How can we live the Word if we can’t or don’t live with the Word? My question comes from a place of “organic theologizing” I learned from a theology professor. She taught me to value the organic expressions of faith and hope—expressions of the Word living with us. In contrast, conventional expressions of faith can be sapped of their ability to inspire us because they, like the conventional apple in the grocery store, may look like what we have come to believe faith (or an apple) is supposed to be, only to discover that we are not nourished and we long for something more authentic.
This perspective on linking scripture, tradition, experience, and reason has led me back to some core values I’ve found embodied, interestingly enough, in a cookbook titled Living More With Less, by Doris Janzen Longacre: “Do justice. Learn from the world community. Cherish the natural order. Nurture people. Nonconform freely.” I have set this expression of Christian faith at the front of my work as a teacher, theologian, and practitioner of Christianity. In this day and age, I find the value of nonconformity to be critical for thinking globally, acting locally, and living to the rhythms of God’s time.
As Christians, may we act justly, learn, cherish, nurture, and nonconform freely this Advent season.
Malinda Elizabeth Berry is a dissertation fellow at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.
Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36
Cycle C of the Revised Common Lectionary is the year of Luke’s gospel. Full of wonderful pastoral images of Jesus’ nativity, not to mention the reunion of Mary and Elizabeth, Luke is a Christmas favorite.