Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lent Bible Challenge | Day 19
March 18
Luke 8:16-39

A friend often uses a saying "your actions speak so loudly I can' hear what you're saying." I find in these passages this to be the theme: actions - are we practicing what we preach? Jesus acts according to what he professes, he does what he teaches: offering a new sort of community beyond genetics, ethnicity and class - defined not on established cultural normalities in terms of morals - but in terms of following and doing what God (Jesus) teaches. He lives it out in the healing of the demon-possessed man, who is excluded, abandoned and forsaken by his own people - divided from all social contact and the power to make meaning through relationships.

I'm taking a class in which we discussed liberation theology this week, and Gustavo Gutierrez's use of the term "orthopaxis" meaning "correct behavior". We are called he'd say to live as Jesus did, fighting for the liberation and inclusion of the excluded and marginalized (in Bible talk the widow, orphan and foreigner sojourning among us). Today many evangelical protestant Christians say it "WWJD" yet it often seems more focused on how to act in a moral ambigiuous situation that how we treat each other, or act on behalf of others. Unfortunately all too often my actions do speak louder than my words.... I supsect it's maybe the same for you. How do we behave correctly, live out the teachings we are called to follow? It can't just be in theological reflection (which leads to abstraction or disconnection) and it can't just be in action (which leads to ego-driven militancy and towards hegemony of the not-active). It's got to be both reflection and action, in an endless cycle. James says faith without works is dead. And works without faithfull reflection is merely activism. Jesus is calling us to something wider, deeper and more inclusive.

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