Tuesday, January 02, 2007

4 Wheel Drive Faith

Now don't read to much into this, but the first book I'm going to quote on this new blog is by liberal theologian Marcus Borg. I've been reading his 'The Heart of Christianity' over Christmas and finding myself being both aroused and affronted by it almost simultaneously. In keeping with one of my favourite maxims 'eat the meat and spit out the bones' I'd like to dwell on what's good about the book. Borg gives a great deal of attention to concepts of faith. He begins with a negative, "For many today, faith means... believing 'iffy' things to be true", but uses that to open up a superb series of insights. So what does he have to offer?

1) Faith as Assensus. This type of faith is the one most commonly practised by evangelicals, it is faith as defined by belief in a certain set of truth claims. Borg's point is that this is not the only type of faith, far from it. 2) Faith as Fiducia. This is a radical trusting in God, becoming relaxed in a deep knowledge that God is good and he is for us. 3) Faith as Fidelitas. This is love language, it requires us to be attentive to the relationship we have with God, and to honour him by loving the things he loves. 4) Faith as Visio. This final description of faith is about how we see the reality around us. True faith will not allow us to succomb to fear when considering the world we live in. Visio retains a sense of wonder at God's world and ought to profoundly impact the way we live our lives.

Let me share some images with you to bring these thoughts together a bit. In the last few years I've found that having a Christian faith based entirely on Assensus is rather precarious - a bit like making a journey by pogo stick. I'd encourage you to consider how you might embrace all these four varieties of faith. After all why travel by pogo stick when there's the opportunity to go four-wheel drive?

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