A Christian’s Job

11 10 2006

I was recently asked what my role as Christian was and here is my reply-

I think the best place to start is to explain a bit about myself and my perspectives on life. I am an evangelical Christian but I live in the United Kingdom and like most British people I am bemused by much that passes for evangelical American Christianity.

1. because it presumes that the proper subject of Christian ethics is America rather than the Church.

2. because it strikes me that a truly evangelical Christian faith has more to say about the poor and the oppressed than human sexuality.

I suspect that much of the conservative wing of the church is captive to a politically partisan and non-Christian ideology. I could be described as ‘postmodern’ in some circles as I do not place much stock in universal foundations for knowledge- for example during the Tsunami villages who saw the sea retract in Indonesia fled to the mountains because ancient stories suggested this was a sign of impending disaster- in many contexts we would laugh at their superstitions but how true do we know those myths to be now.

In terms of ethical decisions I am not convinced that what is possible and permissable (scientifically or democratically) is necessarily what is best theologically. However, I do not believe that forcing others to live by theological convictions that they do not share with Christians is helpful or justifiable.

So what do I think the way ahead must be- well it involves freedom of religious conviction (not pluralism nor deism or atheistic civil religion, rather plurality). In the education system this may either involve more independent religious schools (Muslim, Hindu, Christian etc.) or freedom of religion within institutional schools.

I think that banning expressions of worship for fear that it offends others represents an infringement upon civil liberties. I am not saying that such people should be forced to pray or join in but nor do I think people should be stopped from expressing their faith. I am convinced that not having faith in the spiritual or in a personal creator God is not a default or neutral position and the continuing growth of Christianity worldwide seems to testify to this fact.

In a sense I am saying that it is not my job to submit my faith to your measurement of truthfulness. Instead, it is my job to live by my faith in such a way that people commend me for integrity of character and sincerity of conviction. My job far from being to justify my own lifestyle choices is to resist justifying them to accept that they are different from others around me and to resist conforming to a monocultural (atheistic or pluralistic) understanding of life.

In this way I hope to commend my faith to others. The Amish community’s recent reaction to the Carl Robert’s murders is a good example of this faith in action. It is my belief that there exists a most excellent way and I am attempting to walk it.




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