Here are the chapter titles/ideas for a book I’ll never have time to write.
The Life-Giving Magic of Tidying Up Your Christianity or Kondoing Your Faith.
1. Your faith is cluttered. Everyone’s is. You have picked up beliefs and behaviours without even noticing. Some of them are nonsense and once you notice them you’ll get rid of them. Until age 14 I believed that Bibles couldn’t burn because I read it in a Christian kid’s book. Then I watched someone roll a joint with a page of 1 John from his Gideon’s Bible.
2. If a belief or practice doesn’t spark joy (or love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness or self-control) it is time to say goodbye to it. If it’s of God it will bring those things. Their are the fruit of Holy Spirit after all.
3. Don’t be afraid of letting things go. You get to choose if your faith crumbles or not. You got to believe or not. Ultimately everyone believes what they want to. Plus, if you miss something that much, bring it right back again.
4. Everyone interprets the Bible via their experiences, who they know, what true been told, what their tribe believes. Everyone believes what works in their world whether they realise it or not. You’re just doing what everyone else does.
5. Ask the small questions first. Why do I lift my hands when we are singing? Why do I sing at all? Then make a decision on what you believe based on the answers.
6. Ask the big questions too? How much authority should the Bible have in my life? Why do I call it the Word of God? When did that idea start? Then make a decision on what you believe based on your answers.
7. Don’t be sorry for what you believe. That’s the thing with belief. We do or we don’t. Apologising won’t change anything. Everyone you know believes what they can. You’re just the same.
8. Prepare yourself for the panic. Sometimes when we ask these questions we can panic that things are moving too far. Set your own pace and choose how far you go and remember, if you are now discovering that you don’t believe men need to wear a suit on a Sunday and that women don’t have to wear a bonnet, guess what? You already believed that. You’re just being honest with yourself.
9. Other people can’t govern your beliefs. Toeing a line or going along with what everyone else thinks won’t change a thing. If you don’t believe it you don’t believe it. If you think Jonah is a parable and everyone else thinks it happened, pretending won’t change that fact. It will also do you no favours in the long run.
10. Celebrate what’s remaining once you’ve cleaned house. Saying goodbye to the added extras we’ve picked up along the way releases us to celebrate what we do believe. It lets us have a set of beliefs that we truly embrace because they are what we actually believed already. That is only going to spark joy.
11. Repeat the process regularly. My car fills up with crisp packets and coffee cups regularly. It’s sensible to keep clearing out the rubbish. Treat your faith like my car.
12. Fold your Christian T-shirt’s vertically so you can see what’s in the drawer.