A living faith
A living faith

A living faith

We've all listened to a Sunday morning sermon where the speaker informs us of the faith of a Biblical character and all he or she did with—or for—God. You may have also attended Bible studies where leader did the same thing.

The speaker may look at the author's purpose for writing the text. They may look cultural context to explain obscure actions or sayings. They may even explain what words mean in their original language. The goal is to increase our intellectual understanding. I'm guilty of all the above when speaking to a congregation.

Our normal (western) approach to the Bible is to acquire knowledge; but why is that? I think most people would say it's because they want the truth, the correct answers to their questions about their faith. They don't want to believe the wrong things. But can we learn faith? Can we reduce faith to an academic pursuit? Gaining knowledge to distil into the 'right' doctrinal statements. Statements we agree on intellectually?

If we reduce faith to an intellectual agreement with the 'correct' doctrinal statements, to believing the 'right' things, then faith becomes objectified and separate from us. It is now an object I study. It is not part of me and who I am, and I no longer have faith, I study it.

I think faith is more than this. It's personal to you, part of who you are. A reality you experience, live by, and put into practice rather than a subject you study. Faith engages with your life, personal desires, experiences, wants, needs, and crises. It's transformative, it grows you as a person. It increases your capacity to love, to forgive and to have compassion. Faith is something we live.