Greetings all. I’ve been a wee bit absent these past several weeks. Like the pretentious Priest, Father Guido Sarduci on Saturday Night Live used to say, “I blame-a myself.” The pen (keyboard) has been silent and difficult to approach. I attempted more than once, maybe twice, I don’t know, by now it doesn’t matter. My attempt to write the final blog in this series, numero cinco, in What About Faith, well, let me be honest here, it just wasn’t happening.
Now having apologized, then making fun of that apology, and then adding in another excuse, I recalled the famous quote attributed to almost every writer: “No one wants to write, everyone wants to have written.”
That was my problem these last several weeks. And I am looking forward to feeling much better once I finish this conclusion!
In the last blog which few will remember from 22 days ago, I suggested that Jesus, from what I can tell, invited people who were interested into Proximity and Participation. Proximity meaning to move in close in order to be present. Wherever you are, be all there! To be close is to be adjacent… to be near one another. This is a position that makes sense to people who are devoted.
That second word, Participation, is a fitting word for us to use in the conclusion of this series centered around a practical definition of living out a life of exceptional faith. Without participating in the faith that one admits to, one is left unwilling to pursue their faith. America is full of Christians whose participation is of little importance to them.
Religion is more an event we attend than a Faith we Follow. That has become an inconvenient truth for many who have been overcome by some kind of situational amnesia from church itself. Inside of these WAF posts, I have tried to present an anciently new way of pursuing one’s faith. It has been here all along. Ever since Jesus challenged us to have eyes to see and ears to hear. What would you call that? I call it Practical Theology.
We have people these days in the Church who love to talk about “the Word.” Seven times in Matthew 23, Jesus, who according to John’s Gospel was the Word, had this to say regarding people who believe they have the power and position to tell others what they have to believe: Woe to you…hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones…
Wow Jesus, why don’t you just tell us how you feel!
I know a little about hypocrisy. It results in being a hypocrite, which I once was in order to elevate my importance in the eyes of others unschooled in theology. It was as they say a fool’s errand. So, back to Practical Theology if you will.
Participation, that second word I brought up is critical for those of us who are pursuing the life God has called us to. Proximity without Participation is useless to us as we seek to explore, discover and live a life of exceptional faith.
Participation, defined for this post means – embracing and engaging the life of faith. It’s a purposeful act one is compelled into because they want to center their life around their faith, trusting that once there they will find a deeper life driven by the Spirit of God residing inside us.
What keeps most professing Christians from a deepening faith? It may be as simple as this:
- They have yet to allow themselves to move into the Proximity of the God who longs to welcome them into a new and unending life.
- Without proximity they may be unable to define what it means to take the next step into the act of Participation with others in community.
- And finally, without proximity and participation, Faith itself seems to have been mostly ignored. As G.K. Chesterton noted in this quote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.”
So, What About Faith?
In the end, when it comes to faith, no one can appeal to another as their proxy. While it is not private, it is nonetheless by definition, personal in so much as you and I have or have not come to a conclusion on faith’s significance for our own lives.
So, What About Faith?
It’s between you and God and eventually it is between the both of you and the community of others who in spite of their frailty of faith, nonetheless do not give up hope.
So, What About Faith?
Hang on wherever you are with faith. And never forget, God is for you not against you.
Thanks again for stopping by long enough to read this post. I pray this post has read you as well.