What is Faith?
Faith is not irrational, but about making sense of life.
There are many different ways people try and make sense of their lives. When telling your life story, you emphasise some things more than others; “this is what motivates me…, this is what I really care about…” Most of the time, making sense of life is in the background. But a change in circumstance, or great joy or grief, can jolt us to question how we understand ourselves and our place in the world.
Faith is about seeing that there is a larger world that cannot be defined by any one individual’s perception and preoccupations. It’s about seeing that I am not at the centre of things, but instead part of a vast, mysterious and rich tapestry of viewpoints and energies.
As faith opens your eyes to a larger world, it encourages you to examine the ways you make sense of your life. It’s a process of teasing out the assumptions and dreams and prejudices that shape what you think as normal or acceptable, and allowing those to be challenged by different ways of making sense.
This is not to say that faith gives access to absolute and infallible truth. On the contrary, acknowledging that I am not at the centre of things means facing up to ways of making sense that are actually fantasies or attempts to define others. Instead, healthy faith involves learning about what prevents me from seeing more fully. That means being honest about aspects of life that lead to self-deceptions e.g. acknowledging things that make me feel afraid or guilty and then scapegoat others.
But this is not simply a guilt trip. Yes Christian faith involves acknowledging aspects of ourselves that are uncomfortable, frail and even fear-inducing. But alongside this is the Christian vision of love that overcomes fear. It is the vision of a larger world full of glory, with radiance and beauty at the root of everything. Because beneath all reality is the endless gift of God’s unconditional love. With this love Christians find both the courage to face their fears, and God’s invitation to be healed, restored, forgiven and made whole. False ways of making sense are shown for what they are; illusions of power and control that are no longer necessary. Because instead Christian faith provides the liberating freedom to truly be ourselves, freedom grounded in a love that has no conditions or limits.
There are many ways of approaching God; through the world’s order and beauty, through our longing for the infinite, through God’s own revelation. Sadly there are also many reasons why people reject God. Perhaps they are horrified by evil or the bad practice of the church, or distracted by social cares and riches, or influenced by trends hostile to religion, or they simply fear God.
Yet God continues to reach out and call each of us by name. We are invited to see new ways of making sense that do justice to ourselves and the realities of the universe. We are invited to come home, to the heart of all things, where fear becomes meaningless. We are invited to know God’s unconditional love and radiant glory; which is manifest in the life of Jesus and the people he is transforming; and which we will know more fully as we respond to that love, and by loving share in its beauty.
What do you want? Do you actually want to change your life? Do you actually want human wholeness? If you do, come and see.