Keeping it Easy

Is faith really all that easy to understand?

I have been doing a lot of reading and it appears faith is not all that easy of a process. There is some quite in depth things on atonement, God’s character, the teachings, the bible, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, sin, and everything else concerning a church’s structure/system. Faith takes some serious thought.

I think there are aspects of faith that are easy mind you – like trying to live it – that’s fairly easy to do in some regards – but the actual depth of the scriptures is not like that. There is some serious wrestling to do in there – there is no easy road of explanation concerning many passages and interpretation.

Now I love this faith because it isn’t ‘easy’ – if it was all that easy I might not pay it much attention – as it is – I have been blogging for 2 years and some and I keep getting more and more enriched as I study/discuss.

But is faith meant to be easy? Think about it.

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19 thoughts on “Keeping it Easy

  1. I have been thinking about this and I see 2 aspects to faith:

    (a) Living it

    (b) Studying it

    On-line a lot of this stuff is about the study of it – the questions and dialogue. Outside of blogging and reading – we take the words and apply them to our lives – which also hinges upon our studies.

    I don’t think this faith is all that easy – study takes some serious time – and even when you think you have an issue down – you learn more. Maybe in some sense it is easy – we all start at some point and then build our knowledge over time – so we are adding to already somewhat learned ideas. But it does complex after a while.

    Atonement as an idea and concept is quite an in depth idea with many twists and turns – finding it’s original home in Leviticus or even the Passover. Now unless you actually have some real grasp concerning how to frame and study those ideas – any atonement theory is going to suffer in interpretation. The same goes for a dozen other categories when looked at in more depth – like what does ‘belief in’ something mean in the texts, is Jesus God, meaning of rituals (baptism and communion), etc. The list is pretty long after a while.

    Now most people actually accept the orthodox ideas of Christianity – and that’s fine – those have been studied and defended – and it is a position to take, However, those have been studied and defended – just not by you – and to accept them as fact is to accept someone else’s work as fact – not your own. How can you be so sure about any position you take in this faith without first studying it – from all angles and seeing what piece fits best into the puzzle. This is not an easy process at all – you basically need to start from scratch in making your assumptions about the texts – and not from already pre-existing notions. Most people ignore doing that for something a little ‘easier’.

    That is why I don’t think this faith is easy at all – in the fact it is not easy to figure out altogether. I question many people of the Christian faith about many subjects – and many Christians also struggle with the coordination of their faith and the fulness of it’s meaning (missing things here and adding things there). Including myself!

    But maybe that is the great thing about a faith that is not static – it grows and changes over time – and maybe that is uncomfortable for some and too elastic for others – oh the glory of balance.

  2. Faith as an Evolution………..wouldnt the world be a better place if people adopted some kind of flexibility to their faith. I know its important to have some absolutes, such as Love, and forgiveness and service, but wouldnt it be nice if people learned to go with the flow on the small stuff. One of my favourite quotes expresses it perfectly.

    “Mind over Matter, If i dont Mind it dont Matter”

  3. I think living by faith is very difficult.

    If it were’nt for God keeping me in the faith, I think I would throw it all overboard.

    I continually want to put my trust in things that I can see, in my situation, in my family, in my knowledge, in my efforts…anything but the crucified and risen Lord.

    But for some reason…He won’t let me go.

    Great post, Societyvs!

    – Steve Martin

  4. faith is HARD. but don’t tell that to fundies, they have it all figured out. you can’t argue with ppl who have all the answers. and if you have all the answers, that automatically disqualifies you from having faith. funny huh?

    keep rawk’n the free world dude! i’m with you!

  5. “faith is HARD. but don’t tell that to fundies, they have it all figured out. you can’t argue with ppl who have all the answers. and if you have all the answers, that automatically disqualifies you from having faith. funny huh?”

    Perfect!

    Nice call, Luke!

    – Steve M.

  6. Personally, I have no faith. But fortunately, I understand that the faith of Christ is sufficient for me, and all of us.

    A faith, not owned, is a faith that cannot be lost.

  7. I think of faith as a couple of things.

    (1) A set of beliefs that I live by. In my case and in its most simplistic definition, it is unique blend of what I think is real Christianity, First Nations Traditions, and Judaism. I don’t expect others to live by my beliefs, but I do promote them and try my best to reasonably defend them when I am questioned.

    (2) Following or making real those beliefs. Beliefs are not really beliefs if you do not make them real.

    My beliefs are always subject to criticism and are open to further development, but there are some things that I hold firm. Such as praying to and having relationship with the Father of All, Jesus the Son of the Father of All, “you reap what you sow”, or as we say it in Indian country “what goes around comes around” and other things, probably to numerous to mention for this forum.

  8. “Personally, I have no faith. But fortunately, I understand that the faith of Christ is sufficient for me, and all of us” (Bruced)

    It’s an interesting statement to say the least – that you have no faith. So the claim is Christ’s faith in God is good enough for all of us? It does one thing – makes all of us equals in the sense it doesn’t hinge upon our level of faith. But it’s also takes our level of responsibility for what we do to others a notch downwards also.

    Why would I say our level of responsibility to others goes downwards? Well, in essence if Christ’s faith is sufficient for all – then no matter what anyone does is really of any consequence – not matter if that is to one person or many others – you are covered by the faith of another (and nothing to do with your personal responsibility to what you know is better to do).

    Now that means we are talking about all kinds of things here – both from one’s good treatment of another – to one’s bad treatment of another. However, good treatment does not contain the severity of bad treatment (and injustice) so those concerned with commiting atrocities actually recieve more covering from the faith of another than does one who lives a relatively good life. Yet they are both considered equals by that faith of another…which in essence is a nice gesture (equality) – but in reality works against those acting morally vs. those acting immorally. The immorality of the one is basically made into nothing in the process – even if this immoral behavior is levelled against someone innocent.

    As for having no faith – well that’s a good statement – but likely untrue. See, in order for your statement to hold any weight whatsoever – you actually have to believe it is so – so in that sense you do have a faith of some sort. Namely because you mention a religious figure (the Christ) and likely are also are talking about an act of that same Christ (atonement).

    “A faith, not owned, is a faith that cannot be lost” (Bruced)

    True, then you should have no problem swallowing my words with a grain of salt.

    I think it is a grand point to be made – but again we enter into ownership of what one thinks and believes – their personal responsibility for their actions. If faith has no ownership – by the individual – then that same person also can scrap any personal responsiblity for their actions (after all – they don’t own this faith). I wouldn’t be too quick to say this is applaudable or just – when we know full well this is also the same idea people who try to duck personal responsibility also take. That includes both sides of the scale – both the moral and immoral behaviors people try not take responsibility for (the ‘it was someone else’ argument).

    I like ownership of my faith – at least i can hold myself to a standard and accept responsibility for my behaviors towards another based on that standard.

  9. Jason

    Do you not think that at the end of this physical life you will not have any consequence from the actions you did in this world? In other words do you think its happily ever after?

  10. “But fortunately, I understand that the faith of Christ is sufficient for me, and all of us.” -Bruce D.

    interesting way to pull support out of the bible. but this very phrase has a translation problem. the greek here can be read both as “Faith OF Christ” as well as “Faith IN Christ”. hard to understand, but be rest assured that the bible didn’t fall from the sky all in one piece written in english. it was a culmination written in hebrew, aramaic, coptic and greek. but i digress.

    i like how you say you can’t loose what isn’t yours. that’s pretty tight. however, there’s also some problems here. some people have chosen to not look into this faith OF Christ. this thought process seems to produce spiritual laziness. Faith takes work. Jesus never said it would be easy, just that it would be worth it. so the next question is what does faith IN Christ look like? well Paul tries to spell that out and does a fairly good job of that as well.. however the justification by faith is an interesting concept that also leads to spiritual laziness.

    if you are loved by someone, don’t you want to do stuff for them? pick flowers for mama, mow the grass for dad, make trinkets for gma and gpa, feed the hungry and cloth the poor for God? it is by faith alone, but shouldn’t we be doing something as well?

  11. God want us so much to have faith, that He gives it to us Himself.

    Christ said, ” You do not choose me but I choose you.” St. Paul talks about faith being a gift of God.

    Not only does He give it, He nurtures it through the sacraments, which are pure gospel, give to us objectively (from outside of ourselves), so that we won’t be able to screw it up with our self centered motives.

    ” The faith OF Jesus” My pastor speake about that also, but I’m not sure if I really understand that very well, yet.

    Thanks all!

    – Steve Martin

  12. “Do you not think that at the end of this physical life you will not have any consequence from the actions you did in this world? In other words do you think its happily ever after?” (John)

    I think in the end of it all – there is a final judgment – which is administered by the Christ…of the which we are all subject to.

    How that actually looks and feels at the end – well I tend to think of it as a court-room scenario of some sort – where God lets us defend our actions we committed against the people around us (to society and our personal responsibility to the teachings and what we did with them towards others).

    Now some will think it is a bad thing – but I don’t quite see it that way. We are talking here about a God that loves us after all – whose teachings wrap around the ideas of love, peace, mercy, equality, humility, and justice. I tend to see God as quite forgiving but also not over-looking the wrongs we committ against one another – and we have that responsibility as of ‘now’ towards each other – and those things we do to each other have lasting ripple effects into history. So, we best adhere to the ideas of morality God lays out about our treatment of one another as of this day.

    So, yes I don’t see a problem with answering for the things I do to other people – and my efforts to make things right/just. I know I am going to fail along the way and make some mistakes – that’s part of being a human being (to err) – and I think God knows us and our efforts also. I think God respects the fact we are trying to live those teachings and enact them in our lives and in our communities – and that goes a long way.

    All I know is my faith is in God – through the work of the Christ and his teachings – and I try to live them in my daily life. Mistakes are made, sometimes problems are solved, and sometimes we are still in the process of making things right – but God see’s it all. If we are moving towards the idea of being ‘just’ in our dealings with those around us – I don’t see much of a problem when talking with God about our actions. The only problem one can have in that scenario is when they quit trying altogether (morally) and have decided to abuse those around them for their own benefits (immorality).

  13. As Christians, the cross is our final judgement.

    All of our sins, past , present, and future, were nailed to that cross along with Christ.

    When you’re standing in front of the living Lord Jesus, do you really think he’s going to talk to you about that homeless guy you didn’t take home, feed, clean up, and give enough to hold him over for awhile…instead He’s going to say, “Hey, aren’t you a friend of mine? Well, get in here!

    That’s what that cross was all about. Reconciling us to God.

  14. I don’t think the Cross is reconciling us to God at all. I think it RECONCILED us to Him once and for all.

    I saw a (grossly overused) bumper sticker the other day, claiming that “Jesus Saves”. My heart sank as I realized how much more a powerful statement that would be if it read “Jesus Saved”.

    There is no faith without His faith. It all started with him, and ends with him. The gospel wasn’t about us reaching out for him, it was about him claiming us, and including us in His life. All of us. No one excluded. Are we so self righteous to claim that God loves us because we first loved him? Are we so egotistical to think that God redeems us because of something we do, say, think, act?

    I have no faith in myself, nor my ability to do, say, think, or act in any way that will win favor with God. I can only trust in his grace. I know it is sufficient. I long ago stopped trying to win what God has already awarded me with. I gave up trying to make points with God, because he isn’t keeping score. In one grand act of mercy and kindness, God gave himself to us. Not just those who “want it” or “ask for it” or “accept it”, but for all. And coming to that knowledge will set us free from our fears, and will cure us of our doubts, shame, and guilt. There is great power in the work of the Cross of Christ, but we have turned it into a religion full of formulas and recipes to satisfy requirement and expectation that doesn’t exist.

    It’s not about us reaching out to him, friends. It’s about understanding that He brought us into Himself, irrevocably, majestically, and permanently.

  15. “All of our sins, past , present, and future, were nailed to that cross along with Christ” (theoldadam)

    I suspect that BruceD’s latest comment is also along the same lines as the above sentence

    The statement makes me wonder why I would bother to live or do anything right. Basically, I can do whatever I want, as there is no reason to be moral, since all my sins are already taken care of by Christ.

    Why doesn’t the President, in an act of mercy, just push the button and end it all for us? Even it is a sinful act, it is already taken care of, so the President has no worries.

  16. “As Christians, the cross is our final judgement.” (Steve)

    What about a good non-Christian person – is the cross also their judgment? Or what about someone that is just a terrorizer of other people’s lives – is that same cross his final judgment?

    “All of our sins, past , present, and future, were nailed to that cross along with Christ” (Steve)

    So if a Christian person committs a capital crime tomorrow (let’s say a murder or something) – that is already forgiven? This is an example of a future sin. Now what if they committ more than one for the sake of some revenge scenario – still forgiven? How can anyone make that claim – namely when one has to consider a victim’s family in the process?

    “When you’re standing in front of the living Lord Jesus, do you really think he’s going to talk to you about that homeless guy you didn’t take home” (Steve)

    Well, that all depends – what did the homeless person ask of us? Was this a scenario where we could’ve helped and just decided not to do anything but ignore it? I mean, context is everything here. I think if that person asked us for some help and came seeking it – then we did nothing – I would hope God would ask us ‘why did you not do anything? – namely if we could’ve done something – or our church community could have. I don’t see the problem with having teachings of compassion to the poor as all that bad – actually see it as quite the compassionate thing. To me, Christians sign up their life to one of responsibility when they enter into a faith in God – and that includes the poor we can help.

    “The gospel wasn’t about us reaching out for him, it was about him claiming us, and including us in His life” (Bruced)

    I agree.

    “Are we so self righteous to claim that God loves us because we first loved him?” (Bruced)

    Obviously not, but we love (an action we take) because He first loved us (an action He took). That should promote the greatest of humility within us.

    “Are we so egotistical to think that God redeems us because of something we do, say, think, act?” (bruced)

    That’s a great question if you ask me. Cause this all falls back onto what the thing Jesus did meant (atonement). Did God atone all of our actions in Jesus’ action? Did God only make a pathway – a more personal and widespread path – for all? I mean, I read a lot of Paul’s stuff and it can be read a few ways – thus the various atonement theories that have evolved in theology for over 1900 years.

    But it is not egotistical to think we are responsible for our actions is it? Are you responsible for any actions you committ against another person (even as small as something as insulting a person to hurt their feelings)? You cannot say you are responsible if you hold to the idea no matter what you do – it’s covered by God (and this requires nada of you). I cannot completely say I see this in Jesus’ teachings – nor Paul’s – I see more of the opposite concerning responsibility.

    But as far as God’s actions go – He loved us so the actions were partly because of the compassion for us.

    “I long ago stopped trying to win what God has already awarded me with. I gave up trying to make points with God, because he isn’t keeping score” (Bruced)

    It’s actually funny to me – when we talk about this from the moral side of things – I think in all of our humility we can all agree. However, turn the tables to the idea of the immoral side of things – and uhm…things get muddy in our heads. What if you were trying to lose as much points as you could with God? That would include breaking all the commandments and intentions of faith – would you still have same general opinion you do about how faith works?

    “Not just those who “want it” or “ask for it” or “accept it”, but for all. And coming to that knowledge will set us free from our fears, and will cure us of our doubts, shame, and guilt” (Bruced)

    I agree again. But I will tell you – this may take some learning about the teachings we already know to some extent.

    “It’s not about us reaching out to him, friends” (Bruced)

    That’s where I am a little confused – explain prayer then? Or even dedicating our lives to God and the teachings given (which I consider worship)? Why even focus on God at all – since there is not really a reason – all is wrapped up?

    To me, that is problematic. Since it is not true as of right now. All is not wrapped up. Jesus makes a promise the law will never pass away (not one iota of it – thanks scribes) until all is fulfilled in it – well…it’s not all fulfilled. I might say it is partially fulfilled but it’s fairly obvious to anyone they are not all fulfilled (unless we count the idea the teachings are here for us to ‘live out’ to make this possible).

    I am not sure how you can live as if it is all finished – when it is plain to the eye we live in a world of crime and injustice, people are still dying (not resurrecting), and the law exists to this day to remind humanity of it’s need for morality. We obviously need to live out the teachings for the betterment of society and for ourselves. We are the ones in the need of help – the morality – and even if that is paid for in total – we still struggle with our own problems here and now that only go away once we deal with them (and heal from them).

    I like the idea you proclaim – but in living reality – one must ask how you got there? Was it right off the bat? Did it take many a year? I mean, what did you have to deal with first to arrive at this conclusion? I know you likely wish you didn’t make the mistakes to get to this place you now arrive at (theologically) – but didn’t they serve to make the theological point?

  17. Jason

    Ah the lessons of life, and without pain how would we learn. I mean we live in a world of duality, dark/light, man/woman, happy/sad, good/bad. I heard a good question recently, “If God was to eliminate all the cancers of the world, would it then become a better place?” Do you ever think that maybe our perfection in the here and now is actually based on the duality of our personalities?

  18. Faith is a gift from God. That’s pretty easy. It is living by it and learning how to apply it that we can make hard but it can be easy if we just rest in Christ.

  19. I think faith is both easy and hard, and that there parts of it that are supposed to be both. But I think faith doesn’t stay consistently hard, but rather the type of hardness changes. There might be a portion of faith that is hard for two or three years, and then an event happens that makes that portion easy. Yet something else has occured to make another portion hard, or even produce a new portion.

    That whole paragraph is probably defined as “growth.” 😉

    But saying that we must have the faith of Jesus raises some interesting points. What does that type of faith entail? I would say that Jesus did grow into his faith. After all, he grew in wisdom and in favor with God. So why not faith?

    When he’s pleading with God to remove the upcoming cross, how does that play into the faith of Jesus?

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