Taking A Closer Look At “Faith”

Recently a friend sent me an email recommending I check out a podcast that she found interesting.  One that had made an impact on her.

It wasn’t just some email forward either.  It was an actual piece of correspondence with a few paragraphs describing what the podcast was about and why she found it interesting.

I’m always on the lookout for good recommendations and when someone spends the time to share one with me the least I could do is check it out.  I got the email in the evening and downloaded the podcast so it would be ready for my morning commute.

The podcast she recommended was On Being with Krista Tippett.  In this particular episode she interviewed Nadia Bolz-Weber, founder and Pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver.

Nadia Bolz-Weber isn’t your typical Lutheran minister.  She’s a former addict and stand up comedian.  She’s covered in tattoos and has a shoot-from-the-hip, no-holds-barred speaking style.  It’s that style that I found interesting and refreshing.

There were several interesting moments throughout the nearly 52 minute interview but the part that stuck with me the most was her comments on faith (heard around the 44 minute mark).

This is what she said:

“I don’t think faith is given in sufficient quantity to individuals, necessarily.  I think it’s given in sufficient quantity to communities.  And the same with that whole thing, like God will not give you more than you can bear.  I don’t think God will give you more than a community can bear.  And we’ve individualized this thing of faith so much in a way that makes it inaccessible to people.”

There are several times in my life where my faith has seemed so small… but fortunately I had a strong faith community to lean on in those times.

Statements like that remind me that I don’t have to go it alone.  Faith does not and should not be just me thing.  We are all the body of Christ and we’ll all move forward a lot farther and faster together than on our own.

That seems counterintuitive to where society is headed… but that in itself could be a whole ‘nother blog post.

I’ve been thinking about the topic of faith a lot today.  What I keep coming back to is this:  I think faith is like a muscle.  The more you use it and exercise it the stronger it grows.

Part of that exercise needs to be done on your own through reading the Bible, devotions, prayer, and personal reflection.

But there is another part, too.  One where you need the guidance of a Pastor, the community of a church, and the accountability of a small group.

Put both of those parts together and you can grow your faith.

This has certainly been my experience.

What about you?  What are your thoughts on faith?  Do you agree with the comment above from Nadia Bolz-Weber?

Nadia Bolz-Weber is also the author of the book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint.

Download/listen to the podcast mentioned above here.

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