Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Faith

Already I've been questioned about how I can believe in the Real Presence (among other things). I say "by faith". Why on earth would I want to go & sit in a room with a cracker (adoration)? That's insane! I say "because I've experienced something". Yes, pictures that come to me are from my memory & scriptures that come to me are obviously from the Bible, but just because they are in my head & "spoken" in my voice doesn't mean they aren't of God. I believe God uses our ordinary memories, emotions, experiences & "thought voice" to speak to us more often than He vocalizes or sends angels & pillars of fire to get a message across.

There's no explanation as to why I feel drawn to sit in a room with a cracker in a glorified lampstand. It really does defy logic. There's no explanation for why I feel tangible fear about walking through that door every single time. But when I get there, I feel such incredible peace that I don't ever want to leave. Its not just a cracker to me anymore- though my senses still want to say so. There's something more to it.

Again I was asked, Do I really believe the communion wafer is the Body of Christ & a cup of wine is His blood? I say "yes, by faith". I trust the words spoken by Jesus in John 10:37- 38. "Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me..." Forget my oh-so pious answers- do my encounters with the Real Presence change me? I can't rely on my intellect, my emotions or the how or why... I have to rely on the "what". What are the results of being in or partaking of the "Presence"? If it doesn't change me, then its just a cracker in a glorified lampstand. If it doesn't cause me to hunger for righteousness, then the Eucharist is just a wafer & wine. Faith without deeds is dead. If my faith in the Body & Blood of Christ doesn't compel me to serve God, its worthless.

6 comments:

  1. Yes, and I will continue to question you - look for it! The sort of faith required for "Real Presence" belief is the same kind of faith my Pentecostal mother has in healing. On any given day she will say "You don't have to be sick, Jesus already took it to the cross. So, you are not sick unless you want to be!" And there I sit, continuing to cough, thanking her for her prayers. I like to think of her faith as crack pot faith. If I try to have a logical discussion with her with based on facts and empirical evidence, she just stops talking. She doesn't even try to engage. Talking with you about the "Real Presence" sometimes feels the same way. You just say "I believe" and that's the end of the discussion. It's hard for me, you know? I believe in love and fidelity and you look at me with crazy eyes like I'm a fruit loop. It seems we all have the same 'crack pot' faith, just in different things. It's a "talk all you want" faith, "but I'm not changing my mind, no matter how many good reasons I have". I guess we're not so different, even though we are SO different. :)

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    1. Ok, her healing thing, I have to admit is beyond me. It seems like just another version of “name it & claim it”. I believe in healing too, but the idea that we don't have to be sick if we don't want to be because Jesus already “took it to the cross” seems a little far fetched. We still have to endure the effects of the original curse (sickness & eventual death). What the cross did was free us from God's ultimate punishment. By Jesus' stripes we are healed, yes... from the result of our spirit's sickness, which would be eternal death without Jesus' intervention. Abraham was righteous & he still died! Even though we are counted righteous because of Jesus' sacrifice, we still have to go through crap here in this life, including physical sickness & physical death. But I'm probably preaching to the choir. I personally think healing is like prophecy- for a specific purpose, in a specific time. I'm under the impression that its meant to be more of a witness of sorts than something you can access like cash from an ATM. But what do I know?

      As for logical discussions, facts & empirical evidence, can you prove every single crazy event that happened in scripture? Was Jesus really God incarnate? How do you know? Who really moved the stone to let Him out of His tomb? How do you know? Do you believe all the stuff in the Bible? If you believe any of it, you're kind of guilty of “crackpot faith” too! Its not a “talk all you want, I'm standing my ground” kind of faith. Its more the idea that I know what I believe & I don't feel the need to prove it to you or anyone else. What I CAN do is try to exemplify what I believe through the way I choose to live. Your mom does that... and you do it too. Is it right or wrong? Who can say? I have my opinions & you have yours.
      Its difficult to have a logical discussion about faith because it defies logic. There's no scientific method to measure & analyze it. The fact that people shut down & choose to forgo discussion doesn't negate the validity of their faith or your questioning/arguments. I think its actually more wise to draw lines rather than go round & round chasing each other's tails! Save your breath if its not life or death!
      Love & fidelity- my friend, you are an enigma to me because you seem to do this part so well. I look at you like you're a fruit loop because I would never think to go to the lengths you do!

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    2. Should faith be proven? I tend to think so. The whole "Evidence That Demands A Verdict" thinking is what I was raised with. I lean towards offering proof of everything I believe in (my religious beliefs being a small part of the whole). Then again, I also grew up playing basketball where I learned that a defensive strategy is just as important as an offensive one. I think the theme of evangelism is once again prudent. If you have something in your life that's crazy valuable, should you keep it for yourself? Hide it? Lock it away in a vault? Or should you share it, give it away? What does it say about you if you don't? These are questions that run through my head. I'm not entreating an argument, just putting cards on the table; and since we're not really card players, check.

      I love you!

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    3. 1 Pe. 3:15 says always be ready to give a reason for the hope you have, but it doesn't say be ready to offer definitive proof of your faith that will withstand scientific scrutiny. Everyone will have different reasons & differing degrees of faith. To say that faith can be or should be proven is like saying I should bottle the wind because I can. Technically you CAN bottle it, but its no longer wind once its in the bottle. Its just trapped air. If I can prove faith, then its no longer faith. But if I can give a reason for faith- not evidence- but motive that shows why MY faith exists, then in a way, I've just proven faith without really proving it. How can you prove the depth of faith of one individual over another? Only God knows the heart. I believe the ultimate "evidence" of anyone's faith is proven by their actions, but to say that evangelism specifically is a distinguishable fruit of faith... I think that can be true in one sense, but evangelism can also be a fruit of guilt, pride, or even anger. I don't think evangelism offers rock solid proof of faith, but motive comes close. What motivates me to speak out or act (or not)? What does my motivation say about what I believe? Evangelism is an important component for faith, but if my message isn't motivated by love, its practically worthless. Motivation will either prove or dismantle one's faith & message.

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  2. I use the word "prove" loosely. Not strictly. I'm not in a position to set up an experiment and test any theories. I'm just talking, somewhat abstractly. Evangelism was a similar theme I recognized while I was writing. It's not necessarily intended to be juxtaposed against faith in the evidence category. I saw a similar flow and timing, that's all. Is it hot in here? :)

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  3. You know me... black, white & literal all over! :)

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