15 October 2007

Personal Faith

Tonight at church we had a guest speaker. One of our congregation member's father who is a missionary in China. He talked about the exciting things going on in the Christian community in China and he pointed out the continuing struggle they have as they try to spread the word with the pressure of the communist party breathing down their necks. Something he said really got me thinking though...he said that the official government stance is that you are free to choose to have faith in anything (any religion, any god) in your heart but not outloud. It's so twisted how they say you have a freedom to choose and to believe but you can't do anything about it. It would be so frustrating and defeating to whole heartedly pursue God within but be unable to do things like public prayer, musical worship, Bible study etc. It also makes me think of this idea of our belief systems being different inwardly and outwardly. I have a friend who has recently stopped believing in the Christian faith after years of basically faking it. She didn't really believe on the inside but outwardly professed a faith. How many people are like that? How many Christians are like that? As you know by my recent post I've feeling a bit pessimistic lately and having trouble believing in the genuiness of people around me and this is just another step in that direction. I worry that in the church there are a lot of fakers. I wish people could just be more real...I wish that we supported people enough in our churches and made them feel comfortable enough that they could express their real feelings even it it means they admit to struggling with their faith. The church often doesn't want to deal with the bad so we gloss over it and don't bring it up. But I think that people's faith would be stronger and better developed if they were allowed to doubt and challenge as they explored finding the Truth. I suppose there are probably a few people in my life that are the other way, seeking God on the inside while keeping a distance from Christianity on the outside...but they seem to be in the minority. This post is not meant to be another bitter release but more of a challenge for all of us to face the reality of the incongruence between our inner selves and outer selves. I think that the Chinese government knows that if you can separate peoples inner and outer then it's really hard to be completely sold out to a belief so for those of us in a society that doesn't have these strict rules, let's start to bring those parts of ourselves closer together as a new unified, more authentic self.

6 comments:

Grandpa Steve said...

Good thoughts for pondering.

Keep posting these wonderings as it helps me and I'm sure others to think more deliberately about our Christian lives.

Becky said...

Hmmm, I hope it's not me you're referring to as the one who was "faking" faith. I'd like to think if you had issues with me, you'd come right out and state them.

If I'm wrong about my assumption, then I take it back. Otherwise, I have no need for passive aggressive condemnation, thanks.

Kristin, Katrina & Nate said...

Agreed, brother....agreed...

Judy said...

What the communist government isn't realizing is that the Christian faith always becomes more pure and strong when it is persecuted. The western church has become more about entertaining programs and filling pews at all cost(ie.not mentioning that we need to lay down our lives for the gospel)than proclaiming the gospel.We're too interested in the 'highs' of worship and telling ourselves that we are a wonderful bunch and that somehow we can be 'of the world AND in it' and mesh that with our faith.I have become too comfortable.I admire those unsung heroes of the faith in China.They have much to teach me. Wow, a rant from me!

Ian H. said...

Of course there are fakers in the church - everytime you have an argument with your family Sunday morning, then walk smiling through the door of the church, you are faking it. The church needs to become the place we are most comfortable expressing our deepest insecurities and yes, our faults. Instead, it's become a contest to see which of us is holiest, which of us is the most perfect. Because people are unwilling to trust in the security of our position with God, we feel the need to add a layer of perfect self over our authentic selves.

Buster Stronghart said...

Searching on the inside while keeping quiet on the outside describes me and most of my frineds. We have doubt, we are uncertain, and yet we have enough faith that we keep on searching.
Buster Stronghart.blogspot.com

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