April 15, 2009

What Do You Mean, "Faith"?

I just read an intriguing comment; this story is about faith! Of course it is; it isn't only about faith but that is an element, one I hadn't considered!

I mean, here's this guy building a huge ship on dry land, and putting everything he has into the job, filling it up with a menagerie of animal squatters, domesticated and otherwise. Either he's got a large tribe of hired help, not mentioned here, or he's had to employ his neighbors for the occasion; aren't they going to talk?!

So far as we know, there has been no person, book, weather report or any external source telling him he needs to do this! It isn't telling him to go smite his Wicked Neighbors, or sacrifice his son to Chluthu, or to do anything antisocial, but he is taking a big step out of Consensus Reality here!

Now we typically hear the word "faith" from some person trying to tell us we need to do what he wants us to do, out of blind-faith in the Bible and in his understanding of what it all means.

But I think "faith" is a lot more about taking a step where we don't see the ground, but only know it's there!

"Belief" is another, related word. I recently read a Borg book where he pointed out something new to me. (Okay, Tony Priete (if I'm spelling him right) had said something similar about Hebrew... Their word for "true" was not about the factuality of a statement, as in Greek logic. It meant something more like "trustworthy, dependable.") Borg says that until recently, we did not say that we "believed in" some statement or other. We "believed" a person; we trusted him. To "believe in God" implied that we agreed God exists, but the essence was, to trust God. It meant that we "beloved" God--which is the expression Borg says came first here.

What else?


At 9:20 p.m., Anonymous amybee said...

I LOVE what you pointed out about the various etymologies of the word/meaning of "faith." I think that is what I was getting at. As it is stated in James 1:2-4:
My brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials
of any kind,consider it
nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete lacking in nothing.

It sounds like the subtle yet enormous differences in the meaning of the word faith could allow for a wide variety of interpretations of the concept. You are obviously more well-read than I am (tending to be a life-long philosophical gleaner :) but I prefer the non-concrete interpretations of these passages (as well as others) for the applicable meaning. I am sure we have all had some small experience that may allow us to relate to Noah on some level. I find his story very encouraging during such times.
Oh, an just for the record...I no more consider myself a true "Lutheran" than I do a Sikh, Baptist, or Buddhist. I simply love the Spirit, the Light, God, the Creator, in all the various semantic expressions, and want to have love move into the world through me if possible. What an interesting way to study and have fellowship this Internet thing is.

At 11:41 a.m., Blogger Diane said...

It’s not in front of me now, but Lewis Mumford wrote a poem dedicated to a son he lost in the war (air force), and a line from it was “trust to the air,” which I was very moved by. It also reminds me of the Hopi elders story about crossing the river and to risk losing track of the bottom: “…let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. …see who is in there with you and celebrate.”

I was reading Romans 5-8 the other day and I felt that faith was contrasted to the following of law (Mosaic or OT covenant), and to act in faith was more like acting joyfully from the heart, which reminded me of message of joyful renunciation that Gandhi always spoke of (from the Bhagavad-Gita). A friend of mine looked up the meaning of faith as “knowledge” in Eph 3.16-17, which I take to be more a deep intuitive knowing (not intellectual): “… he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith [knowledge].” It would make a difference in the meaning if faith included knowledge.

At 1:37 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

& a synagogue commentary about crossing the Reed Sea (& the Jordan), that the waters did not part until the first ranks were in over their heads.

& the true work of religion... would not be obeying the precepts (which are pointers towards conduct that keeps you on the path, not the end of the path) but to reach the point where you freely receive knowledge directly, rather than painfully building your tower towards it(?)


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