Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Living Faithfully

And so we come back to the question:  Can I dare to live a life that exposes my beliefs, that tells the world what I believe, even at the risk of being misunderstood?  Last week I said that this is what living a life of faith is all about -- living as though you belive what you say you believe.  And on Monday I said that while the goal of communication is to try to convey as accurately as possible what is in my mind and heart to someone else, still there are times when it is worth it to risk confusion for a greater purpose.

For one thing, I noted the 12 Step spiritual practice of reminding oneself that "what you think of me is none of my business."  So if I live my life according to my beliefs and principles and you misunderstand them and me, so be it.  I'm not living so as to be understood by you, I'm living so as to be in accord with my beliefs and principles.  (I know, a much easier stance to say than to take, right?  Still . . .)

At the same time, factoring in Monday's post, there's something to be said for intentionally trying to expand the meaning of a word or, in this case, an assumption.  Because what are we really talking about here?  Let's be clear, shall we?

When I was in my first few years in the parish, I would check to make sure that no one was in the outer office, and then shut the door to my office, before I would do my morning mediation and chants.  I didn't want anyone to "catch" me doing my spiritual practice.  I didn't want anyone to think I was some kind of "religious nut."  Such was the prejudice I had internalized about people who were overtly religious that I was afraid anyone would mistake me for "one of them."  And I am an ordained minister!  I'm supposed to be a religious person!

I titled a sermon that I preached at a friend's ordination, "What If We Took This Stuff Seriously?"  By "this stuff" I meant all of it -- all of the religious ideas and ideals we are willing to talk about, to explore, perhaps even to say that we believe (in the safety of a discussion group) yet which we seem so unwilling to live our lives as if we really believed.

What would happen in your life?

In Gassho,

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1 comment:

David said...

This may seem bass-ackwards, but the hardest thing for me to "live out" in my spirituality is the whole forgiveness/grace/imperfection thing. Why is it so much easier to forgive other people's mistakes and failings than my own?

I don't mind it when people call me a wierdo--it's kind of a badge of pride, actually. But when they call me inadequate... that reeeeally stings. And that gets in the way of my spirit-centered living more than anything else, I'm afraid.

Thanks for these musings, Erik. They're quickly becoming one of my favorite devotional habits. :-)