What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fear and Faith: Two Responses to the Same Situation

Just got back from spending a couple days with several InterVarsity staff in Chicago. We were discussing what it meant to help our work on campus grow numerically and develop in faithful ways.

One of the coolest parts about my job is that I get to occasionally spend time with people from across the country who are deep, wise, innovative, and way more gracious than I will ever be.

And in spending a couple of days together, of course there's going to be gems of insight shared.

One such gem came out during a conversation about helping people through the fear of change. We were discussing how a proposal that we were making would generate fear in certain people.

"Fear," said one woman on the committee, "is the exact same thing as faith. Both of them are responses to something unknown."

Been thinking about that thoughtful insight for the past day or so. Fear and faith are both in operation in the same context: the unknown. I wonder if fear is the defensive movement, the self-protective, self-preserving response to what's unknown. And faith, then, is the proactive, engaging, even risky response to the unknown.

What's somewhat striking about all this is that "people of faith" aren't typically thought of as people who take risks or who are bold. Typically I think of "people of faith" as very nice, sedentary, predictable, orderly and civil.

But faith at work is seldom predictable or sedentary. In those rare moments in my own life when I've really lived out of a center of gravity of faith rather than fear, it's led me to do some things that I might not have done were I in my right mind.

Jesus at points throughout his ministry would comment on the faith (or lack thereof) of individuals or communities that he encountered. I shudder to think what he might have said about me had I bumped into him on a dusty road somewhere in Galilee.

But for today I think that my colleague's insight is enough to get me thinking and praying about how I might begin to take off fear as a response to the unknown--fear of failure, rejection, insufficient provision, insufficient emotional or physical stamina, and all the other host of fears that operate just below the surface--and replace those with faith.

1 comment:

Primal0ne said...

Love the headline to your Blog. That C.S. Lewis series was fantastic. Lewis' life reminds me that sometimes in order to see something like religion in the correct light, one has to be on both sides of the coin for a while. An academic exploration of your soul with no believe in god can be one of the strongest ways to realize your need for God. But it risks losing your religion... which few want to risk. As Lewis said "I was angry with God for not existing."
The internal struggle with Piebald could not have existed without views from both sides of a faithful/faithless believer.

Anyway I just dont run into manny people who appreciate that space trilogy, so when i saw your blog i had to comment.

PS: you should consider allowing anonymous comments. Currently one must have a blogger account in order to post. The internet is about freedom. just a reminder