We have all heard the term “mood swings” used to describe someone’s behavior at a certain time. As human beings we are all subject to such swings from feeling good about ourselves and the world in which we live or feeling not so good about ourselves and the world in which we live. Behaviorists will tell us that such swings are quite normal. However, they will also tell us that it is not a good thing to be stuck for a long period of time in one extreme of the spectrum of emotional or psychological behavior. Indeed, they would be quick to tell us that it is healthy to maintain a decent balance of feeling good and feeling not so good.
Actually, living in the extremes is not so good for much of anything including our religious perceptions and behaviors. I have always believed that for a healthy theological/faith perspective that there must be a necessary balance between conviction and action.
For instance, some, when it comes to their religious experience, are heavily invested in their personal experience of Jesus as Lord and Savior to the exclusion of being socially aware and concerned about and for persons who for any number of reasons must exist on the periphery of our society and culture. On the other hand, there are those who live out their faith so caught up in social action that they can be in danger of losing a sense of adoration for the one who calls us into the world in the first place. There are many groups that go around doing good. We go around doing good in the name of Jesus.
Our United Methodist doctrine, theological underpinnings remind us that a healthy religious life is one that holds “personal piety and social action” in balance, in tension. Yes, it is great to claim Jesus as Savior. Yes, it is great to be socially aware and involved. However, it is much better and fits more the life style of our savior to hold these two key elements of the Christian experience in balance and tension.
Worship without action is not good. Nor, is action without worship good. Especially if one seeks to follow Jesus “more fully.”
– Doug Fairbanks
Published on Friday, February 2, 2018 @ 10:12 AM EDT