Does anyone remember infomercials in the 80’s? Dave Del Dotto comes to mind. Dave knew you wanted to be rich. To work, you had to find Dave trustworthy, credible, and charismatic so that you would act. Once you did, purportedly you’d listen to him, follow his advice, and hear his promise of success in being rich in doing what he’d done.
It seems to me that Christians miss something in all of that.
Does being rich depend on Dave? How do you know you can trust Dave? Because of his charisma, the tales of his exploits, his je nes sais quoi? Or, do you find out, interested in that way of being, by doing what he says and seeing if it bears fruit?
It seems Christians are entirely committed to legendary elements of scripture, not possibly anything but literal rather than literary. It seems whomever Jesus was has bearing on your immortal soul rather than things said, intended merely to get you to listen and act. It seems that what’s been made central to Christianity has nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus the Nazarene.
It seems to me too, that whether or not Del Dotto is a charlatan and his credibility card pulled by the FTC, or whether or not theologians, or atheists for that matter, cast a long, long shadow on the nature of the man from Galilee, a Del Dottoan or a Christian is one who has done, in faith, and has found fruit in having acted, having no reason for faith any longer, save from its meanings of trust and confidence.
Too, a reminder needs to be made, for in being any way in the world — rich with money, with love, with friendships and so on — none of it is denotable by merely attaining the object of the pursuit. In any case, it is how we’ve spent ourselves in attaining rather than having something to spend that we’ve attained.
A lover will always find love, and business-minded person, business, a friend will always find a friend. Del Dotto and Christ, or Ziglar and Cicero or anyone else inviting you to a way of being in the world can only be asking you to understand his own mind, and where your faith must and can only be is in hearing that by doing, one comes to understand what they are like and how in the doing, one transforms their mind and is then as they are.
Just a thought.