But there is, in fact, a way to be both strong in faith, and inclusive in practice. We can have both wisdom and fire.

Gabe Lyons, in his book, “The Next Christians,” argues that Christians should approach faith as “restorers,” endeavoring to “infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love.”

This concept, which could be applied to any faith, is the answer to religious strife.

McLaren goes on, writing that “One can conceive of a high-demand religious movement devoted to justice, freedom, beauty, respect for others, and so on, which could effectively explain to [humankind] without fanaticism, absolutism, intolerance, or judgmental moralism. That is what – ideally – Christianity ought to be.”

Ideally, this is what faith should be. This is the attitude that can unlock the potential of religion, while simultaneously removing its harmful attributes.

In the end, we can steadfastly hold to the truths of our faith without mocking, condemning, or excluding others. That is, quite likely, the behavior that each of the major faith’s founders would have displayed.

Uncommon Belief

McLaren’s book concludes with a hopeful call to action, as he writes, “As the twenty-first century unfolds, the need for this ideal-but-as-yet-uncommon Christianity becomes more acute. That’s where people like you and me come in. It remains for us to explore and embody the possibility…the possibility of a Christian faith that combines certain key elements of conservative ‘new-line’ Christianity (strength, commitment, intensity of meaning) with other elements of liberal ‘old-line’ Christianity (ecumenicism, reasonableness, a peaceable attitude).”

This kind of faith may never be the most popular, but it is just the lifeline we need if we are to maintain both the purpose-giving beauty of faith, and the love for our fellow man that rests in every human heart.

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