Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Back to the Well of Faith

I have an institution in my life in which I must have faith, but it is sometimes hard to hold on to. We all have such organizations in our lives, be they schools, churches, community action groups, and even our families. Those of you who know me personally can probably guess the institution of which I am writing, but that really does not matter. All human institutions are flawed, because they consist of complex, dynamic, and imperfect human beings.

The institution I am writing of has, either with intention or unthinkingly, done hurtful things to me and others over the years. There have been times that I have looked longingly at other such institutions, wondering if I should move to one of them. I have questioned whether or not I made the right decision in joining it. I have been angry, frustrated, ashamed…

Now, this is not all I have felt with this particular institution. I have also, at times, felt affirmed, uplifted, enlightened… I have found community and growth in this institution. But, I admit that I have within me that human tendency to remember the times that were not as good as others.

I went through another such bout of feelings of hurt and anger in relation to this particular institution this week. I thought again about moving my energies (and money) somewhere else. And yet, I did not do it. By the end of the week I found a way to accept and understand what I was feeling, and not allow it to end my relationship with this organization, because, in my heart, I am a person of faith.

I’ve written before that faith is not about belief. You can have faith in a belief, but they are very different concepts. Faith is a kind of sacred trust, a trust that you enter into with your whole being. A trust that you dedicate your deepest self to.

This week, I realized that faith is also the kind of trust that you keep returning to, even when it has upset, hurt, and angered you. You are a person of faith not because of what you believe, but because of that ability to keep returning, even when you’ve been hurt.

Now, there comes a time when faith is broken. I know that there are certain things that this institution generic imitrex without prescription could do that I just could not accept. There are certain ways it could treat me and others that I simply could not abide. If I ever reach one of those times, then the only responsible response, the only faith-filled response, would be to tell them openly why my faith has been broken, and to leave, but in a spirit of love. Luckily, I have not reached the place where I have to make that decision… even if I have thought about it a few times.

It seems society has lost this part of an understanding of faith, the requirement that faith has to keep “coming back to the well”. Our common culture seems to tell us that, if something does not go our way, if someone or some organization does not do exactly what we want, then we should abandon them and move on. We heard echoes of this in the calls for Barrack Obama to abandon his former pastor. We hear echoes of this in the competition within a consumer culture. We see echoes of this in marriages that end quickly, as soon as the couple realizes that marriage is not exactly what they thought it would be.

Being a person of faith, making a commitment of faith, and living a life of faith are not about what you believe. They are about how much of yourself you are willing to risk when you give someone or some organization your trust. But it is also about how committed you are to that granting of trust, and how willing you are to stay in relationship even after that trust has been damaged or broken. It is about being willing to stay in relationship, in order for understanding to be reached, and for trust to be mended.

In my heart, I am a person of faith… and so I come back to the well again. I let my anger flow past me and through me. I re-dedicate myself to using the energy from that anger to not only make myself better, but to better the institution as well. I once again choose to place my sacred trust and commitment in this institution, (be it a church, an individual, a school, a community group, whatever). I choose to return again, to the well of faith.

Yours in Faith,


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