Archive for June 17th, 2008


Two-fer Tuesday: Faith by Miz Pink

I’ve heard alot of people suggest people with strong religious faith are actually really weak.

Weak willed. Easily led. Unable to think for themselves. Unable to think intellectually. Unable to question authority.

You get the message I think.

To me though, truly faithful people are really some of the strongest in the world.

I’m not saying that religious faith doesn’t come with potential problems. For example the mean-spirited members of the fundie crowd are always saying nasty things about gays and telling us that disasters are God’s judgements upon us and all that. And well…those terrorists that fly planes into building and set off bombs in the middle of marketplaces and stuff like that operate on religious faith too. The list goes on but you get it.

What I’m talking about though are the people who can be strong in their faith even with the pressures of the world. The people who can see God in the little things and feel his presence even when redemption and deliverance and comfort seem so far away.

The kinda faith like what is addressed in this video about the wrongness of prosperity ministries (the part I’m talking about is about halfway through, about a minute or so into this just-under three minute video)…

…see what I mean? Faith that God is there with us to give us strength when we put ourselves fully into his arms (or wings maybe) even with something as horrifying as the death of a child…and not that he is either:

  1. A mean-tempered curmudgeon who wants to punish us for every little thang
  2. A cosmic piggy bank there to give us everything we ask for

Faith is kinda what you put into it. If you put a lot of yourself into faith…and I mean your heart into…not some kind of blind foolhardy faith like “if I jump off this building God will catch me”…you will be stronger. If you don’t put anything into it you’re just an automaton going to church for no reason or a person in danger of giving up on God just because your life isn’t what you think it should be. Empty faith is like an empty suit of armor cuz it’s just gonna fall apart as soon as someone smacks it. True faith is armor on a skilled knight to protect him (or her) from doom.

(Go here to see what Deke has to say about faith today on our first Twofer Tuesday)


Two-fer Tuesday: Faith by Deacon Blue

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1

One might wonder, what is the difference between the statement above and the mindset of someone with paranoid schizophrenia? On the face of it, probably only the fact that the schizophrenic person needs medication just to interact with the rest of us and function in polite society.

To be sure, there are other translations other than the King James version above, such as:

Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists. (International Standard Version)

Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see. (Weymouth New Testament)

Those are in some ways clearer ways to phrase what the King James translators said, but I still like that more “original” (more original English version, that is). The flow and the mystery of it seem so perfect in that wording.

The Bible also tells us that that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

We have to trust. And sometimes, that is the hardest thing in the world. We have to trust that what God tells us in the Bible is the truth. I have logical and historical reasons for believing in Jesus’ existence and his miraculous nature, and so I have what I feel is a strong reason to believe that the New Testament is based on a true person with a divine nature…which means the Old Testament is basically true because Jesus preached it…which means there is a purpose to everything and God exists and Jesus is the key.

But while I have evidenciary reasons to believe, it still comes down to faith. It still comes down to my gut. Because who’s to say that Jesus wasn’t some mutant like those straight out of the X-Men, with the power to heal others and rise from the dead and transmute physical matter and everything else? Who’s to say Jesus wasn’t an extraterrestrial using hidden technologies to work “miracles” and it was simply disguising itself as a human male?

Atheists don’t like faith. Not the spiritual kind anyway. To them, it’s a clinging to mythology. It’s irrational. It’s foolish.

But God also tells us in the Bible that it is in human weaknesses where God often works strength, and that the “foolishness” of God is often better than the “wisdom” of humans.

In the Old Testament and New Testament both, God works through “small” people much of the time and He makes seemingly weak and foolish things into something glorious. This makes Judaism and Christianity (I cannot speak much to what the Koran tells Muslims) very unique. They don’t spend much time glorifying humans as so many other faiths do. Judaism and Christianity don’t try to explain every little thing in the world as needing some specific god or the purposeful action of a divine being as so many mythological systems in the past did. They present a picture of a flawed humanity alternately moving away from and trying to seek God…and a God who is trying to fix a broken relationship with us. This is such a fundamentally wondrous and moving thing that it speaks to me of truth, and not of the invention or designs of men creating Judaism or Christianity out of thin air.

These are God’s workings. You’ll have to take that on faith, though.

I certainly do.

(For Miz Pink’s take on today’s topic, click here.)

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


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June 2008

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