1/20/05

Fuzzy Faith

I heard a woman being interviewed today on the radio. She is a Harvard professor and the subject of a new book she wrote has to do with pluralism is societies. She described herself as a Methodist. She explained, when asked by the interviewer, that her identity as a Methodist is a historical one - her roots. She added that she liked (for the most part) her church's social gospel. She went on to say that she did not view her Methodist affiliation as a wall between herself and the world - over which others must climb in order to be seen.



I loved the simple yet eloquent way she described the role her Methodist tradition plays in her life. She credited it for shaping her world view but clearly had a world view that has been informed by many traditions (Christian and non).



I wondered how I would describe my own experience to a would be interviewer. I have been in that boat before and have discovered (the hard way) that clear, concise, and eloquent responses are not always easy to come by when put on the spot. If asked today, I would describe myself as having a rich and wonderful Christian heritage that spans nearly 30 years. People have asked me if I still see myself as a Christian. My response has been that I do not - at least in the evangelical sense of the word. I can no longer claim to believe with unswerving conviction the basic tenets of Christianity - that Jesus is the only way by which people can know God or salvation, that the Bible is the inerrent word of God, that heaven and hell exist, or even that there is life after death. I am not suggesting that these things might not be true - I just can't say I believe them as truth with a capital "T".



At the same time, I cannot deny the real relationship I had for many years with Christ as my personal savior. I cannot deny my genuine sense of God's calling in my life. I cannot abandon the relationships that touched me deeply or betray my own sense of having been whole heartedly committed to serving God. So where does that leave me?



For a long time, it has left me without a good vocabulary for describing what I believe. In the absence of an iron clad belief system rooted in a Christian world view, I have had to settle with the fact that I don't have as many answers and assurances about how God fits into the big picture of life and faith as I once did. This has been liberating in many ways - not the least of which is I no longer have to represent God's point of view or pretend to know the answer to the famous question, what would Jesus do?



My focus has shifted from developing a strong and articulate belief system to living day in and day out with fuzzy faith. Not to be confused with fuzzy math, fuzzy faith is simply the act of saying yes to life's call and trusting that I will meet God and His purposes by responding with my whole self to the situations that present themselves to me. Sometimes, I recognize God in the meeting. More often than not, I am sure He remains hidden or I simply fail to see through His disguise.



If I have learned anything in these past years, I have discovered that God hides Himself and that this hiding is something He has done for generations. He is the master of mystery and great at donning a myriad of disguises. And far from hating Him for this, I consider this hiding the most intimate of games where God challenges me to use my imagination and credits me for having faith in One who plays as hard as He works.









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