Opinion: Priority of action over belief

The work of Robin Meyers is the central focus at tonight’s seminar at Redcliffe Q.

With the current lectionary readings now focused on the Sermon on the Mount, we are reminded of Jesus call to action rather than to belief.

This quote is from his book: Saving God from Religion: A Minister’s Search for Faith in a Skeptical Age.


5 thoughts on “Opinion: Priority of action over belief

  1. Yuri Koszarycz

    An Interesting Meme – but it should not be taken out of context. The Beatitudes were not given either in the temple in Jerusalem nor to the religious leaders of the time. Rather they were proclaimed to the anawim (the dispossessed) in the open fields and the hills of God’s creation. The countercultural message preached was that to these despised, the reality of the Kingdom of God was given. A Jewish Story:

    The old Rabbi said, “In olden days there were men who saw the face of God.”
    “Why don’t they any more?” a young student asked.
    “Because, nowadays no one stoops so low,” he replied.

    Who wants to be a lowly person? Who wants to be stooped down? Most of us spend a good part of our lives trying to pull ourselves up. We want to walk tall in society. But, according to this rabbi, it is the lowly – those stooped low – who see the face of God. According to Jesus in the Beatitudes, it is the lowly – those stooped low – who are blessed by God. This runs counter to the normal uses of that word for blessed, makarios (????????). And it was to these “lowest of the low” that the faith and message of God’s love was proclaimed by Jesus. It was a faith restored, in proper heavenly context, rather than a “radical call to action” – so often misinterpreted by radical (progressive???) theologians!

  2. Michael Furtado

    Yuri, lovely to read your Jewish parable and also, in context, of your presumed flourishing. Your message is clear but also a bit of a worry. Do ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ mean the same thing, I wonder. I’m thinking here of the ‘radical right’ and ‘radical left’, two elderly terminologies that are ‘radically’ critiqued these days for their imprecision. (The former used to define fascists and the latter communists, both of whom shared a disdain for free speech and parliamentary democracy. More recently ‘radical right’ has come to depict the neo-cons and facists are depicted as radicals of the ‘extreme centre’). As Brendan MacCarthaig (Mac) says in his related post, progressive faith is about the experience of love: a love that Paul to Ephesus calls ‘a love that surpasses all understanding’. If this is a radical message then so be it, but its progressivism lies in the fact that it overturns many of the purposes to which Paul’s advice had historically been put. (Just my ‘tuppence ha’pen’orth’, Yuri. Love to Terry & Tracey when you see them).

  3. Tim O’Dwyer

    Great to see such a concise and commendable post, Paul.

    Interestingly, the lectionary readings (in my church) last Sunday (Isaiah 58: 1-12 and Matthew 5: 13-20) spoke to me about our active concern for others.

  4. Lorraine Parkinson

    Thanks Yuri, Michael and Tim. Great to have this kind of conversation. Yes, Jesus was apparently talking to the ordinary people he met in the villages and countryside. They were the anavim, although that word can also mean the humble – in mind or spirit. Did Jesus mean that they are lifted up in a renewal of their faith? Well yes, but in every part of his teaching the guiding principle is love. Love in the abstract is not love. Quite simply, love is as love does. Jesus is not called ‘the man for others’ for nothing.

  5. Tim O’Dwyer

    Thanks, Lorraine, for reminding us of “the man for others”.
    John Robinson in his HONEST TO GOD was apparently “fascinated” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s new assessment of Jesus as ‘the man for others’, rather than as a divine figure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *