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Faith

Just a couple thoughts this morning.  I’ve let them stew for a while, so hopefully they don’t come out burnt and crispy.  Regardless of the final product, I feel like some things just ought to be addressed for the sake of avoiding stagnation and eventual spiritual decay.

Now, as I dig into the stew pot of thoughts, my wonderings this morning are as follows; what is faith?  And what does it mean to trust in God?

Here’s the premise by which I am asking these two questions.  I am convinced that as a follower of Christ, my life MUST be a life of action.  Thus, if I stand on that conviction, I find a disconnect within the language and behavior of the majority of the population that claims a Christian label.  Bear with me as I attempt to clean up the assertion a bit.

In addressing the first question, what is faith?  If this question was to be pointed anywhere near a child of the evangelical movement, most certainly, this verse would be quoted:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Often, that’s how we define faith, yet we have great difficulty defining it in physical and active terms.  The following verses in Hebrews highlight the lives of a host of biblical personalities that “by faith” lived differently.  Here is the first disconnect: We don’t equate faith with action as did the saints in Hebrews.  Faith, in western Christianity is an irrefutable definition by which we believe the right things. Faith has no bearing on the way we live our lives from day to day.

I would also argue that the same is true when we throw around the etherial concept of “trusting in God.”  Quite often we assert that we are to trust God’s will.  Yet in our way of defining that trust, we load all responsibility for the condition of our lives on a God to whom we believe will intervene for poor me, taking away the duty I have as a follower of Christ, to ACT for good in this world.  Moreover, we often say things like, “we need to trust God and avoid distracting ourselves by trying to figure it out on our own.”  But, what does a statement like that really mean?  Are we to assume that making a conscious decision to believe differently is really going to smooth out all the wrinkles?

What if God is hidden within our struggle to figure things out?  Disengaging the critical thinking centers of our minds, whether trusting God or not, seems to be a step in the wrong direction.  Furthermore, if we step back and make an honest assessment of ourselves,  isn’t it true that we inevitably decide to heed certain things and avoid others, taking one path over another?  So, why is it that God isn’t allowed to work in our struggle?  There are so many instances in which our fixation on an intervening God freezes us in complacency.  The best we can do is sit and wait for him to do his stuff.  When, I would argue, there’s something sacred happening all the time and it’s a waste of time to sit and wait.

As I reflect on this post, it’s difficult for me to accept the fact that what is most likely happening is that as I work through all these difficulties, I am probably projecting my own insecurities onto people around me.  I’m upset with the way things are, and so I point the finger at someone else because it’s much easier to do that than to make the necessary change in my own life.

That being said, and unfortunately, as I’ve said many times before, I aim to live differently.  There’s a song that says something like, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin through.”  This world may not be my home, but I firmly believe that God, however we want to understand him/her/it, has a desire for us to join the sacred work that is already happening.  I believe I have been given the opportunity to make this world what it is intended to be.  No longer will I believe that is true, but I will LIVE like it’s true.

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  1. Jamie
    January 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Hey Logan-
    I completely “hear” you on this. My frustration is on the verge of explosion… mainly with myself and how to disengage from the “faith is only believing” lifestyle to the “Faith is action” lifestyle. I have hope – The generations behind us are ACTION oriented more than they are church goers. They seek truth in actions and not in beliefs alone. Thus, the Truth will evolve, but I don’t want to wait. You know? I love you and so appreciate your articulation of the matters that are jumbled in my heart and mind.

    • Logan
      January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Yeah, I hear ya Jamie. All this “patiently waiting until things work themselves out” is about to drive me crazy. And I think one of the deeper seeded issues with the whole “faith” argument is that faith, when we are honest with ourselves, really requires nothing of us. My hunch is that the historical Jesus argued against such “right” or “correct” belief. The definition of faith that’s been accepted into the current church culture is basically watered down to this: I have faith that God is going to work things out, so I’ll wait for him to do it. Further, I would argue that it is foolish of us to “stand on faith.” At some point we’ve got to grow a pair and take some responsibility for the mess around us and then do something about it.

      I won’t go into a whole sermon here, but all I know is that I can no longer live with myself if I “leave it up to God.” If God is defined as we have been taught, and even if he’s not, I think we’d be much better people if we join in, following that breathe and movement in the world. We can leave as much as we want up to God, but if we’re honest, we make all of our own decisions anyway. And at this point in my life, I’m choosing to use the talents I’ve been given and I’m gonna get to work.

      Thanks for the comments. Love ya’ll too and hopefully we’ll be closer here soon!

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