My Faith is my own thing…

7 Mar

Heard in conversation the other week: “Yeah I have faith, but it’s my own thing.”

About half the time people tell me this, they don’t actually have any meaningful faith (i.e. they can’t point to any difference in their lives as a result of their faith nor can they point to what it means to them). The other half of the time the God people are worshipping is some creation of their own mind usually resembling a kind cosmic grandpa. As always, I respect people’s right to disagree with me – but I do think that both these approaches are wrong and that these folks are missing out on the experience of worshipping the true God, having a relationship with him, and doing this in the context of a community.

What’s so bad about having my own thing?

I have two issues: first, since you invented the thing – it’s unlikely to be true. Unless you invented God, in which case – you ARE God. I am all for creativity and I don’t think people who know me would accuse me of falling lockstep into any ideology or crowd. That being said, when it comes to worldview – specifically the faith based aspects of worldview – it’s ok to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Again, bucking an established religious trend doesn’t make you wrong; bucking all established religious trends and still saying you have faith in something probably does.hiding

Second, if it’s only your thing then no one else can join you. This seems like a lonely experience. I believe we were designed to be in community with other people in every aspect of our lives: work, family, friends, and faith. Just because my faith is personal, it certainly isn’t private.

How to engage these notions in conversation

There is no set program or response, I’ve had success with things I thought would fail and vice versa. Similarly, things that have been meaningful for some have been inconsequential for others. People are individuals and treating them as such is of paramount importance. Some questions I like to ask include the following:

  • You say your faith doesn’t really impact your day to day life, would you like it to? I think God is ready and willing to interact with you if you’re interested.
  • If you like God, but reject all the traditions about his nature then where does your understanding of God come from?
  • Is it possible that if God exists he could reveal some of his personality to us? (yes) What do you think that would look like?
  • I agree that faith is a deeply personal thing, but I don’t think it’s meant to be private. How would you invite your future spouse or children to participate in something that is exclusively your own thing?

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but if you’re looking for some starting ground for this common objection then these questions could help.

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4 Responses to “My Faith is my own thing…”

  1. SHARAT BABU March 7, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Brother, thank you for this blessed message. Babu

    • stevewimmer March 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Babu – thanks for all the kind words and encouragement!

  2. amphomma March 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    These are wise words! I am praying more and more to share what I’ve been given!

    • stevewimmer March 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

      It’s a tough task for sure… thanks for the encouragement!

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