The Real Stumbling Block — Living the Faith (Chapter 16)
Some will complain that I have discarded the difficult aspects of Christianity, to make it easy and acceptable to modern society. Not so.
What I have tried to do is to remove the lesser stumbling blocks — ancient explanations that no longer make sense to people — so that they can confront the real stumbling block: living the faith. This will never seem reasonable or easy to most people.
In this chapter I also explore some themes of the Christian life: acceptance; right relationship (with God, self, and others); and the balance of perspective and passion that Christian faith can give us.
Possessions and the Use of Money (Chapter 17)
For many of us, this is where we make the decisions that determine how serious we are about living as Christians. What constitutes the faithful use of money?
I explore and contrast what I call the “radical approach” and the “uncomfortable middle.” Most of us will not choose to live in monasteries or communes — so what does it mean to live faithfully as part of the middle class in the most affluent society in history? It must be a constant struggle, but it is a real possibility — and one that can accomplish a lot of good in this world if we meet this challenge successfully.
The Economic System (Chapter 18)
Capitalism works (as an economic system, not as a system of values), and most of us benefit greatly from it. But because we benefit so much, we must be sure to assist those who do not. And we must beware its all-too-strong temptations, including materialism and an irresponsible pseudo-individualism
A New Spirituality and the Whole of Life (Chapter 19)
If our faith is alive, our spirituality must encompass the whole of life. I address briefly the sacred, worship, prayer, work, the church, and where we go from here.
There are also two semi-scholarly appendices:
Appendix A concerns the canon, the Christ, and the historical Jesus, and concludes that we must interpret and evaluate all of scripture through the prism of Jesus of Nazareth.
Appendix B addresses a couple of minimalist positions on the resurrection, and concludes that “something happened.”