Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Faith is a Fight

Faith is complex!  Whenever I hear a person say; "just believe", or, "faith is simple," or, "that guy has a simple faith," I want to cringe.  Saying that faith is simple is like saying a nuclear reactor is simple, E=MC2 is simple, quantum mechanics is simple, or the Human Genome Project is simple.  Faith simply isn't simple.  Faith the most complex and most difficult human experience in our entire lives.  

I am convinced that God meant for faith to be the most basic elemental building block in every human life, as well as being the most complex meta-physical dynamic in the entire universe.  The Bible says; "Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see."  (Heb. 11:1).  Oh...Now I get it....:-)

Here are some ideas that have helped me to begin to grasp some small part of my own, "faith walk".     
1.  Faith is trust.  Faith is allowing our own cognitive understanding of a problem be superseded by our trust that God has a better plan, a better answer, a fuller understanding.  
2.  Faith is belief.  Faith is a deep sense of belief that God's plans will prevail, even when we don't understand them.
3.  Faith is knowing.  There is always small "k" knowing and big "k" knowing.  Small "k" are the things we know based on facts.  Big "k" knowing is represented by the things we understand that is not based on facts.  I know, for example, that my wife is at work right now and that she is alive.  She is living and breathing.  I do not have facts in front of me to support this, but I know it
4.  Faith is a feeling.  When we feel deep down that something is true, we can't explain it, but we intuit an understanding.  My mother woke up the other day and just felt that her brother had passed away.  She felt...capital "F" feeling.  At that moment, the phone rang, her brother had just passed away, 5,000 miles from her.

Here is my latest out of the box idea....Faith is actually also a fight!  Everything in this world has a tendency to pull our gaze, our focus or our heads downward.  So, Faith is the daily fight that we engage in to hold our head up, despite the things that work to pull our gaze downwards.

Our faith as Christ followers isn't an etherial philosophical dynamic that stands alone...

***  Our Faith is in Jesus Christ.  Literally, what we hold fast to in our lives is the idea that our Trust, our Belief, our Knowing, our Feeling, our Fight resides within the living reality of Jesus Christ.  Inside of it...

So, as I was saying...faith is complex

All for now,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sadness and Fear

I woke up today to learn about a friend who just lost his job and who, with his new wife, has to vacate his apartment and move in with his parents.  I was contemplating this loss and my sadness for him as I sat at my computer in my office at home.  My heart full of sorrow for him. My office was silent, except for the clicking of my computer keys.  Then, out of nowhere, a voice behind me said, "Hi, how are you?"  I jumped nearly a foot out of my chair.  As it turns out, my own wife had forgotten to tell me that the house cleaners were coming today and that they would let themselves in with their own key. Now, here's the thing, I am not a generally fearful person.  I don't jump very often when I watch a movie that's scary, or get bad news...

What am I rambling on about?  I think there is a sometimes a connection between sadness and fear.  When we are sad we are more prone to being afraid.  When we are afraid, it is often a result of some depressing situation that we are dealing with.  I wish I understood synaptic neurological psychological programming of the human brain enough to know if there is any scientific proof for my newfound theory.   

As I have observed the recent downturn of our economy in America, I have wondered about the connection between sadness and fear.  People are hurting, so they become afraid about their lives and then they lash out.  

The Bible says, "there is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made in perfect love." (1 John 18)

I suppose the simple remedy for fear then, is to reach beyond sadness, somehow, and look for perfect love.  Jesus Christ is perfect love.  He is the only one who has ever been perfect.  He is the only one who has perfectly loved us.  Knowing how to embrace perfect love, however, is another question.

For now, I will try to remember whom I have given the key to my house, and when I they might be stepping into my office unannounced.

All for Now,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


So, I am visiting my family in Merced this weekend.  My very macho, very farming, very cowboy, very American family.  This is family that have been in California for 6 generations, and involved with winning rodeos, growing Almonds (AMANDS), staking claims on property, spitting in the mud - tobacco or whatever else.  We're talking apple pie, chevrolet (or at least Ford F150), and all that.

So, we are looking at family photographs hanging on the wall - iconic photographs, the kind that get hung in the Whitehouse and places like that.  And my great second aunt once removed says, "That's a picture of Adam Kahl....who was, of course, Jewish!"  My aunt carried on in her prattle about family history, like she had done it a hundred times before.  "Hold on," I said.  "What was that about my great, great, great grandpa being Jewish?"  "Well, it's a family secret, nobody wants to talk about it, but he was Jewish.  It is confirmed.  I mean look at him, he was as Jewish as...." "Alright, Alright I got it," I said.  "So, that makes me about 10% Jewish? I asked.  "Looks like it," said my aunt.

It has taken me three days to process this new information about myself.  Frankly, I'm elated.  I always knew there was something sort of unique about myself that I have been unable to put my finger on for years.  For years I thought it was a cognitive programming, attitudinal behavior, what have you.  Finally, I know what it is.  I am part Jewish.  I am of the same race, at least in part; of Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, John Stewart, Sarah Silverman....and Jesus! Lekhayim!!!

Honestly, I don't have any particularly deep insights about this newly discovered personal revelation.  Except this...Embrace where you have come from, Embrace from whom you have come, and most of all, who you have been made - in Christ.  For all of us, our personal identity is made up of our cultural heritage, our national ethnicities, our environmental influences, our biological makeup.  And yet, the most important thing about ourselves is that when we are Christ followers, we are one in Christ.  The apostle Paul said it better; Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above...Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian...but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:1-11).

Come to think of it, Paul was also Jewish...

All for now, 
Graham "Jesse" Baird