To Mean It

From Miroslav Volf’s A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good: “…maybe the most difficult challenge for Christians is to actually believe that God is fundamental to human flourishing. Now, it is not sufficient for us to believe it as we might believe that there may be water on some distant planet. We must believe it as a rock-bottom conviction that shapes the way we think, preach, write, and live. Charles Taylor tells the story of hearing Mother Theresa speak about her motivation for working with the abandoned and the dying of Calcutta. She explained that she did the hard work of tending them because they were created in the image of God. Being a Catholic philosopher, Taylor thought to himself, “I could have said that too!” And then, being an introspective person and a fine philosopher, he asked himself, “But could I have meant it?”

That, I think, is today’s most fundamental challenge for theologians, priests and ministers, and Christian laypeople: to really mean that the presence and activity of the God of love, who can make us love our neighbors as ourselves, is our hope and the hope of the world—that this God is the secret of our flourishing as persons, cultures, and interdependent inhabitants of a single globe.”

Roger

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