Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Reconciling our faith with the current moment. How authentic is our faith?
By Bruce Weik & Peter Schwartzman

     With Christmas just around the corner, we feel it is a good time to examine our faith as it plays out in our lives and the community. As Galesburg is probably 95% Christian, among those that practice religion, we are going to emphasize Christianity. Our hope is for more diversity and choice in the future.
     Suppose the sky broke open and your God fell out. What would you ask, if you were given one minute of his or her time?  Would you wonder if a right-wing Republican was held in more esteem than a liberal Democrat? Or if a billionaire businessman is more important than a homeless person? Or if a preacher is more holy than my transsexual neighbor?
     Perhaps your questions would be more personal. For example: Is my life on the right track? How are my chances of entering the Kingdom? Do I have an inside track being a Christian? Should I become a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, or adopt Judaism?
     Remember, you would likely have limited one-on-one time with God. Would you wonder: Do I follow the right religion? Go to the right church? Say the right prayers?
     On the other hand, would you take this precious time to ask something bold, like: Why don’t you straighten out the mess we find ourselves in? Why do you let children suffer? Can’t you do something about my sick husband/wife? With a twitch of our finger, couldn’t you find food for the hungry? Shelter for the homeless? Surely you can get this climate change thing taken care of?
     Clearly, the harder we think about it, the more convoluted that one minute becomes.
     Okay, the minute exercise is up, but there are still important questions about your faith to consider. Where do you go to get your faith fortified or your soul renewed?  Perhaps you don’t go to church at all, but go to the forest, a river, the mountains, the ocean, or some other power place, to energize your spiritual self. Maybe you exercise, do yoga, read spiritual-meditation books, or follow daily devotionals. Perhaps you escape to your own backyard getaway. Either way, isn’t it important to renew yourself?
     Thinking about this, is it fair to ask: Are we being authentic with our faith? Thinking locally, we wonder if our needs for faith are being met in Galesburg?
We do seem to have a lot of churches. Do all of these churches translate into people actively living out their faith in the community? Is our faith adding to the common good--that sense of binding solidarity that moves us all together: the have’s and have-not’s, the rich and poor, young and old, black and white, home grown and immigrant, Christian and Muslim?  Strong forces are acting to deny this.  Jim Willis, founder of Sojourners, in his new book, “Christ in Crisis,” calls this moment antithetical to everything Jesus valued, taught and modeled for his followers. He refers to it as “Anti-Christ politics.” Will our churches and its people’s remain quiet and unresponsive to these challenges? Or will we step forward, acting out our belief in Christ’s calling for what is possible through transformation and commitment?
     We keep coming back to questions. Questions, we’re guessing, we all share. Our next podcast will be December 12, 6-8 pm, at the Knox County Brewing Co.: “Our faith and the collective (common) good.” Come share your questions and thoughts.

No comments:

Post a Comment