Deeds Not Creeds

“Without the proof of deeds, good intentions and right opinions are nothing more than empty shells.”–Forrest Church, “A Chosen Faith”

I see it all around me. I see it in myself. The painstaking effort put into thinking about everything…to the point of paralysis. Of course I’m not saying that careful thought is bad. Every story, every legislative move, every human action has multiple facets. But I also believe the labor of investigating each and every side to a story can easily become a way to procrastinate action. There is a constant inner dialog that negates the desire to act.

In “A Chosen Faith,” Forrest Church honors Unitarians and Universalists past who have favored orthopraxy over orthodoxy: Henry Whitney Bellows, the founder of the American Sanitary Commission (which later became the Red Cross); Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross; Theodore Parker, fearless abolitionist. Church also points out the danger of staying in that comfortable zone of moral tongue-clucking and wringing of hands–of knowing you are figuratively standing on the right side without taking any actual steps to get there. Another quote:

“. . . we are left with two choices. One is to climb off our moral high horse; the other is to learn how to ride. Both are preferable to high-minded posturing and sophisticated resignation, but only the latter represents the promise and fulfillment of our faith.”

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One Response to Deeds Not Creeds

  1. cassidy says:

    Yes!!!! The dichotomy between orthodoxy & orthopraxy has driven my search at least since a pastor told me, in 7th grade, that my mother was destined to burn in hell unless I could “save” her. For those who don’t know my mother, in brief: she has worked as a chaplain; fed countless Hoosiers through nearly 30 years as director of the Food Bank in Anderson & then Muncie; worked and began raising a family at a children’s home for troubled youth; served in the peace corp inTurkey . . . And that is but a brief sampling. So I began to think, my mother, who lives a life congruent with the teachings of Jesus and other enlightened prophets (actions out of love) will BURN ETERNALLY because she does not THINK the “right way”!?! Based on this conversation w/a pastor at church camp, I began to pull away from the church over the next few years. I came to the powerful realization that if this, indeed, was the “Truth”, then that’s not a god I want any part of and will continue to try to do good deeds in this lifetime and willingly accept my spot alongside my mother to burn eternally for my thoughts . .

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