1. What do I wish to be remembered for?
2. Is this really as good as it gets?
3. How was it that I could be so successful, so fortunate, and yet so frustratingly unfulfilled?
4. If your life was absolutely perfect, how would it look to you?
5. What is my passion?
6. How am I wired?
7. Where do I belong?
8. What will I do about what I believe?
9. Who am I?
10. What do I value?
11. What gifts has God given me? How can I use them?
12. What would I be willing to die for?
13. What injustices do I see in the world, that I simply cannot stomach anymore?
14. What is it about my job that makes me feel trapped?
15. When you are in bed at night staring at the ceiling, what questions are you asking yourself?
I totally stole the above questions from the Flower Dust blog. So check out her post if you want to understand what she is doing with them. As I read through this list I realized it would probably take me a whole year just to think about the questions let alone follow through with the answers I discovered. Yet, the following through part, is the point after all, is it not? I mean what good is it to contemplate such questions if the bottom line is not going to be action, (change)?
Now that question reminds me of the current discussion over at Parchment and Pen regarding the foundational importance of right belief. I would probably feel a little less cynical toward the post if Mr. Patton did not earn his living by pouring the “right beliefs” into hungry young (and not so young) minds. Still, please hear what I am saying and not what I am not saying. I do not believe Mr. Patton is wrong for encouraging people to know what they believe or understand doctrine. I do think his personal investment and bent might have some influence over his priorities with regard to “right belief“. Some people, like Mr. Patton, are wired in such a way that their faith and the walking out of it is strengthened by an intellectual assurance. I see nothing wrong with Mr. Patton’s wiring! My problem is with the assumption by some (and perhaps Mr. Patton is included in this group) that everyone “should” be wired the same way.
I have mentioned several times on this blog what it is like to live with people who think in pictures (Dyslexics). My exposure to what society labels as my children’s “disability” has allowed me to truly understand that God communicates His truths in multiple ways–it does not need to be verbal or linguistic. We do not always need to have the correct labels and terms to have knowledge or to act on the knowledge we have. Several blogs ago (when I wrote about prayer) I mentioned one of the verses God put on my heart about ten years ago. It is Philippians 3:16: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” The answer to question # 1 above is that I hope I am known as a person who walked out what I knew to be true but never knew so much that I was unwilling to learn something more.
I have gone round and round with different people in a whole variety of situations, including on blogs, about what beliefs are foundational to being a Christ follower and what are not. My personal list is very short. After–God created, man chose self, God loved, Christ came, lived, died, and rose (all to provide the way back to God), man still chooses, and God still loves–I can not find another item to put on my list.
My problem with the bottom line of Mr. Patton’s point of view is that I do not believe right belief (knowledge) automatically leads to right action or as he put it, “ if people believe correctly—and I mean truly believe—they will act correctly when the situation calls for it.” Having right knowledge does not guarantee right action. Case in point. I can have all the right knowledge about eating what is good for my body’s health and know to avoid too much sugar, too much fat, to much caffine, etc. Yet I still eat donuts and drink coffee on a fairly regular basis. When it comes to faith, for me, it is not what you know; it is who you know. And, knowing God, knowing Christ, knowing the Holy Spirit is a matter not of knowledge about but of relationship with–receiving and giving, being loved and loving, being heard and hearing, being challenged and responding. I can learn about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by studying and reading the scripture and by taking classes or listening to Biblically based teaching. But, I am not going to know God until I begin to relate to Him through His followers and the rest of His creation.