Saturday, June 13, 2015

Faith vs. Trust

I wrote this to someone three years ago (I know because Tegan is 5 now, not 2) and just came across it while looking at my documents library. Thought I'd share it here.


Where I come from, people often ask “Are you a believer?” We're too polite here in New England to ask such questions. Which is just as well with me since I'm never sure how to answer questions like “Do you believe such and such?”

I think what most people mean when they ask about 'believing' is something like 'agreement with a particular doctrine' or 'knowing something is true even thought it's unprovable.'

In other words, questions of faith and belief usually have something to do with intellectual assent to some particular thing—that Jesus was born of a virgin or turned water into wine or any of those things. I'm made uncomfortable by such questions. For one thing, the Greek word we translate as “believe” is Pistos and Pistos could also be translated as “Trust”.

Now we're talking sense--'trust' is something I can relate to. There are people I'd 'trust' with my life. I 'trust' is God—like the money used to say, but I'm pretty foggy about the details of theology. I tend to take most Creeds and theologies with a grain of salt—or perhaps several grains.

You know how Jesus is always saying we need to be like little children to enter the Kingdom? I think what he's talking about is the 'trust' that children have in the 'big people' around them. I watch my son toss his two year old up in the air and catch her. Tegan laughs and laughs and doesn't for a moment imagine Josh might drop her. I used to do the same with him.

That's where I can get some spiritual footing: 'trusting' in God. Depending on how I'm doing that day, my answer about what I 'believe' might vary. But good times and bad, I 'trust' that God is in control, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Shalom, Jim

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.