Sunday, August 14, 2005

How to Find Faith


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I've talked about a few Brian McLaren books in my posts. I've backed up to read one of his early one's called "Finding Faith". I'm so impressed with it that I decided to preach an eight week series on the topic. McLaren hits on a part of faith that seems to have gone untouched by other writers/speakers...how to come to faith. It's amazing that there are not more books like this but I guess that shows our "modern" mind-set (vs. a post-modern one).

The modern mind just wants the facts, thinking that the facts speak for themselves. The post-modern mind wants more. It wants context. It wants relationship. It wants to know how the "what" will play out on a daily basis. The post-modern person doesn't just believe because it's "the right thing to do". They believe because it makes their life better.

When I was a new believer I read books like "Know Why You Believe" and "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". These were books about what you need to know about Christianity, i.e. who Jesus was, what he did, why his death was important, etc. These are obviously important things but in the scheme of things, they are way down the line in the faith process. Before we can come to faith we really need to know how to believe first, then what to believe.

I'd love to hear back from my readers on where you are at in the faith process and how you got there. I haven't had much luck in getting people to post - I don't if it takes too much time or it's too intimidating to see your thoughts on-line, even though anonymous, but it would be a great discussion to hear from believers at various stages of faith and even non-believers who want to tell me why they don't have a faith.

  • What are your struggles?
  • What have been stumble blocks in your faith experience?
  • What made it easy?
  • How has it changed (or not changed) your life?

Over the past few decades, faith has been painted as very black and white in my circles. Either you are in or out with few, if any, shades of gray. But faith is a process. We are all at different points in the journey. We don't have to be ashamed of where we are at in the process. Some of us have hit a dead-end and need to back up and take another run at it. That's okay. Some times you have to tear down before you can build up.

So, let me hear from you. Take the time and the risk and let's hear what you have to say about your process of coming/not coming to faith. Thanks! I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I became a Christian at age 3 or 4. I guess I've done some thinking in recent years about how I could understand salvation at such a young age. I had a Christian family and went to Sunday School, so had exposure to the Bible and Jesus, etc. My parents taught me right from wrong and disciplined me when I disobeyed. I guess that's why I could understand the concepts of sin, punishment, and forgiveness. Also I was taught that hell is a bad place, Satan is evil, and heaven and Jesus are the opposite (so of course I wanted to go to heaven and follow Jesus who is good).

Following Jesus affects how I live my life - how I treat people, decide things, spend money, etc. I think following Jesus has had a big impact on my "conscience" whether it was making the decision that I would not cheat as a student or being honest in the workplace.

Things that help my faith be "easier" have been relating to other Christians and receiving encouragement/affirmation, understanding the Bible better and have it "click", hearing other's journies of faith, etc. There was a brief time when I questioned the existence of God and what helped me was to think of creation. There are so many intricate details in how our bodies are made and how the universe operates it is amazing. For me that helps confirm that there has to be "something" out there other than ourselves.

I gained alot of "head knowledge" about God (as well as heart knowledge)growing up in the faith, the hard part is when it is tested. Like waiting (and waiting and waiting) for God to move in a difficult situation or when He seems like He's acting contradictory to His character. What God's Word says does not always feel true, especially in times of suffering and pain. In my head I know it is true, but in my heart it feels the opposite. I don't want to abandon my faith, I want God to "prove true" in who He says He is.

Also it can be hard to do what's right when others (even Christians) are doing things that don't please God because you want acceptance and to not stand out. It can be kind of lonely to stand in your beliefs.

Looking forward to this sermon series, Remy!

Daniel said...

I think my own faith journey can be broken down into roughly three phases.
The first is its beginning. My faith started like that of so many others: growing up in a Christian home, it's kind of hard not to pick up some things from the every day environment. I'm not convinced such childish faith, which is merely an extension of one's parents' worldview has much moral weight, although it is definitely helpful in shaping one's character.
Phase two of my journey involved getting caught up in apologetics in my teen years. Because I was one of the few Christians in my school, I had to defend my faith, and so I taught myself certain very convenient arguments that sounded very convincing.
It wasn't 'til college that I realized plenty of non-Christians had heard the arguments I had come to put my trust in without feeling the burden to believe. You mean there are good counters to the ontological argument? What?
Which brings me to phase three, my current worldview. I take what I think is a much more humble approach to the rational basis of my faith (which exists, but isn't as rock solid as it once was), and rather choose to emphasize the existential 'fit' of the Bible story to all of our lives.
I feel more Christian than I have ever been, and yet I don't feel the need to justify myself nearly as much as I used to when I was certain that Christian doctrine was rock solid certain.
Strange...