Years ago, before God called me to become a minister, I used to practice law. I spent most of my years as a lawyer doing environmental litigation, which means in part that I saw the world through the lens of the Federal Rules of Evidence. According to those rules, when someone files a lawsuit, depending upon the facts alleged, the opposing party may file a motion with the court which is called a 12(b) (6) motion. Basically the motion argues, “Everything you say in your complaint is true. So what? You have grounds upon which to seek money damages from me.”
Although I haven’t practiced law for eighteen years, and have now forgotten many of the Federal Rules of Evidence, this one rule has stayed with me even though I now see the world through the lens of the Gospel and Christ’s rule of love. Call it the “So what?” test. At some point, I believe, a person’s faith life should have to pass the 12(b) (6) test: even if everything you say you believe is true, what difference does that belief and/or that truth make to you and the world? It’s not just that I believe very strongly that we must “walk the talk” if we want to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. I also believe that we cannot be effective advocates of the Gospel unless or until we can articulate why the teachings of a man who lived almost two thousand years ago are still relevant to how we live our lives today. As Christians we can memorize and recite a whole list of doctrines as an act of faith. But if we can’t answer the “So what?” test when someone comes to us overwhelmed by grief, or a crisis in our world makes us wonder about whether to hope for the future, or when someone who is seeking spiritual direction bombards us with questions, what good are those doctrines? If our faith does not make any difference in our lives or the lives of others what’s the point?
So my goal (or hope) in launching this new blog is to offer some of my own answers to the “so what?” moments of life, and perhaps in so doing, create a forum which addresses how seeing through the lens of the Gospel makes a difference to how we live and respond to events in the world. Sometimes I will write about what’s going on in the news. Other times I plan to write about the challenges of 21st Century discipleship. At all times, my words will reflect my views and experiences alone—not the views of everyone in my congregation, or perhaps everyone in the Presbyterian Church (USA). I welcome constructive comments and dialogue from all who are interested in discussing the joys and challenges of being a 21st Century Christian.