Hey you Blog Post people. I’m glad you’ve latched onto this 3rd post in the What About Faith series where we are pushing forward to unpack the importance of faith. We set out to write five posts which might help us consider the import and impact of faith in anyone’s life regardless of whether you are religious or not.
These posts are coming straight from talks and conversations I have been having with friends of mine @ Life Community here in Mt. Pleasant, SC as together we explore how one’s Faith can Transition us to a new step into what faith actually is about.
I have to give kudos to Brian McLaren and his writing in the book – A Search For What Makes Sense. He is an awesome writer whom I was introduced to by friends who thought I might find in McLaren a kindred spirit. And, I did! McLaren is a writer who has the credentials to help all of us work through this ever present pursuit of faith.
So, let’s start with a point McLaren reveals; in a world where there are Good and Bad Choices, it’s quite likely that there must also be Good and Bad Faith “options” for my faith.
Jesus says in the Gospel accounts; Come and see or Come and follow. What I believe Jesus meant here is that Good Faith begins with Proximity and leads to Participation. The capital “P’s” assume significant importance which we’ll return to shortly.
Choosing a path to travel on as one explores, discovers, responds, and embraces an exceptional faith for one’s life is representative of someone who believes that faith itself is worth our time. And, in fact, isn’t it true, that time, the time we commit to a person, a project, a plan or a purpose is always a factor for a good or a bad outcome regardless of what one might be pursuing. By the way, go back to the top of this paragraph and read those four underlined words. Don’t each of those words sound inviting? They seem to me to be the scope and sequence for an individual whose intent is on giving faith its rightful place in their life.
Looking back over three decades in ministry, I recall having a sense that many people I’ve known who attend church, get baptized, pursue God, or “find religion” (whatever that means), spend little of their time exploring, discovering, responding, and embracing faith especially in these days of distraction.
Time plays a huge part here and we have to be honest with ourselves as to the allocation of our time, because faith, as it turns out, requires a lot of one’s time. This is precisely why in the Gospels Jesus calls all of us first to the concept of Proximity. That word means to move close to in order to be present. When someone says to me; “Hey Mike, I’d like for you to come see something I have been working on. I’d love to hear what you think about it.” That’s an invitation to Proximity. And there is a bonus attached to Proximity. When one is near to others in faith, one becomes closer to exceptional faith… if that is what you are looking to find.
Immediately following the 4 Gospels in the New Testament we find The Book of Acts which is the beginning of the Church. Today, you, me, and others may see church as “our church.” It’s the church that I go to, the church I give to, the church that fits who I am, the church where I feel more at home in my faith. There are a lot of things you can identify as a reason for the church you choose and yes, the faith you are pursuing should be a major factor in where you are pursuing the Life that God has offered you.
Jesus’ church (if we can call it that) was actually a community, a fellowship of sojourners who because of their Proximity understood why Jesus was calling them to Participation. Without it (Proximity), there would be an even smaller number of people who are sharing their life with others (Participation), pursuing an exceptional faith.
How do we Participate in the life of an exceptional faith? That’s where we’ll pick up inside of the 5th post in this series next week…