Scot McKnight lists 10 Marks of Good religion taken from reading a book by Mark Thielen. The author’s contention that the answer to bad religion is not no religion, but good religion. Here’s the list:
1. Good religion impacts the way we live. It’s got to do more than re-arrange our Sunday schedule. I have to admit that I have tired of the theologians who contend that Christianity is not about what we do but about what we believe, or the one in whom we believe, and that preaching the imperatives of the Bible is sinful — as if God didn’t know how to talk to us well or as if Jesus didn’t know how to preach or as if the apostles should have cut their letters in half. Orthodoxy without orthopraxy mocks Jesus.
2. Good religion prioritizes love. What’s the point? The Jesus Creed!
3. Good religion engages in service.
4. Good religion provides a prophetic voice. Mandela, Tutu, consumerism, environmental irresponsibility — and Thielen provides a brief sketch of a theology of the environment (pp. 90-93).
5. Good religion builds community.
6. Good religion is hope filled.
7. Good religion keeps an open mind.
8. Good religion practices forgiveness: it’s hard work, takes time, does not condone bad behavior, does not always lead to reconciliation, and is for our benefit.
9. Good religion promotes gratitude.
10. Good religion practices evangelism: lifestyle, relational, invitational.