Love, Believe, Live
by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
When communities of Jesus-followers commit to living good faith, the results can be summed up like this: Christians are a counterculture for the common good. Being countercultural, in this definition, is not only about addressing age-old issues from a gospel-centered perspective. It’s not about raising our voices to drown out dissenters or making laws to make everyone behave nicely. It’s not about plastering Jesus’s name across billboards and T-shirts or creating a “Christian” alternative to every secular product or service. While some well-intentioned believers take these approaches, by “countercultural” we mean something different.
Being countercultural means bringing good faith—a vision for what is orderly and right, abundant and generous, beautiful and nourishing with life and relationships—to the broader culture. This vision is not just an individual pursuit; it is best expressed in communities of faith where believers love and care for one another well and then invite others in to experience the same grace.
This is the fruit of living good faith.
Jesus offers us a vivid picture of being countercultural in his parable of the good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:30–37. (He didn’t give the story its title, by the way.) After two thousand years of Christians reading, preaching, and telling this story to children, it has morphed from a countercultural shock wave into a nice morality tale about being kind to others. But the day he told it, in response to the question “Who is my neighbor?” it was nothing less than a category-redefining mind shift for his listeners.
Minds were blown.
Jesus’s response to the question was a far-fetched tale of two men divided by race, religion, and politics brought together when one of them came with the biblical idea of good to the side of the road where the other lay dying. He got off his donkey and started restoring the broken, bent, and disordered man in the ditch. Which is all very wonderful and life affirming and made-for-TV-movie . . . except the good man is not us.
The one who brings orderly, right, abundant, generous, beautiful, and nourishing goodness to a broken man is the person we would least expect. To a Christian audience of today, Jesus might have said the good Samaritan is a bisexual, atheist, burlesque dancer with one of those Darwin-amphibians-eating-a-Jesus-fish bumper stickers.
And the broken man is us.
It’s really not a very nice story. Before we can run around doing good, we must acknowledge our need to be healed and restored. That kind of humility is at the heart of good faith. Loving well, believing rightly, and living out our love and belief start here. If we can get that right, we’re ready to tackle the tricky, treacherous issues that threaten to derail good conversations when people of faith live at the intersection of good love and right belief.
Excerpted from David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Good Faith, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2016. Used by permission.
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