus and his ministry as portrayed in the Gospels.
This thought reminds me of a parable found in Peter Rollins’ book The Orthodox Heretic: and Other Impossible Tales on page 57 entitled “Finding Faith.” In this parable there is a firery preacher who has a gift that when he prays for someone they lose their faith. In the story this preacher encounters a person who claims Christian faith but in business hurts and damages other people, knowing that in Christ he is forgiven. He asks if he can pray for the man, who willingly allows him to. The business man immediately loses faith. Over the coming months he can no longer stomach the ruthless business practices that have characterized his career. He leaves that mode of business and begins to put his experience toward helping and fighting against such practices. In this story, did he lose faith, or find it?