I've been talking with a friend, Cheryl, online about how we choose our beliefs. It's really becoming an overarching theme for me: there are literally thousands of Christian sects and denominations in the world. There are countless positions on the conservative-liberal spectrum. There are dozens of legitimate theological traditions and approaches, all with impressive scholarly work behind them.
Ultimately, which do you choose? Few Christians study all of the options available (probably a lifetime of reading, in itself). Few experiment with more than a couple of denominations - few very disparate (American Baptist or Southern Baptist? Foursquare or Assemblies of God?) much less culturally unique.
99% of the time our church or denominational affiliation (and therefore our personal theology) comes down to one of these two identifiers:
( A ) I was raised in this denomination (or a similar one)
( B ) I like the people/pastor/worship style/vibe here
And yet so many Christians are willing to wage war over the rightness of their theology, when theology typically has NOTHING to do with why an American Christian chooses a church.
You can tell me: "for the Bible tells me so" but let's be real. You probably came from (A) or (B).
So I'd like to talk about theological choice: why do you believe what you believe? And if we can come back to those reasons for attending a church: why can't you choose to believe something different if it sounds better? The typical comeback is, "that's buffet-style Christianity, and I won't pick and choose..." but - again- we've already established the random way in which theology is chosen (as an after-the-fact of what church is chosen).
Really want to hang your hat on that?
How about your lifestyle?
The salvation of the cosmos?
You made a choice about your theology. So did I. All I want is for us to think a little bit about the reasons for our choices, and if the stakes are worth the outcome of our choices... and if they're not, I want us to be brave enough to change our minds.