Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Excerpt #5 (Belief)

Here's another little excerpt from my book, Outsourcing God.
This time we'll discuss the implication of BELIEF...

Belief encompasses a large spectrum of ideas, thoughts, history, and forward momentum. Belief is not something to be taken lightly. Belief is defining. And by saying belief; unbelief, and doubt, is also part of the equation. The amount of doubt one carries, the wrestling soul, the questions of the mind, all play into one's belief. But what I'm finding all too often is that our belief has been hijacked - not by conflicting faiths or organizations, but by ourselves. Rather than growing, binding and loosing, sharpening us in seeking true transformation, our belief has become stagnant, status quo, and eventually fades.

The misnomer of this conundrum is that my belief is predicated on the belief of a single leader, or staff of leaders; but in truth, I choose to listen to and follow. And even though that leadership position (person and/or position) should be respected, should teach, should form, and should sharpen, it should not be the single determinant of the state of my belief.

Belief (should be) the result of the collective of a community that gathers, a community that serves, a community that listens, that grieves, and that rejoices together. In the book of Acts, the Bible tells us how to live together in true community. It describes people gathering together, unique on their own, but working together towards a common purpose. If for one minute we believe that our belief isn't affected by this community experience, we begin to kid ourselves. The community where each individual is authentically pouring over one another with grace, mercy, and love, has profound effects on what and how we believe.

Sadly though, we’ve entered a time where the hired leader of our community, the leader of our congregation, our small group, etc have named our beliefs. We've quietly squelched our ability to doubt, wrestle, and believe. Because the gods of convenience have for too long said, "do what you're told,” “act a certain way,” “behave like this or that," we have essentially given up our freedom and understanding of belief.

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