Are you a Christian? According to the author of this engaging work, the answer depends as much on who is asking as on the answer that is given. That is because there are different ways of understanding what it means to be a Christian today and not all of them conform to the traditional definitions one may have grown up with. Reared in a conservative, Bible-centered culture, Gall retraces his own spiritual journey from biblical literalism through religious humanism to progressive ecumenism, and then offers his own perspective on living a Christian life in a post-modern world. Insisting that the heart will not worship what the mind cannot embrace, he argues against the dogmatic certitude of many individual believers and some Christian churches and advocates for a more open, experiential, and relational understanding of Christianity that embraces a theology of inclusiveness and grace. Beginning with a description of different understandings of God, the Bible, and Jesus, Gall goes on to offer his perspective on a number of subjects he believes are integral to the living of a Christian life. Woven throughout each of these brief chapters is evidence of Gall's conviction that what we believe shapes how we behave and ultimately who we become. Believing is important, he argues, but it is not the end-all of what it means to be a Christian. Rather, it is the first step on the path toward becoming a Christian--the evidence for which is found in our behavior and the kind of values we ultimately espouse. Just as wrong thinking will not lead to right behavior, he argues, so beliefs that do not lead to acts of love and service on behalf of others become impediments rather than incentives for Christian living. Living a life consistent with Jesus' teachings and following his personal example is of greatest importance, says Gall--the best description of which is Jesus' summary of the Law and the Prophets: "The first commandment is this: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your
Believing, Behaving, Becoming by Donald A Gall was published by Outskirts Press in July 2013. The ISBN for Believing, Behaving, Becoming is 9781478705802.