Matters of Faith

Everyone has a personal faith. Some people place their faith in traditional religions while others collect what they like from various religions and develop their own personal brand. Sometimes people put their faith in social or political actions. Still others place their faith in progress or technology, that is the future. Not everyone has a well thought out faith, not everyone recognizes what their faith is, but everyone lives by some sort of faith. So what is faith? It is belief in something you can't prove. That's not to say that faith is irrational, and doesn't have evidence that suggests our conclusion, just that there is some leap. For example, even the pure "rationalist" has to make a leap to trust their thinking. This sort of leap was briefly discussedin Tim Keller's Authors@Google lecture.

If you used to use this page for a list of resources about faiths from around the world, please look at the Wabash Guide to Religion on the Internet  and beliefnet which are much more extensive than my list, as well as being much more up-to-date.  What's left are a links to things that either are not in the Wabash Guide, or are resources I want to get to easily without searching:

There are also some interesting foundations which promote dialog and fund interesting projects and/or research such as

My Faith

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your Lord. -- Micah 6:8

I grew up in a reform Jewish home, but became a follower of Jesus in my college years. I say a follower of Jesus rather than Christian because in the mind of many people, the term Christian is link to very un-Christian images. Saying follower of Jesus brings front stage that the Christian faith is centered on a personal relationship, not a system of beliefs. There is a nice YouTube video What's a Christian?.A attempt to recapture the word Christian was the poem by Carol Wimmer entitled When I Say "I am a Christian".

The life of a follower of Jesus is spent learning about who Jesus is, understanding His love, and letting His love set them free to live a meaningful and loving life. As you grow to know a friend, and to appreciate them, your life changes a bit and you take on some of their characteristics. A follower of Jesus will slowly have their life changed so that it looks more like the life of love that Jesus lived. Not because they are now following an external set of rules like the Ten Commandments, but because they have love in their heart. Book of Galatians which can be found in the Bible's New Testament says that the fruit of the Spirit, that is the result of God working in a Christian's life, should be love. Then this book goes on to enumerate what this love looks like: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Jesus himself said that people will know we are His followers the love which is manifest in their community.

I believe there is a spiritual dimension that anyone can discover, but no one see naturally. Just as the two dimensional residents of flatland struggled to imagine the greater reality of three dimensional space, so we don't see clearly the super-reality that contains what we see with our eyes. C.S. Lewis' talked about this struggle in his wonderful sermon The Weight of Glory (audio).

Authors that have most influenced my thinking are C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller, Watchman Nee, Ralph Winter, Dallas Willard, Larry Crabb, Kenneth Bailey, and J. Oswald Sanders. If I ever wrote a personal statement of faith I don't think I could do a better job that the Missional Manifesto.

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