I have a co-worker who loves theology. Like, he really loves theology. He uses words like systematic theology and transubstantiation. Typically when he goes off on a tangent about the perfect gospel and how "we need to totally trust in the full work of the cross alone"I smile and nod and say "uh-huh" But truth be told I get lost.
I'm more interested in having a relationship with God than understanding how it all works. I embrace the beautiful mystery of this Christ life inside of my chest. I love the poetry of peering through a glass darkly.
But these definitions and expressions help my friend to love and depend on God in a way that's real to him, so I love that, but it leads to interesting conversations.
Two of my favorite books written in the past ten years are Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller and Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. When discussing them with my friend He immediately made a face of disgust telling me "I don't care for those books because they reduce the Gospel to what you do."
This is something that has gone wrong with modern spirituality. We have divorced faith and what we do and when we dare to combine them we are accused of "reducing the gospel" or "trying to earn salvation." This is ridiculous.
I have a bigger problem when people reduce our vast and multifaceted faith into things we DON'T do. When the question "what is a Christian?" is answered with "someone who doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't sleep around, doesn't this, doesn't that."
We can't be defined by the negatives. That leaves a person empty and, to put it frankly, bored. Bored and boring.
So the question comes: what do we do when we are given this amazing and undeserved grace? How are we supposed to respond when we are accepted by the divine, called sons and daughters of the living God?
We ARE called to DO something. We are called to bring Heaven to earth. To grab hold of paradise and pull it here. What does Heaven look like? It's a place with no lack. None hungry. No one on the outside looking in. Everyone is accepted, welcomed, loved, family. God is worshipped.
That is what we are supposed to do. Work to make this side of Heaven look like the other. We are not saved by what we do. But it is how we respond.
I honestly believe that God loves to co-labor with His people. He loves to use our passion and imagination even though He does all the heavy lifting. What can you do with God today? Right now? I bet it's good!