I stumbled across this half-finished post today. I think I started it about a year ago. So today I'll finish it.
Faithfully Dangerous. What's in a name? I guess I thought it was artsy and cool... My favorite band, Over the Rhine, on what is arguably their greatest album, Good Dog Bad Dog, has a great song called "Faithfully Dangerous." That's where I first heard the phrase.
And then I suppose I thought it made me sound kind of raw and authentic. Willing to say hard things. Willing to wrestle with real questions and be vulnerable to my friends and family... my ministry partners. I like the idea of being dangerous... What man doesn't want to be be thought of as dangerous? And faithful too... Faithful to his wife, faithful to his children, his friends, his colleagues... and above all, to his God. Faithfully dangerous. Nice.
Then it was all about the Journey, capital J. Readers of this blog are probably sick of reading about the Nightingales and their big leap of faith... But I discovered that to be faithful to the call of Jesus was dangerous! Your life could change. You might have to leave what was comfortable - friends, job, schools, life... and leap into the unknown. There were times it really did feel dangerous. Sometimes it still does.
Today. What does it mean today? I recently wrote about intellectual honesty and being willing to ask questions that we're "not allowed" to ask. I just started grad school, and we're wrestling through issues like the authority of scripture... Not whether it is authoritative, but how it's authoritative. Just last night I was so excited to read (in Craig Evans's Fabricating Jesus) that our faith is not dependent upon "mistake-free" scripture. I have seen too much of people twisting and turning scripture, trying desperately to "make it all work" together... explaining away the obvious contradictions, trying to prove things that really can't be proved. It's so refreshing to remember that the Apostles preached Christ crucified, risen and coming again. They didn't even HAVE the scriptures to try to defend! Our faith, our hope, our very lives are built on the reality of the risen Christ who is present among us and who is all about renewal, restoration, transformation and salvation! So... am I "allowed" to question and doubt the inerrancy of the scriptures? Maybe the better question to ask is, "Am I being formed and transformed by the Living God through the scriptures?" The answer to both questions is, thank God, yes.
And I suppose to some folks, these are "dangerous" thoughts and ideas. I get that. They used to be dangerous to me too. What I never want to do, though, is to have doubts and questions and just stuff them. I think every time I do that, a part of me dies. God is big enough to deal with my questions, my doubts, my fears. That's what I mean by intellectual honesty. How many wonderful Christian people out there have nagging doubts about their theology and doctrine, but they don't ever give voice to those doubts? They never wrestle with them, read about them, hear from the "other side" about them? What if our faith could grow deeper, richer, more faithful simply by being honest about who we are, what we believe, what we doubt and what we're learning?
My prayer, even as I wrestle with the "dangerous" issues, is that I would always be faithful to the God who gave me this mind and this curious personality. I believe we are even more faithful in our honesty than in our (deceitful?) "doctrinal correctness."
God, help us ALL to be faithfully dangerous. For Your glory...
And now, back to Over the Rhine. Lyrics after the video.
Faithfully Dangerous words and music: Linford Detweiler
Your paint dries, the canvas smiles, With two eyes you lift yourself up. Stroke your skin, there are teeth marks to be sure. Maybe we're best close to the ground. Maybe angels drag us down. I wonder which part of this will leave the scar.
Dip your hands in colours while the young night flutters in on you And finger paint me pictures of all you see. No matter what they say, you'll always be Faithfully dangerous, lost and lovely, so beautiful to me. I'm not too blind to see.
Red is blood. Black is sky. White's the dove that longs to fly. You set it free and it beats its wings in me. It leaves us at a loss for words. Is that me now in your arms? We cradle together and fall down on our knees.
Let the whole world drift downstream. We'll always be different. Swim the silent slipstream inside of me. No matter what they say, you'll always be Faithfully dangerous, lost and lovely, so beautiful to me. I'm not too blind to see.
Red is blood. Black is sky. White's the dove that longs to fly. You set it free and it beats its wings in me. It leaves us at a loss for words. Is that me now in your arms? The heart that beats is yours inside me.
Red is love. Black is night. I'm drunk with angels taking flight. The heart that beats is yours inside me. The heart that beats is yours inside me. The heart that beats is yours.