What I Believe

Checklist

I get emails questioning my orthodoxy all the time. For example, about a year ago, I was asked if I denied the resurrection of Jesus, and I replied. I have learned, however, that answering critiques does nothing to calm them down. Witness, for example, the comments on that post. 

Lately, the emails have started back. Do I believe this, or that or the other thing. Virgin birth, historical resurrection, Genesis 1, the book of Job.

Sigh.

So, let’s try this again. . Here is what I believe… today.  

I believe:

  • That action is to belief as 19 is to 1.
  • That faith without deeds is not faith at all, but superstition.
  • That people are worth fighting for.
  • That the problems of the world are, at their core, relationship problems. 
  • That when people ask “What can we do to end homelessness,” what they really mean is “What can we do to end homelessness and not change anything about us.”
  • That you can replace the word homelessness in the previous sentence with almost anything and the statement will still be true.
  • That when you ask for help and people say “I will pray about that”, you had better start looking for Plan B.
  • That it is not we who wait on God to act, but it is God who waits on us.
  • That no one is going to care about your dream as much as you do. This does not prevent them from having opinions as to how you are doing it wrong, however.
  • That folks who ignore you in your struggles will flock to you when you are successful. And then they will be hurt when you question their sincerity.
  • That to follow the Jesus path will look like failure to the world that watches you.
  • That, when measured in terms of impact on the world around them, the average church is indistinguishable from the average book club.
  • That a lot of church people will be pissed off at that last statement.
  • That some of them will be pissed off that I said “pissed off”, and wish I would just talk about hell or something.
  • That people who love that I fight for the rights of homeless people but wish I would shut up about the rights of women or the LGBT community do not understand either me or my work.
  • That atheists contribute more financially to my work than do Evangelicals. (Actually, this is a fact.)
  • That to ask whether evangelism or social justice is more important is the same as asking whether it is more important to send doctors to medical school or to heal people.
  • That when there are two people groups, and one people group has more of something – power, money, privilege, resources, etc. – the onus for changing that discrepancy lies on the group with more, and to do less than that is less than Christian.
  • That Jeremiah probably did not get invited to a lot of parties, either.
  • That most Christians are indistinguishable from the culture around them.
  • That I take anti-abortion people much more seriously when they have adopted a couple of kids.
  • That the best critique of the bad is the performance of the good. As a result of this, I believe that if you want to know what I believe, you probably ought to just watch what I do.

What do you believe?

14 thoughts on “What I Believe

  1. Cherie

    Great post! Love your emphasis on action and not just belief. Personally, I would amend the part about the anti-abortion people to mention that perhaps they should actually support the mothers who choose to keep their babies – after the birth, not just during the pregnancy – both spiritually and financially, and not see them as a source for adoptable babies.

    Reply
  2. Bill Colburn

    Hugh – well said. Love your work and your grasp of the gospel. You have measurably influenced the way I live out my faith and work. Curiously, I first came in contact with you when an elderly woman from Arizona sent a copy of your book, The Tangible Kingdom, to her elderly friend in my church. She said she thought it describes what we were doing. Our ‘core’ group met every Monday evening for weeks discussing your book. In the end they decided, to my utter amazement, ‘not’ continue as we were and to return to a ‘church-as-usual’ model. I resigned and began what we now call Xaris. Thanks for ‘freeing’ me.

    Reply
    1. Hugh Post author

      Bill -

      Thanks, but I think you have me confused with Hugh Halter, who wrote Tangible Kingdom (which is an incredible book, by the way!)

      Reply
  3. Elsa

    Hugh, this is a wonderful creed! So many great points.
    I do agree with Cherie, that anti-abortion people can be taken seriously only after they support the mothers of the babies, in all ways. That these young (or not so young)moms not be seen as a source for adoptable babies is a really powerful statement – well put.
    I also appreciate the term ‘anti-abortion’, rather than ‘pro-life”.

    Reply
    1. Hugh Post author

      Thanks, Elsa. Just a note to say I am not endorsing anti-abortion adoption per-se, merely that I take them more seriously because their actions match their worldview.

      Reply
  4. Gwen

    Very powerful. If an agnostic may say so, “Amen!”
    Now I’ll go look for the donate button, to help keep your facts straight. ;)
    Thank you.
    -Gwen

    Reply
  5. Daniel Estes

    So as a Chrisitan who has recently come out (not as a Christian, but as someone who is Gay), I have also struggled with my faith recently. Fortunately, I have found help from a few wise Christians who have taught me that Christianity is not about bigotry, or a set of rules, or exclusion, but about a Loving God, and my responsibility to share that Love. And now I can add another person to my list of wise Christians. Thanks you. And thank you for your ministry.

    Reply
  6. Steve

    Yep … and I believe it is quite disturbing to one’s sense of “scrubbed-up Amercanistic salvation” to hang around prohets. Damn the critique of poor neighbors and that pesky Jesus!

    Reply

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