Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blue Like Jazz

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In preparing for my series on "How to Find Faith" I'm gathering stories of people coming to faith, in books, in personal stories and, hopefully, by your posting to this blog! Blue Like Jazz is the musings of a young man (Donald Miller) who has a knack of talking about coming to faith in a very "unchurchy" way - very refreshing for those of us who are sick of the jargon and cliches that seem to come with the faith package.

I was captured by the "authors note" at the beginning of the book. He says...

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theatre in Portland one night when I saw a man playing a saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened."

You see, this is how a post-modern thinks...sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. In our presentation of Jesus and faith, we so often shove factoids at people and wonder why they don't get excited. I think it's because they wonder why we aren't excited. They wonder - if this is such "good news" then why do they share it like it's medicine - not enjoyable...but something you just endure for your own good? People want to see that we are in love with Jesus ourselves and being transformed by him. When they see that in us, then they might be willing to consider what we have to say.

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/ 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.