Archives For faith

Can I be vulnerably honest with you (since most days I’m apparently lying like a panicked politician)?

If I had lived in Jesus day.  Heard His teachings in real time.  Watched him heal the sick.  Feed the hungry.  Devour the religious elite like leftover barley loaves and Galilean lake-perch.  I’m still not sure I would’ve believed.

Seriously.

Honestly.

I wonder.

It’s so easy to read Scripture with all I know, with all I’ve learned and ingested, with the energy of my Christian culture cheering me on like a breakaway NFL running back, and feel sorry (actually more judgmental) for those that doubted.  Those that questioned.  Those that struggled to really believe this ordinary carpenter they’d known since birth was actually the Savior of the world.

Even his own biological brothers mocked Him in disbelief. (John 7:5)

Those poor ignorant people.  There there.  How could you possibly be so blind?  Wake up! They’re gonna be writing songs about this guy for millennia. Erecting Gothic cathedrals in His honor.  Seeing His face in burnt toast.

(photo from the Make Blog)

Until I stop to ponder one thing: believing in Jesus could not have been more counter-culture in His day. It would have battled every assumption, every expectation, and every ingrained impulse in their being.  Following Jesus was swimming against the current.  Like a Hollywood actor admitting he voted for George Bush kinda crazy.

For me, it’s always been 100% downstream.  I would be breaking my cultural norms not to believe. Which leads me to ask this difficult question:

Is a rubber-stamp, unchallenged, culture-pleasing faith really faith at all?

Isn’t wrestling with what it really means to be a follower of Jesus an imperative part of the journey?  Isn’t facing doubt head on a requirement for developing an authentic faith? Of having an actual encounter with Jesus?

I can attest, it certainly has been for me.

Jesus isn’t afraid of my doubts.  I’ve actually found Him quite comfortable there. Ready to show me who He really is, not just the (toast crumbed?) picture my culture Has handed me.

Do you ever feel guilty for wrestling with doubt?

Where Do My Dreams Fit?

Erik Cooper —  September 1, 2010 — 5 Comments

I jotted these sketches in my journal the other day.  What do they stir up in you?  Are they right?  Or do I just need more art classes?

Where do my dreams fit into the journey of becoming a true follower of Jesus Christ?

The way I think many see faith:

The way I think many treat the ministry:

The true calling of The Gospel:

Talk to me.  What do you think?

A guy emailed me this week to ask my opinion on a well-known Christian leader.  Prophet or a heretic? It was a valid question.  A discussion I’ve seen floating around emails, blogs, and internet chat rooms for years.

But as I was preparing my (obviously brilliant and insightful) answer, I paused.  Were this guy’s assumptions formulated on first hand knowledge or was he simply regurgitating the thoughts and opinions of others?  Better yet, was the answer I was preparing to fire off with reckless abandon founded on my personal convictions or a conglomeration of things I had heard others say?

The reality?  I had no idea what I was talking about.

I had never read a book, listened to a message, even viewed a tweet post of the leader in question.  Yet I was about to wax eloquence on his character and calling. The validity of His message.  I was preparing to vomit a bunch of other people’s opinions that supported my preconceived notions and validated my worldview.  Even if I had been factually right, I think I would have been terribly wrong.

The Bible is very clear in its warning to test what we hear:

“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
-1 John 4:1 (MSG)

But I wonder how many times I’ve abdicated that responsibility?

I’m not condoning a lone-ranger lifestyle.  We need the correction and accountability that comes from solid community. I’ve had the revelations of others open my mind to incredible insights I would have never seen on my own.  But many of us are too quick to blindly adapt to a position handed to us by someone else.  Usually someone who can talk faster, think quicker, or has a nice looking blog.

Have we lost the ability to wrestle for the truth? Or maybe just the desire?  Are we afraid?  Weak?  Just give me the answer (or better yet,  post it on Facebook.  That’s more efficient).

For some, faith itself is cheap.  Lazy.  A faded copy of an old picture someone else handed to you.

I don’t want to live that way.  To lead that way.  A collection of Twitter re-tweets and Facebook shares.  I want my own encounter with the Creator of the Universe.  I want to hear Him whisper my name.  To speak to the deep places of my heart.  To know His voice.  To live with His conviction.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let Him tell you Himself.

Lazy Faith?

Erik Cooper —  February 22, 2009 — Leave a comment

“He creates each of us by Christ Jesus, to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Eph. 2:10 MSG)

We are not saved by work or deeds, but we are definitely called to them and expected to act.  In Evangelical circles, I fear we’ved used the truth of “saved by faith alone” as an excuse to by lazy…to just exist…and not respond.  The apostle James was right – faith expresses in good works.  Inactive, just existing faith…is it even faith at all?

It’s time for the Body of Christ to embrace more than just the role of mouth…it’s time to be His hands and feet as well.