Stripping down faith

So I guess the fortune-teller’s right
Should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
To crawl beneath my veins and now
I don’t care, I have no luck, I don’t miss it all that much
There’s just so many things that I can’t touch, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late, I’m already torn.

(Natalie Imbruglia – Torn)

Deconstructing or stripping down one’s faith is not something to be taken lightly; it’s at best a very delicate process, dumping the bathwater and trying to hang on to the baby. At worst case, you find that your faith is without foundation (in other words, all you ever had was bathwater). However, it’s probably best to find this out now, rather than later, so we aren’t surprised with “Do I know you?” on judgment day.

Stripping down your faith can also make you feel completely out of place in a typical American Christian environment, especially those which place a lot of emphasis on externals.

Jesus said, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Consider this: remove power over spirits, remove tithing (and the promise of a return on your investment), remove healing, remove all of the “how to be successful Christian” teachings, remove all of the externals – and can you rejoice? Is it possible to not just be satisfied, but to rejoice in just your salvation? Is Jesus enough?

Stripping down your faith means doing away with virtual reality systems, aka illusions, and finding out what’s really real. I really like these lines from “Torn”: Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn. That’s not to say that the externals are illusions – I’m not saying that at all. But, sometimes they’re so caught up in illusionary systems that you can’t tell what’s what.

Stripping down faith is not the same as losing faith – although it can look like it at times to people who can’t get past rejoicing that they have power over spirits (metaphorically speaking).

But, rejoicing in your salvation is a very cool thing.

2 thoughts on “Stripping down faith”

  1. Patty, thanks for sharing. God is indeed faithful, and as your story shows, able to do much more than we expect. We all tend to create the kind of reality that we think we want to live in… sometimes the process of stripping away all of that stuff can be pretty traumatic. To paraphrase the credit card commercials: “finding God in the center of it all… Priceless!”

  2. I don’t know if you can call what I went through “stripping down my faith,” but it is similar. Fifteen years ago my family was falling apart. I had sown to the wind, and was reaping the whirlwind-my marriage was night of the living dead, and my children were all out there trying to find relief anywhere they could find it. Anyway, I went desperately to a church that believed in God interviening in people’s lives and bringing about change even if it seemed absolutely impossible. I had never been to a churhc that sung “worship choruses” before. Well, as I was at the church the first song that we sang (with overhead aide) was “Give Thanks.” Amidst all the circumstancial troubles in our lives at that time, the words gave me that focused and foundational truth. The words go:Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. I sang and was grateful from my heart. I thought, even if nothing else changes in my “external life” the truth is that God gave Jesus Christ for my sins, and for that I can still be thankful because that is the one unchanging truth! By the way, all of my children came to accept Jesus, and the Lord continues to restore my marriage. (Mostly by bringing about changes in me)

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