Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Health and Faith

Continuing the theme of 'what is faith' I have another illustration to present - I have to thank Tom Wright for this one. During part 4 of his 'Future of the People of God' talks (back in 2004) he drops in a thought to assist the communication of his views on the authority of scripture, I'd like to reappropriate and expand on that thought just a little...

Think about the concept of health. Is health something that you can ever possess ultimately and irrevocably? You certainly can't possess it as a commodity or an object - you can't buy it or sell it or give it or steal it. You can't even be prescribed health by a doctor - the best they can give you is a drug which may or may not improve your health if you take it according to the instructions. And in all these ways and many more health is a lot like faith. There are ways we can live our lives to improve our health, environments that will work for or against our health, things we can consume which will either help or hinder our health. I don't think I need to push the point do I?

So, to bring this in to land, you may have experienced some mysterious moment when faith was given to you as a gift from God. Or you may have been fortunate enough to have grown up in a relational context where your faith was cultivated almost without your knowledge of the process happening. However you came to a first awareness of your faith, thereafter you have a responsibility to look after and 'work out' that faith. This is why I believe we need new forms of church that are based around a concept more akin to a gym than a cafeteria. In this new model of church our involvement will be more about getting stretched rather than getting fed. Is anybody up for that?

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