If you ask me

Posted: 29th December 2014 by iBarnabas in journaling, theology
Tags: , ,

…Why?

Why, with the emotional, physical, professional, sinful, and other struggles I deal with on a sometimes daily basis, do I believe in God?

readingbibleIts easy, in my head, but complex to explain. I could give you the short version; ‘the Bible.’ This is true but might give you the wrong message. Honestly, while this answer is true for many people, I think this answer is a cop-out. It’s way too general and leaves the recipient forming their own conclusions which could fall way outside of your intention.

This is where my faith lies so let me be clear. Then you can use my faith to navigate yours, or not.

First off the ‘why’ starts with a list of ‘who.’ I’m one of those people who doesn’t accept answers like, “believe because the bible says you should“. In fact, I am so stubborn that you might just drive me into complete distrust instead of into belief by asking me to blindly follow a directive.  I also won’t base my faith by blindly following another person’s faith. Just because you believe it with your whole being doesn’t mean I do. There are some people who swear that Yoga and meditation are the keys to life but you don’t see me getting all bent out of shape about it. (see what I did there?) Besides, blindly following a directive or someone else’s faith is what leads to false teaching and cultism. However, even though my faith is not rooted in another man’s faith, I look to humanity to construct my faith foundation. Explaining my faith starts with a list of names:

  • Moses
  • Joshua
  • Jacob
  • Esau
  • Sampson
  • Younger and King David
  • Job
  • Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophets
  • Shepherds in Bethlehem
  • Joseph the carpenter
  • Andrew and his brother Peter
  • Any of the other twelve and all of the other hundred or more who trailed behind Jesus as he taught
  • Every person who questioned or challenged Jesus’ teachings
  • John (the baptizer and Jesus’ cousin)
  • The Philistine woman at the well
  • The prostitute being stoned by the town’s folk
  • Saul, a.k.a. Paul of Tarsus
  • The blind, lame, lepers, unbelievers, criminals and dead who encountered Jesus
  • The father, older, and younger brother in the Prodigal son story

….. and other people, whether real or imagined in a parable who were included in the bible. (As almost a footnote I would add a list of modern day people including some family members, friends, and pastors. But, I wont bother because you won’t likely know any of them).

Before I answer the obvious question, “why this exhaustive list of people?” Did you notice the one name missing, though referred to several times? I did not list Jesus. How does someone have faith; believe in and trust Jesus without listing him first? My faith is in Jesus but the reason for that faith is rooted in how Jesus has responded to and related to humanity.

 

Why am I skeptical?

ThorI’m a science fiction fan. I love sci-fi stories and movies and the special effects that go along with them. So, when I read or hear stories of fantastical things like burning bushes that don’t burn, looming voices expressing great power, aliens capable of creating planets or destroying them, or magic that multiplies food to feed thousands I see it in my mind’s eye the same way as the three legged aliens in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds or the latest Transformers or Avengers movies.

Why I believe is not because this list of people believed in God or Jesus either. It’s too easy for masses of people to get drawn in by witnessing or hearing rumors of fantastic events or smooth talking preachers or politicians. Great, a whole village found the afterlife by jumping off a cliff. Good for them but ending a life is not living and any smooth talking magician who convince sheep to die can take a hike.

 

Why I do believe

I believe because of how God and Jesus had faith in, and believed in these people. I won’t expound on the exhaustive list (read the bible). But for example…

  • I believe that young David’s lack of fear was rooted in gifts or peace that God had given him. Later in his story as King, even with a compounding capacity to sin; including selfishness, lying, and trying to kill a man to have his wife, he was still referred to as, “a man after God’s own heart.”
  • Moses lived a lifetime outside of his heritage religion in selfish luxury, racial oppression (of his own people) and party to slave labor (again, of his own people). And yet, God saw favor in him, looked beyond his sinful, albeit ignorant, life and lack of self confidence and raised him up to act in a pivotal turning point of an entire culture.
  • Andrew and his cocky brother Peter were common fishermen. Not wealthy or educated. Not men raised under the tutelage of a local Rabbi (something I call Rabbi school dropouts). Simple minded tradesmen. Yet, Jesus raised them above their restrictive stations in life to begin a revolutionary counter-cultural faith movement never before, or since, experienced in this world.

If you were a superior being, an alien of universal power, one with the reported supernatural abilities to bridge time and space and affect the course of humanity. Who would you deal with on planet earth? What type of people would you want to ally yourself with so they could support your cause? The highly educated? The wealthiest? The politically or socially powerful? Maybe the likes of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, a Senator or President? Maybe Jay-Z or Oprah or Donald Trump? Maybe some mega-church preacher like Rob Bell, T.D.Jakes, Joel Osteen, or Mark Driskell? Maybe a social pillar like Martin Luther King Junior or the guy who runs Tom’s shoes, Chick-fil-a or Hobby Lobby?

I might. God didn’t.

God worked through the typical man and woman. Not the top of the heap and not just the bottom. He worked with mankind at our best, worse, and otherwise.

shepherdEven at Christmas. Surrounding the birth of Jesus we see this theme of consideration of the breath of mankind by this greater power. On the day of his birth supernatural aliens (a.k.a. Angels) came to the lowest form of human in the area; shepherds, to start the flow of communication announcing the wonders of this world changing event. Imagine it, asking the least educated, least considered, most ignored group of people to be bearers of the most important news of your movement!

Tthreekings0011hen, some two years later three highly educated and respected men from far away lands found their way to the babies crib to offer it not only tokens of their finest wealth but their humility and respect as they bowed in reverence to this infant king.

Speaking of consorting with the lowest peoples: Jesus was reportedly in constant contact both in intellectual debate and physical touch with the blind, lame, lepers and famous sinners as well as the elite knowledge keepers of the age.

Why do I believe?

Because I am a sinner. I am no one of particular significance in this age yet, as made evidenced by the way God, the ruler of the Universe, and Jesus, his life saving, love spreading, grace giving, merciful son gave consideration to men and women of equally sinful and insignificant lives, he loves me. He (God in all form) believes in and has faith in me. He does not see my sin. He does not see my lack of wealth, strength, intellect, or stature yet, he loves me.

This.

This is why I believe and have faith.