Finding Faith

Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
The life, the love, you die to heal
The hope that starts, the broken hearts
You trust, you must confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best,
The best of you?

(Foo Fighters – Best of You)

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23, 24

This is more or less a continuation of yesterday’s “Stripping down faith,” which I guess could all fall under the general heading of “Random Thoughts on Faith.” Perhaps I’ll start a new category…

I know people who, in the process of deconstructing or stripping down their belief system, either found at the end of the process that they had no faith, or perhaps found that their faith – the proverbial “baby” – had gone out with the bathwater. (or, in the famous words of Elaine from Seinfeld (spoken in a bad Aussie accent), “Maybe the dingos ate your baby.” (no, don’t ask me what it means – I’ve never figured it out.) As I’ve said before, I suspect that many atheists are not atheists at all – just disillusioned believers.

Finding faith, however, is the goal. There is a reason to believe (which reminds me of the old Rod Stewart song, which I may refer to later), though I completely understand why so many people, when they begin to lose faith in the various religious illusionary systems, also lose their faith in faith.

Jesus warned of this “baby and the bathwater” effect in Matthew 13, in his parable of the wheat and the tares. “Don’t pull the weeds,” the farmer in the parable states, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.

As I said, deconstructing your faith is a dangerous undertaking. Sometimes, however, it happens when illusions fail. The job then is to find faith, which is sometimes hard. In fact, proponents of the illusionary systems may actually oppose finding faith outside of the system, because they cannot separate faith in God from faith in the system.

Has someone taken your faith? Is someone getting the best of you?

All religious systems have “issues” that we have to put up with “until the harvest.” However, that’s not to say that we have to either like or support the system – we don’t have to feed the weeds, or protect the weeds, if it’s possible to avoid doing so without holding back from the wheat. And, we certainly aren’t stopped from vocalizing how much we hate the weeds…

Now, back to “Reason to Believe:”

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe.

Often when dealing with the church and religious systems (any group becomes such a system, given time), we recognize that we have, to some extent, been lied to, misdirected, or just plain messed up. The system often “gets the best of us” (sorry, reference back to the Foo Fighters). Still, we look to find that reason to believe.

Finding faith, preserving faith, growing faith – that’s our goal. If stripping down our faith helps, so much the better. But, our faith cannot depend on our being able to clear out the weeds – then we are indeed in trouble. Then, we are again putting faith in externals.

One way of looking at the Matthew 13 parable is this: every stalk of wheat is a reason to believe, a basis for faith. The presence of weeds doesn’t change anything, unless you require a weed-free field in order to believe. If that’s what you’re looking for, stick around till the harvest – but, I’m not sure you’d want to wait that long.

5 thoughts on “Finding Faith”

  1. Mr. McKeever! I do remember you… I started to figure it out, but for the life of me couldn’t remember your last name. When Sonia told me, about 300,000 brain cells all yelled, “yes!”

    You know, it’s weird, I have only very vague memories of the coffee house, and I don’t really know why. I could say that when I met my wife, the past ceased to exist… It’s partially true, but doubt I can blame a foggy memory on that. My sister will talk about things when we were kids, and I say, “was I there?” I haven’t been home in years- I get to Minot occasionally, but that’s about it. I used to see Karen Kemp (now Johnson) once in a while- we lived within a few hours of each other in CA, but I’ve lost touch there, too. The coffeehouse days – and I’m talking about that whole time period as well – was a pretty cool time, to be sure. There was an ad hoc sort of community that happened, that can’t be replicated. I think some of it was just because we were young and irresponsible (if you know what I mean); having a family and a real job and a mortgage and all that seem to get in the way of “the simple life.”

    Daniel Amos… I still listen to them. I even have them on CD now.

    And, elipses are fine… I use them way too much myself…

  2. In case you didn’t notice, I wasn’t just casually mentioning the coffee house (you seem like a really sharp guy, you wouldn’t want me to play the Sonia card again…); I was trying to prime the pump; maybe get a paragraph, or a page (or two)… Totally for my own gratification; it was such a (pick one: spiritual, magical, special) time in my life. Oddly 30 years later, after not talking to the friends I made there on a regular basis, I still can call them out of the blue and pick up like we never left off… Still hoping to do one more Daniel Amos song with Donnie, Bill and Greg… (I appologize for the over use of elipses… it a sickness, and attempt to mimic my actual speach pattern)…

  3. I know the Allen’s. I know who you are from the Coffee house, but can’t ever remember having a conversation… Did you ever meet or play with Dale Busse (red Gretch, wouldn’t forget that!)… Spell my name to Sonia, and she can fill you in. Ask her if she still has her “matian landscape” painting circa 1982.

  4. Oh my goodness – the Hamilton Christian Coffee House? I had completely forgotten that… I feel like Jason Bourne having flashbacks. I know this goes back to the early 70’s & the Kemp family… Donnie playing guitar…

    Okay, you’ve really tied my brain in knots- more clues?

    btw, thanks for the “dingo” background…

  5. RE:“Maybe the dingos ate your baby.” (no, don’t ask me what it means – I’ve never figured it out.)…
    It’s a quote from a made for TV movie, based on a true story about an Austrailian mother, put on trial for murdering her infant child while camping… she claimed that dingos had done the deed…
    On a completely different subject… what are your memories or the Hamilton Christian Coffee House?

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