I am in the process of reading the Idiots Guide to Christianity. I was raised Christian but in a very small branch. So just as I am always trying to encourage people to learn about paths outside their path, I am striving to do the same. And I must be honest here, while much of what I am learning is simply giving me more confidence in my own path, there are lessons here that even I can take to heart. The book is not 100% accurate - I've found a few flaws - but over all it gives a good overview of the differences in beliefs and practices of the different Denominations and Sects.
This last chapter that I've been reading talkes a lot about the Pietist Movement and the Denominations which have come out of it. One of the comments that was made was that "Above all else Christians need to do more than simply claim to be Christians and go to church, Christians need to live in a way which reflects their faith." Now, this is actually something I have ALWAYS said. To me, my faith is apparent in just about everything I do - if, of course, you know what you're looking for that is.
I have a hard time understanding what I call "Sabbat Pagans" (as apposed to Sunday Christians) who live a life that counters the beliefs they claim to have most of the time and then turn around and hold big elaborate Sabbats celebrations. Almost as if they are in it for the ale instead of the spirituality or connection.
In my view, if you truly believe something it's something you don't waiver from. For example, I believe the best person to raise my children is their parents, so I do not work outside the home unless my husband (their father) is able to care for my children. Am I giving up something I love to live by my beliefs? Yes. But if I truly believed that, why would I not live by it when it's so easily possible. Obviously who watches my kids has nothing to do with my faith, but the same principal should apply.
Quite some time ago I posted something about Being Pagan Every Day, and it was all about how to better incorporate things like Meditation & Devotionals in to your life. But I think your faith should be visible outside of your personal time with the divine. It should be something that's visible in how you talk to people, which charities you choose to or not to support, which job you choose or don't choose and so on. It should be a part of you to the point that you don't need to consider it before you make choices, it should simply be a part of how you make those choices.
You know that old saying "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"? Well, it's very true. You can claim to be Christian, Pagan, Islamic or whatever else, but it's your actions which really speak volumes about your true beliefs.
Now, many people are going to say in order to identify one's faith by their actions we need to make generalizations about what those faiths believe or "should" act like. To which I have to say, this isn't about acting a part. It's not about assumptions on what one faith should or does act like or believe. It's about making YOUR beliefs and YOUR faith apparent in YOUR life. It doesn't matter what faith you say you are, what matters is that regardless of your words, your true beliefs, thoughts and feelings will come through in your actions...
So, I suggest we all take a look at our actions and see how they reflect the beliefs we think we have. If they don't quite mesh, then if nothing else, maybe you need to better evaluate what you say you believe.