After you believe
I hope many of you are enjoying reading N.T. Wright’s book, After You Believe. This is the second year we’ve invited the whole congregation to join together in reading the same book during Lent. It’s been a rich experience.
Restoration member Ardeth Hines has been eagerly working her way through the book. Here she offers her reflections on what she’s been reading and learning:
Bishop N.T. Wright promises to explain what a kingdom-focused life might look like. He explains the shift in understanding of our world with the Jesus’s entry into and encourages us to grow into citizens of His kingdom.
Wright opens with a clarification of how our world is in conflict with God’s plan– explaining three major philosophies that undergird contemporary thinking without our even being very conscious of it– and captured my attention. So I have been considering where my actions reflect romanticism, which teaches that my unfettered intuition is my authentic self, to be nurtured and allowed free reign. Or it might be existentialism, which urges me to make instant decisions in difficult situations without reference to anything other than my first impulse. The third Wright refers to is emotivism which insists ‘that all moral discourse be reduced. . .to statements of likes and dislikes’, which of course is totally relativist and renders all choices equal. These three world views all combine, bubbling together, and can all too easily enable me to live an ethically slipshod life, without plan or structure. Challenging, surely.
I am reading eagerly ahead, to find out how to live a Christian life in the midst of all these choices without slipping into legalism.
What does Wright have you thinking about? Share your insights and questions in the comments!
PS: Wonder what Wright sounds like? Want to get a sense for the way he reasons and talks? Check him out on YouTube talking about the book!
March 8, 2013 @ 12:46 pm
I really enjoyed listening to his podcast – it helped me to get to grips with the book, being able to hear his voice in my head.
And then, what I have liked most are his stories – and the reminder that in order to make good, big choices we need to be so intentional about all the small, nitty-gritty ones.
I also loved his comment that out of all the virtues self-control is the only one you really can’t fake!
March 9, 2013 @ 8:15 am
I have found the discussion on character-forming both challenging and enabling. And very realistic. NT suggests Christian character is no more formed instantly, on conversion, than I could speak Russian fluently simply by going to Moscow. I need to work at it intentionally.
He talks about the ancient Greeks striving to be ‘virtuous’. But unlike the ancient Greeks who just had to grit their teeth and try (and fail), I have God’s Spirit in me (Jeremiah 31) so that I can run the race.