Right beliefs demand Right Practices
Down through the ages, Jesus followers have frequently perverted the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ by reducing the faith to a set of rules. Whether simple or complex, a set of rules is a means of bypassing relationship, with the result that there is nothing left but empty form.
At times the church, recognizing this, has sought to recover the primacy of relationship and the result has been a focus on liberty in Christ. But sadly, this liberty, this authenticity, also has a tendency to disintegrate: it tends to become nothing more than a thin veil of words, hiding a heart that is unsurrendered to Christ's reign.
Neither of these caracatures can have the effect of helping us be salt and light. What is needed is a primacy of relationship the naturally finds expression in certain practices and habits of the heart. Evangelical Christians, having driven stakes of error deep into the ground of both the libertarian and legalist camps, is in need of both a perspective shift, and a culture conducive to developing the needed habits.
This is where the development of a rule, whether that of Benedict, or Richard Foster, Aidan, can prove very helpful. I have entered into a loose fellowship with various followers of the Aidan way, because I find that the Celtic streams of Christian expression are more holistic in their view of salvation, and have a greater emphasis on our role in creation stewards, than their Roman Catholic counterparts.
Over the next little while, I'll be offering entries on each of 10 practices that constitute the Aidan Way, with thoughts on how these practices are working in my own life, and what they might mean if they were practiced together in a community. I encourage you to consider your own life and the question of whether your faith is primarily a set of beliefs embraced, or if those beliefs are bolstered by a life changing set of habits that grow out of intimacy with Christ.