Stuart Newton

Practical Christianity

Practical Christianity

 I've been a member of the church, most of my life; but very much a 'back bencher'.  Still, I wanted to say something about our faith... hoping this will also be helpful to others --

 We all know the ten commandments from Moses and two new ones from Jesus – no one seems to dispute these, object to them, far as I know.  And I go to church each Sunday to recite the prayers, the responses and listen to the sermon – just like everyone else.  I believe we all agree; in that place, at that time, what Christian living should be, ought to be – the service goes so smoothly as we sing and pray together in one voice.

But how do we take these things into everyday activity – when we leave our church and go home, then out to work on Monday again?!  How do we connect what we experience on Sunday, with our daily lives between Sundays!?

A few minutes after church, in a busy city, someone is pushing into me, or a vehicle sounds its horn at us; I am immediately tempted to get angry and give a tough/rough account of myself.  There is noise and confusion, distraction, all around us all the time.  The demands of daily life press upon us very soon, after we leave behind the peaceful enclave of a church community.

So, what is the answer to this question – what can we do to bridge the apparent gap, between worship and belief, against everyday living!?  I believe most Christians want to find solutions, or they might give up on church eventually, as an impossible ideal.  We all need some success in this area, if we are to continue to be interested.

For myself – I attempt a simple life-style, lots of quiet reflective time, a few charities to follow, real friendships to enjoy and a healthy discipline of activities.  We can foster an out-going interest in life by joining clubs, groups and so on.  We can also work at something worthwhile – because, ‘to work is to pray’ (I once heard) – and try to love our neighbours as ourselves (like Christ said); which is really more difficult.  Basically, I feel we cannot fight with temptation, because we are weak; most likely far better if we just try to avoid temptation.

It appears to me the church has often been used as a weekly cleanser/redemption... and our regular habits of anger/despair/greed and so on, are all forgiven on the following Sunday.  But if we are to make Sunday a teaching session, a change of heart, rather than simply an insurance payment, then we must bring our lessons (our new self) into the week’s activities, somehow...

Faith is good too, because we can never know everything.  We cannot hope to fully understand our world and how it works, or how Christianity plays within all of this -- before deciding upon our beliefs.  ‘Doubting Thomas’ wanted to put his fingers in Christ’s wound and my friend wants to know all the answers about wars and suffering, before he can consider if there is God!  But we are only children of the world and must put our trust with those that love us.

Christianity is not a philosophy, political view, or holistic theory of the universe.  It is very much personal and revealed to us through experience and teaching; a journey of love and faith, steadfast in hope, towards joy and happiness, forgiveness and homecoming.