To “apply scripture” to life implies that there is in an I to do the application apart from the story of scripture that wrote the I. The story we tell ourselves is too much a part of us to think a rational process of application is a coherent or even possible goal.
Emotion is the filter through which we experience the world. Sometimes that filter sharpens, like the lens of a microscope. Other times it obscures, like looking in a tarnished mirror. Emotions are not hindrances to logical and objective assessments of the world; emotions are the raw materials upon which logic operates to construct a portrait of the world around.
Faith is the cognitive rut that determines the emotional filter through which we experience the world at a particular moment in time. Words are the means by which we attempt to convey the shape of our faith. Truth and falsity do not reside in words, but in the correspondence between our emotional experience and the relationship that God is and for which God created us.
It is currently meaningless to talk about Jesus forgiving sin.
It’s not that Jesus does not forgive sin or even that sin and forgiveness are not essential to faith and life. Sin and forgiveness are meaningless because we have so lost any conception of the kind of love and community for which God created us that we can no longer understand what an action or intent would be such that it could break community and thereby be definable as sin and then capable of being forgiven. Love and community come first. It is meaningless to speak of brokenness prior to experiencing that which is broken.
A body is not made up of parts. The body is the precondition necessary for a part to be what it is.
Likewise, a church is not made up of Christians. The church is the precondition necessary for a person to take part in God’s mission to love and change the world.
One can only be a Christian without taking part in church to the extent that a hand is only a hand in relation to the body from which it may be severed. The purpose, meaning, and nature of the individual has no coherence or consistency without first knowing the story in which that individual is living.
People are not the problem – people are the point.
If there is one fundamental, global change to which I hope to contribute over the course of my lifetime, it would be moving the needle on our assumptions and incentives to see the world through this lens.
Defining a term is only possible to the extent that it locates that term within a tradition of argument over the course of time. To define something per se would be to assume that there is an individual or a rationality that could exist without its located-ness within lived relationships. That we are community before we are individuals has to change the way we think about meaning and understanding because neither can exist without the life in which meaning and understanding are born and lived out.