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CHURCH CORNER: Faith touches all areas of life
I wrote a piece about faith a couple of years ago . . . I’ve had several conversations with folks around the faith subject in the past few days, so I want to revisit it this week.
I have a basic premise that God has created us with an eternal, spiritual component that transcends time and substance, and I assert that we have an intrinsic awareness of that component. While I’m not saying we understand what to do with our eternal, spiritual component, I do suggest that we have an intrinsic need to explore it and try to figure out what to do with it. As we explore this piece of our “self,” we begin to run into our faith capacity and we must finally make some conclusion about our eternal, spiritual component. I suggest that our conclusions – however temporary they may be – are simply our faith structure, and that we live by that faith structure.
I extend this concept to say that we live our entire life based on conclusions we come to in literally every area of our life – i.e., we build a faith structure around eating and going to work and sleeping and the brand of car we drive . . . or that we choose not to drive . . . and we then live by that faith.
Granted, when we talk about “faith,” we usually tend to tie it to spiritual subjects. And some folks even want to divorce the subject of faith from our life, suggesting it’s not important or relevant. But I’m inviting you to consider faith from a broader view that’s more in the context of what even our New Testament writers had in mind.
When the words faith, trust and believe appear in our New Testament, we’re looking at words that are related to each other in the language they were translated from, and these are not complicated words or concepts. Faith simply means to be persuaded or convinced, based upon the evidence or information we’ve received and considered. Thus, when my mind has received enough information to build my case on, I believe it to be so, and I will trust the conclusion I’ve drawn. There’s my faith. And if I trust you, that means I’ve come to believe something about you, based on whatever information
I’ve gathered, true or false, and I have faith in you.
As a further illustration: The international financial situation isn’t any better today than it was a couple of years ago. And if we peruse history, we can see that there have been numerous crashes of major civilizations, and the subsequent meltdown of their economic systems and everything tied to them. We even find coins today that represent the trading symbols of these past systems, that have no further value to us today than an historic value – they have no trading value in our current system.
While it appears some folks purposely manipulated our currently troubled system for their gain, others simply made less than wise decisions. And, whether we lied and cheated our way to fortune and failure, or in good faith attempted to make a solid play, the system seems to be seriously broken, and many of its players will likely never recover.
I don’t know for sure, but I do trust that our system will right itself. That’s what I believe. I have that faith. I can’t prove it, but history provides a clue that it will all be OK . . . perhaps not in my lifetime . . . and I still live like I trust it will be OK in my lifetime. Given enough time, the systems of the world will fix themselves, and the possibility for success and failure will present itself once again. And, in the process of waiting for the fix, we’ll all look with expectation that the phoenix will rise from the ashes, the economy will right itself, and my kids and grandkids can live warm and well fed and in relative safety.
That’s faith. To say that we live without faith is just not an accurate assessment, because we all live by a series of faith structures. And, if your faith structure reaches only into the surface of time and stuff and money and places and acquiring and not dying, then you may be feeling a lot of anxiety in our current social and economic fiasco. However, if we have a faith structure that has a foundation reaching into the spiritual and God and eternity and a hope beyond time and space, then we have the possibility of finding some peace and tranquility beyond conventional understanding in these disturbing social and economic times.
And here’s my personal conclusion: I’m building my life around a faith structure called Christianity. And, I’m not talking about some fringe or exaggerated or self-serving distorted view of Christianity that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime of following Jesus, but an authentic faith structure that’s based in this book I’ve been exploring for the past 50-plus years, and which I’m betting my life existence on – both in this physical lifetime and in the eternity beyond time . . . and economy.
I gotta go now. What’s your faith structure looking like? What are you hanging onto?
The Rev. Dale Pratt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.