A Thesis In Action

April 10, 2012

Sometimes you’re at school so long that people know to come search for you at a certain table by the fireplace. “Oh, that’s Denise’s spot,” they say. “She is pathetic and always in that spot. Whining and typing and feeling sorry for herself because she’s in school. If you want to feel better about yourself, go visit Denise’s spot. She might share some of her Skittles with you.”

Sometimes that happens.

Also, I forgot to take any pictures yesterday. I’m so bad at this photo challenge, you guys. Oh, wait. I just looked it up. I was supposed to put up a picture of a “younger me.” Luckily Facebook and scanners and Auntie Faye exist. Tada!

I liked short skirts.

My mom and I had a motto: “Bangs. The taller, the better.”

Here is my post for Boundless this week. It’s about old friends.

My thesis proposal is pretty much done. Except it needs editing. And probably someone to rewrite it. But other than that, it’s done. So basically I’ve decided to write my thesis on the idea of faith as belief and action in the Bible. The very opening words of Scripture reveal a God who is active and dynamic — “In the beginning God created.” (In fact, in the Hebrew, the verb — the action — comes first.)

From the very beginning, a variety of Hebrew action verbs let us know that God creates, speaks, calls, makes, builds, blesses, gives and sees. Immediately he involves himself in the physical world — walking with humanity, speaking to those he created, asking questions, fashioning garments. God questions Cain, calls Abraham, argues with Moses, covenants with David. Over and over throughout the Old Testament, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness because of what he has done. And ultimately, the activity of God is incarnated, fleshed out, a living, breathing example. God becomes a man and lives out divinity, reveals what it looks like to be active completely and fully.

The revelation of God is dynamic and active, not linear or systematic. So, through my thesis, I want to understand theology — understand God — as defined by action. I will do this by studying the acts of God, the response of individuals Scripture remembers as faithful, the community’s response demonstrated through law, festivals and liturgy, and the Hebrew language itself, which expresses the story of God in a uniquely active way.

I want to form an argument for a biblical theology that truly understands faith through action rather than just mental assent to a particular set of beliefs. Active faith is not relegated to the preferences of the God of the Old Testament, or even to the particular worldview of the Hebrew mind. Faith in action is core to who God is, which is clearly shown throughout the Bible. It is not antithetical to grace. Action does not equal legalism. It is in the very nature of God — it is how he shows his love to us and how he asks us to show love to him.

So, that’s what I’m working on. We’ll see.

Have a fun times day, friends!

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7 Responses to “A Thesis In Action”

  1. Another motto we shared: Legs. The whiter, the better. I’ve kept that one going.

  2. Becca said

    I’m surprised you only commented on your skirt length in the first picture. Because that is exactly how I picture you looking as you’re typing away in your special spot by the fireplace, especially if anyone comes over to see you.

  3. lyddiebee said

    Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot from this. Do you think God can work in systematic ways? Do you think God can work through systems people establish today? Just curious what your thoughts are on that mainly because I am been thinking about that a lot lately so your words popped out at me. Sounds like it will be a wonderful thesis! Good Luck!

  4. denisemorris said

    Yes, Lydia, I do! I don’t want to trash systematic theology or anything in this thesis. I just have noticed this pattern of action and events and stories throughout the Bible. It’s different than systematic theology, but that doesn’t make the other way wrong. I think God works through a lot of ways and some people understand him so well through systems.

  5. Andrew Snyder said

    Let me edit and rewrite your thesis. Thanks.

    -windy

  6. kerry said

    You totally rocked the “Mr. CInch” look even as a child. You ARE a maverick Denise. Not just in your fashionista ways but in your arguments for faith through action. You go girl.

  7. lyddiebee said

    Hmmm…I don’t know that I have ever tried to understand God through systems. Perhaps this is why systems are so frustrating to me sometimes…maybe I should give it a shot! Thanks or the inspiration!

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