So what, huh? For me it’s important to say it, to write it, and to share my belief. I’m not always sure people want to hear or read about it but that’s another issue entirely.
I know what I believe.
I’m not trying to be arrogant and there’s certainly a whole lot I don’t know. Those who know me well can attest to that. But when push comes to shove I can articulate my beliefs. I have some good foundations.
Early on the good Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration forced me to memorize catechism questions. One or two actually taught me to think about them. Although some of what I memorized I forgot quickly much has stayed with me especially some of the basics of faith. Things about the Trinity. The life of Christ. The conduct of a person of faith. The nature of personhood. Life in the Spirit. The church. Such things matured in my heart and mind as I grew and learned more. When I started more serious scripture study it didn’t surprise me that my early doctrinal foundations found new life and meaning. The learnings of my youth still inform my life today.
I’m borrowing a term here but there’s a ‘generous orthodoxy’ I ascribe to that starts with some basic creedal beliefs. Being orthodox doesn’t mean one has to be narrow and short-sided. No, not at all. It brings a compass and a map to a life like mine that has tendencies to wander.
I’m not sure you know what you believe.
I’m not trying to be confrontive. It’s just that I wonder. We live in a world that values perception and feelings and seems to stray away from any notion of truth. And so I see people all the time who say they believe but when asked questions about their beliefs can’t articulate them. That bothers me.
Could the world be filled with people whose foundations have never been laid in something authoritative and eternal?
Could our churches be filled with people who run to escape when winds of hardship blow because there is nothing anchoring them to something bigger than their own emotions?
We struggle with other people’s beliefs.
I’m an evangelical Christian. It’s a culture I know. Some in my camp love to argue but aren’t eager to have discussions. We lob grenades and angrily defend ‘the faith’. All too often we don’t try to get inside someone else’s head. We get angry when there’s no agreement on every jot and tiddle of faith.
Others will believe differently. That’s a given. God loves them. That’s a given. So, what if I really believed that differences are opportunities for dialogue, and proximity paves the way to relationship, and that relationship opens the door to understanding and understanding gives way to caring and ….??? And what if I really believed God could use the dialogue, the relationship, the understanding and the caring to do whatever He needs to do in that other person’s life? And what if I really left the results to God and majored more in being in the moment?
Belief is about being and doing.
A scripture writer said ‘what good is faith without action’. It’s a good challenge. My favorite people do their faith and keep on informing and forming their faith.
God believes in me.
That’s my biggest struggle to be honest. I’m one of those people who’s acutely aware of my imperfection and wonder how anyone could even like me let alone love me. It’s not rational I know. And if I struggle with being liked and being loved how can I believe a good God actually believes in me? But God does. Despite my objections.