I remember a poster I had in my bedroom my last year of high school, just after I became a Christian. If I remember right, half of the poster was yellow with black foot prints coming down it. Then at the bottom, one of the foot prints stepped off the yellow side into the black side (that foot print was white on the black background). The caption read, "Faith is walking to the edge of all the light you have and taking one more step." The word "step" was also the only word on the black side.
I tried hard to find that poster on line, but either it has been thrown into the dust-bin of the Jesus People or no one has bothered to upload it.
I've been thinking a lot about Faith this week. The reason is, our Bible study is on Hebrews chapter eleven tonight and I'm leading it. I used to have that chapter memorized . . . now I can only recall the first few verses by heart.
As I've mediated on "Faith" I have this gut feeling, like with so many other things, that I had seriously mis-understood its meaning years ago.
When I was a young Christian, the word "Faith" was a tool of manipulation. Your leader got you to do all kinds of crazy things for him . . . with the challenge "Are you a man of faith" or "Are you faithful?" The worst insult your leader could throw at you (if you didn't do what he wanted) was, "You have no faith." That was much worse than being told as young man, "You are penis-less."
The example I remember most was when our missionary boss saw me in Colorado Springs . . . just before our departure. I was married and had two young boys and one on the way. He told me, "I would really like for you to come and work in the Middle East as a single man." I was blown away and totally confused. However, this man was considered a giant in the Navigators.
I didn't know what meant. Did he want me to divorce my wife?
I remember as clear as it was yesterday when I told him that I could not obey him in this matter, that I had to bring my family (whom I loved dearly). "Curt," I said. "I can't come without my family."
We were in a breakfast buffet line at the Nav headquarters. He smiled. He paid for his breakfast and looked up at me. "Okay. Do as you have the faith to do. Those with little faith do little things." Then he walked away.
So, and this thought is nowhere near completion, I wonder what is Biblical faith and how has "faith" become a tool for manipulating others?
I may be back if I figure out the difference. Maybe you already know and you can enlighten us all.