Why are we always defining our faith by making lists?

The other day I was reading a blog by a hip and trendy minister. She said many things that were valid and I agreed with much of her critique of church culture.
But I found it unfortunate that most of the article was a criticism of the church life she had grown up in. In the end, she simply took the things that were important to the last generation and replaced them with a new list of things she thought should be more important in this generation. She seemed to be swapping one list for another.
While I understand that we all have lists of things we should and shouldn’t do, and I know those lists change with each generation, I find myself increasingly interested in moving beyond lists. I don’t want to simply change lists from generation to generation. I don’t want to believe that just because we emphasize a different list than the previous generation we are somehow more “spiritual” than they were.
All lists seem to fail at some point. We are always leaving something out. And we are often overemphasizing the things we put at the top.
And, in the end, lists are not all that compelling or inspiring.
The most compelling vision of the faith I know is not listing the things that I am for and against. It just isn’t. Instead, the most compelling vision of the faith is the promise of real change from the inside out. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
The gospel is designed to change people. It is designed to change how we think, what we want, how we feel, and what we decide.
What is your vision of faith? Is it a list of things to do and not do, or is it real change of your whole life that leads you to live differently?


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