I will walk through the main categories on this blog over the next few weeks to clarify (a) why they are categories, (b) what I hope to talk about in these different areas, and (c) what, right now, the ideal picture of growth in each area might look like. All of these ideas are subject to change. That’s what growth is all about, right?
Why ‘Simple Faith’?
We complicate most things in our lives. Faith is no different. If we do not see our faith progressing the way we think it should, or we don’t see growth in areas that we wish we did, we start creating layers of reasons, excuses, and theological opinions to help us rationalize our lack of growth.
I believe that in order to grow, we have to toss off these layers. I don’t mean we become theological dummies. And I don’t mean that we don’t grow in knowledge. I just mean that there is a simplicity to following hard after God or simply dropping the nets and following Jesus. We lose this simplicity when we struggle and start looking for reasons for the struggle instead of engaging God through honest prayer.
When I was in college, I went round and round with Calvinists to defend my more Wesleyan and Pentecostal brethren. Then I’d go round and round with Wesleyans and Pentecostals in defense of my Calvinist buddies. In the end, I just got dizzy.
Theology can ground us. It can be a source of confidence. But it can be a distraction.
So can excuse-making. So can our pride in our ability to display morality. So can our reasons why we don’t.
Further, having a simple faith in the suburbs isn’t always about shedding traditions and an over-emphasis on theological dogma. It’s also about disentangling faith from culture. Christian faith isn’t western. It’s not Republican. It’s not capitalist. It doesn’t deserve to be weighed down by suburban, conservative, political expectations. It can inform our choices, but faith is not a tool or weapon to uphold these things.
So this ‘Simple Faith’ category on this blog is here to explore what it looks like to be single-minded and single-hearted in pursuit of God. I think, in the end, it’s the key to everything.
What I Hope to Talk about in ‘Simple Faith’
I’ll look at decision-making through the lens of faith.
I’ll look at belief through the lens of faith.
I’ll look at ethics through the lens of faith.
I’ll discuss how a faith-based personal paradigm might or might not frame decisions.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that I really don’t want to explore this category. I’m nervous how it might undo and reveal my own extreme immaturity in this area.
Finally, I hope it’s a source of encouragement, whether you believe the way I do or not, to pursue the clear, undebated tenets and core values of your faith vs. skirting the edges because you’d rather exercise your mind vs. be changed. I know that’s a thing for me. I pray I grow here.
What Does Growth in ‘Simple Faith’ Look Like?
I’m really not sure, honestly. That’s why I want to pursue this. Here are a few guesses:
- Acquaintances and coworkers will see a growth in grace and kindness, yet strengthened convictions.
- Decision-making will be less stressful because a simple faith will make things increasingly clearer.
- I will be more generous.
- My heart for my family will deepen and widen.
- My life will take on a sharper purpose.
- I will use ‘my’ and ‘I’ and ‘me’ less and ‘Him’ and ‘He’ a lot more.
- I will also use ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘they’ a lot more.
- I will have more courage.
There might be fewer or more changes. As I mentioned in the italicized introduction, ideas contained herein are subject to change if growth takes place. I kind of think that my list of 8 will get shorter.
Here ends a short intro to this idea of ‘Simple Faith’.