Keeping the Faith

Leave room for growth in faith

TomGehring

TOM GEHRING

tjgehring11@ole.augie.edu
 

We all know the story. I think several of us can relate to it quite well. A child is born. Said child is baptized, goes through Sunday school, attends confirmation, celebrates his confirmation with the rest of his class, but then his faith journey ends there. Almost as if all the steps leading up to the confirmation were just key points to set up a “graduation” experience, not only from faith, but from God.

I once heard a mom say to the gathered extended family on confirmation Sunday (after having taken family pictures at the baptismal font), “Well, it started at the font, and now it ends at the font. Let’s go get lunch.” Kinda scary stuff in my opinion.

Recently, in one of my religion seminar discussions, we started to illustrate the Christian faith as a journey. However, I don’t think this journey has a set destination or end point. It’s more of a circular track. This circularity manifests itself in several familiar ways, such as the need to “die to one’s self daily” or needing to constantly re-hear the good news of God because news is always “new.”

The Christian faith is one of repetition and rebirth. We aren’t just reborn into God to die as His “chosen people.” We die to our sin and are reborn in Christ every day of our lives.

But the cool thing about the repetition of this faith journey is that it allows for change. We aren’t bound to do the same monotonous things every day of our lives. Yes, we are constantly being reborn, and it is repetitive. But the world still changes, and so do we. We grow, go to college, learn new things, and interpret the world differently.

As we change, our faith changes with us, and so do the ways we can interact with and view God. God is God. That never changes, but relationships change. The worst relationships are static, and God is anything but static. And since we are all in a relationship with whatever and whoever God is, it would be a crime to assert that our relationship with Him (or her) is not able to grow as we do, to change as we do.

So think about that for a while. Instead of faith needing to be something that is constant in our lives, maybe it can move and grow with us, all while retaining the firm foundation we stand upon. Instead of God being some concrete ultimatum that either loves the whole world or damns it to hell, maybe that’s just the past relationships others have had with God talking, and it’s time for us to grow and change in our own relationships with God and with one another.

I’ll say it again: the worst relationships are those that are static. So as you change, my prayer is that your relationship with God will change as well.