Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, October 20, 2006

Existential Faith Part 2


Faith that is based on a defensive orientation to life has as its flaws a separation from reality which makes it difficult to subscribe to as a viable alternative to any other defense mechanism designed by an individual which enables that person to function in society without anxiety. The foundational orientation is based on five assumptions;
1] protection - believing that life will be better, because; a type of prosperity gospel
2] insight - the will of God is revealed consistently and concisely daily, leading for today and tomorrow
3] butler mentality - that God will look after every minute detail of life
4] destiny - that God has a special purpose and plan for my life
5] patterned life - every detail of life is orchestrated by God with His purpose intended.
This model of life seeks to deal with confusion, pain, and life's difficulties by creating a world which is orderly, protected, guided, served, and special.
Existential faith is based on five assumptions;
1] It rains on the just and the unjust - life happens in the physical world to me the same as others
2] God's will is difficult to discern -
3] God is autonomous - God intervenes at His discretion
4] Choice & responsibility - life decisions requiring responsibility from me are predominantly mine to make
5] Random presiding of God - God does not micro-manage the world, accidents are allowed to happen because they are the circumstances of life.
There is opportunity to fluctuate between the assumptions mentioned in each model, there is even biblical truth to believing assumptions from each model. The exercise is to understand that by being objective (without bias or personal prejudices) about faith, faith then has the ability to be authentic ( worthy of trust, reliance & belief).
There are many that will defend their faith as a free-choice issue without any recognition of an ulterior motivation for their belief. My question is, In denying the validity of some of the issues brought forward questioning the foundation of my faith, will I not strive for deeper meaning in my faith?
Faith without deeper meaning, is belief without transformation. It is Christianity without surrender, without the deeper communion with God, without the relationship with God that Christ's sacrifice was all about. It is about a faith that establishes a person as a believer based on superficial evidence that is masquerading as a changed life.
I must move beyond faith leading to salvation (which seeks to quench existential fear), to a faith knowing that God will answer because He is my Heavenly Father. I remember swimming in Shushwap Lake, diving off a houseboat into the water. I didn't take much thought of the lake itself until someone told me it was 600 ft. deep, at once there was a change in my sense of enjoyment. Even though I was still using the same 5 ft. of water I was using before the knowledge of the lake's depth, know I was troubled, it was disconcerting to think of all that water under my toes. I was in the deep and it is in that sense of deepness where faith is truly found. The intimidation, the sense of my smallness, my inadequacy, my proportion in relation to my immediate environment and much more are the feelings, but most importantly the fear, the unpleasantness of my lack of comfort with being in the deep. God calls me to be transitive (moving) to a faith upon the deep. Jesus took His disciples on a boat-trip (Mark 4:35-41) and a storm arose, as the disciples fought to keep the boat afloat (remember we have experienced fisherman on board) they begin to despair for their lives. Jesus is ' not available', He is sleeping in the stern of the boat. Was it not His idea to go on the boat? Did I not trust in His judgement that it was the best decision? Do You not care that I am dying? Do You not understand I followed You here? Where are my expectations now? I think God will leave us in a place where are fears are placated by 'salvation' where our fears are laid to rest and we live our lives on the narcotic faith. However some are being called to live on the deep, shipwrecked, without the props, without stock or trade in the commodities of religion, without defense or pretense, just God. This will only be realized by those who know Jesus is in the boat with them, maybe sleepy-eyed willing to throw us into peril, forcing us to deal with the tension between our faith and our fear. May we ask in awe, Who is this that I am following?

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