Thursday, June 14, 2012

BEYOND LEFTOVER FAITH


10 ways to reveal your heart of faith when faith feels like little more than a leftover

How does it happen for many people formed in faith that usual patterns and traditional expressions of faith become secondary to the focus of life?

How does it happen that practiced faith can so easily become more a checklist or duty than anything else?  Or, what’s done to satisfy one’s family or fulfill formal obligations, instead of flowing from the core, essential expression of one’s life?

I’m not sure how this happens, but it does.  There doesn't appear to be an intentional rejection of faith, no discernible factor or moment when one slipped away—if not physically, then functionally--from formal faith.  But, somehow, for many who once defined their lives in terms of a spiritual journey, the practice of faith is just no longer central, vital, functional, or evidently life-giving.

This is not about analyzing the once-churched or unchurched.  It’s not about trying to figure out so-called nominal believers.  I’m not trying to correct what might be wrong with the church.  What I suggest is just a framework and actionable considerations that might reveal one’s heart of faith when faith feels like little more than a leftover.

The 10 actions I suggest below do not sound "faith-ish" or religious. That's by intention.  Try them on without connected Bible references or spiritual lingo.  Though they aren't stated as specifically or overtly Christian, each one is rooted in the Bible's stories of people and situations in which faith is a "lost and found" item. 

To be honest, these started on Twitter.  I compressed what I was feeling and thinking into ten 140-character recommendations.  Having worked to compact and edit my thoughts for brevity, I’ve decided to leave the initial suggestions in Twitter’s unbending limitations.  I have made fuller explanation and comments on each one in subsequent Indy Bikehiker posts.  Click on "Decompressed for context and comment" to link to the individual posts for each of the 10 considerations/actions.

So, here goes -- 10 ways to reveal your heart of faith when faith feels like little more than a leftover:

#1 Do the right thing. When no one is watching. When it's costly. Break self-betrayal. Act on the good you know to do.
     #1 Decompressed for context and comment

#2 Think widely. Absorb what you can from every possible credible source of knowledge. Ask questions. Live the questions.
      #2 Decompressed for context and comment

#3 All things connect, interact, affect one another. Life's like a woven fabric. Consider your part, how you belong.
     #3 Decompressed for context and comment

#4 There is a telos. That is, purpose, intention, trajectory in one's life. Discover what you can of it and sync up.
     #4 Decompressed for context and comment

#5 Choose gratitude. It's a choice, not a duty or a given. Gratitude reshapes how we experience life and value people.
     #5 Decompressed for context and comment

#6 Confront your fears. Quit denying, avoiding, excusing. Do the thing you fear. Courage will be given you as you do.
     #6 Decompressed for context and comment

#7 Invest in children. “Nothing done for children is ever wasted.” Coach. Tutor. Mentor. Volunteer. It's its own reward.
     #7 Decompressed for context and comment

#8 Equip for the unknown. Our toughest challenges & biggest opportunities aren't yet on the radar screen. Train well.
     #8 Decompressed for context and comment

#9 Dare to venture. Break out of provincialisms. One's own place/group isn't the center of the universe.
#10 Live a bigger story. Connect your life and action to make a difference for someone else. 
     #10 Decompressed for context and comment 

I welcome your responses, questions and/or comments.

1 comment:

Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.