August 22, 2020

02

The Sound at Sunset 11/01/2008 — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Faith-as-belief is another word for denial.
Belief discounts,
dismisses,
disregards,
ignores
facts
in favor of a different perception of reality.
We believe ourselves out of one world,
into another.

Keeping faith with ourselves,
on the other hand,
enables us to live in this world
exactly as it is,
as those who are not disabled by it,
but are focused on bringing ourselves forth,
on doing-right-by-ourselves,
within the context and circumstances
of each situation as it arises.

Keeping faith grounds us 
in what is deepest/truest/best about us--
our Original Nature,
The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born,
Who We Always Have Been
And Who We Will Be--
integrated/whole/at-one-within
in the work of incarnating
our gifts/genius/daemon/spirit/virtues/character/vitality
moment-by-moment-by-moment
day-by-day
throughout our life.

So, what do we mean by "faith"?
Something we believe?
The doctrines and creeds of organized religion?
Or something we do
in living faithfully to the core and purpose
of who we are?

What do we mean by "being faithful"?
Faithful to someone else's idea of who we are supposed to be
and what we are supposed to do?
Or faithful to our inner nature
and true to our sense of what is called for
and what we need to do in response
out of our realization of what is asked of us
in the moment of our living?

The one thing Jesus did not do, 
for instance,
was to stop and ask what somebody else would do
in the moment of his living.

Faithful to our own Original Nature,
we are free to live spontaneously,
extemporaneously,
improvisationally,
here and now 
in light of what is happening
and what needs to be done about it
in the this time and this place of our living.

And that is the kind of faith 
that transforms the world.

–0–

01

Smoky Mirror — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Only the left half of this image is actual.
I copied it, flipped it and attached it to itself to create the mirror effect.
Do not drive there thinking you will see this.
Faith-based religion is like an AA meeting
in which everybody declares they are not an alcoholic.

"I'm Jim, and I am NOT an alcoholic!"
"My father was an alcoholic and I wouldn't touch the stuff!"
"I've been a tee-totaler all my life!"
And they pay the preacher to tell them they are all drunks.
Drunk on denial.
And they deny it.

Every church is a denial factory.
Churning it out.
Passing it around.
Giving it away.

You can't make sense of it.
It defies belief.
The best you can hope for
is to walk away,
shaking your head,
muttering to yourself.

You cannot make people see
who think they see just fine.
Who think you are the one who can't see.
People who see in the Land of the Blind
are crucified.
Or ignored.

There is no solution. 
Leave the dead to bury the dead,
and go off into the west
to live out your life among the forests
and mountains.
At one with the natural world
that is just as it is.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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