The theological foundation of Stone Table Church is rooted in the Trinity, Creeds, Scripture and the 7 Councils of the church catholic. These elements provide our Orthodoxy (right belief) or our skeletal structure.
Our Orthopraxy (right practices) or our cardio-vascular system is derived from two elements: Core Virtues understood in the nature and character of Christ as portrayed in the Beatitudes and Practiced Values handed down to us in the prophetic and apostolic tradition of Micah 6:8.
Political observer and columnist, George F. Will made the following statement while addressing the graduating class at Layfayette College. “When we move beyond talk of good and evil, when the categories of virtue and vice are transcended, we are left with the thin gruel of values-talk, the talk of the non judgmental age, an age that is only judgmental about the sin of being judgmental. Therefore, speaking of virtues rather than values is considered elitist, offensive to democracy’s egalitarian, leveling ethos. I say that is precisely why talk of virtues should be revived and talk of values should be abandoned.”
We will re-engage the talk of virtues by examining the veiled autobiography of Jesus Christ in the beatitudes. In addition, we will further our discussion by not only identifying the kind of people we are to BE (virtues), but also the kind of things we are to DO (values) in order to understand the kind of life we are to HAVE (vision over vice).
Virtues are moral excellencies and qualities of righteousness corresponding to the nature and character of God. Because virtues are drawn from the character of God, virtues are universally morally correct. These qualities are not right for one culture, era, or situation and wrong for another. They are universal for everyone, everywhere at any time.
In the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-9), Jesus is not only speaking as head of the church, but as creator of humanity. Jesus is not merely telling you how to be Christian, but how to be human.
The beatitudes are the Cross and Resurrection transposed into the life of discipleship.
• Each “blessed are they ____” gives us the character and fruit of the company of the crucified–specifically crucified to the demands and dictates of the ego.
• Each “they will be _____” shows us what resurrection power infuses into the emptied cup of self.
The beatitudes are how we in being and in practice access now the kingdom of heaven dimension where true life is found.
Here are the 7 beatitudes in a singular word that we will use to better communicate what
we are hoping to become and thereby practice. These are our Core Virtues:
Matthew 5:3 poor in spirit = HUMILITY
Matthew 5:4 mourn = COMPASSION
Matthew 5:5 meek = FAITH
Matthew 5:6 hunger & thirst = HOPE
Matthew 5:7 merciful = LOVE
Matthew 5:8 pure in heart = BEAUTY
Matthew 5:9 peacemakers = PEACE