Listenings: The Sacred “And”

I would like to know who first tried to divide the Gospel into “personal” and “social.”  It is one of the worst things ever done to the Christian faith.  Salvation means “wholeness,” and any division of the Gospel into parts is foreign to the idea of true spirituality.

The spiritual life thrives when the word “and” is included.  It doesn’t work for any pairing we can think of, but it works for many, if not most.  When we can connect one aspect of faith with another, we end up with something stronger than if we kept the two ideas separated.  Here are a few examples….

Faith—and—Works,  Worship—and—Service, Working—and—Resting,  Grace—and—Accountability,  Mercy—and—Justice, Catholics—and—Protestants, Large Churches—and—Small Churches, Clergy—and Laity, Fasting—and—Feasting, Men—and—Women, Body—and—Soul.

Physically, we must have inhaling—and—exhaling.  So, God puts the emphasis upon “breathing,” not on either of the actions which create it.  In the same way, holiness is a matter of “heart” (inward) and “life” (outward) and we destroy the term when we chop it into pieces.  Most things suffer when they are cut in two.

We must have the sacred “and” in our spiritual life.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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