i've been thinking a lot recently about what it means to 'have' faith. we talk about faith and the Christian experience in very possessive terms, and i wonder if this is correct. perhaps in some ways it is. but if we're not careful, our faith becomes only about 'me,' and how i feel, what i feel God calling me to do, and we forget to think about others in relationship to faith. and that's funny... because the whole nature of who Jesus was had to do with self-sacrifice, and of serving others. He was brought into this world and left it in the must humble ways possible...humility for the sake of humanity. and so i struggle with some notions of what 'having faith' means. For instance, a phrase that is commonly used in evangelism is "accepting" or "receiving" Jesus. i really don't like these terms, mostly because i don't really know what that means. it sort of conjures up this image of God as a magic pill, and i think that's extremely dangerous territory to be walking on. it also leads to the notion that God is to be molded to us, instead of vice versa. shouldn't our language be more about deciding to follow our Creator, instead of Him following us? just a thought.
i'm reading through Hosea with my sunday school class. as we read through hosea 1, we started talking about the notion that the Lord was asking Hosea to do some pretty ridiculous things. Marry a prostitute, love her, name the kids after things like 'vengeance' and 'not my people.' (i'm wondering what my brother is going to name my nephew... i really hope those aren't on the list...). one conversation we had last week stuck with me... that God was not speaking to Hosea for Hosea's benefit, but for the benefit of the people of Israel. God is about the edification of the Church, and not just me. how does this play out as we live our lives in a society that tells us to think about me, and me alone? even in our lives of faith, i think it's still an easy temptation to think about what God wants me to do, instead of how my actions will affect the whole.