In a few hours’ time I will begin a Zoom group and will continue with other groups over the next five evenings. They have been wonderfully instructive for me. I did try and write a book that could be picked up by whoever, including those not of faith, but realised that it would not be the way to connect (and maybe that is shorthand for realised the limits of my abilities?). Anyway I wrote the first four chapters which were to have a focus on Jesus as the Great Learner and the radical nature of the Gospel, and how unlikely that in the context of a one-world government scenario a message from a backwater colony of the Empire about a young man who had suffered the same fate as countless thousands (crucifixion), carrying a counter challenge to the world power, proclaiming that the ‘king of kings’, ‘saviour’ and ‘lord’ was not resident in Rome (all claims made by Caesar), made inroads right across the then known world. (Wow that was a sentence that began and almost didn’t end.)
This time round it really is simple language with very few assumptions made about any knowledge of Scripture. The book I decided is not the medium for an engagement beyond those currently on Zoom, but starting tomorrow I will post it here chapter by chapter (and eventually as a downloadable document on this site) as it could make for an easy background read for all of you who have just rushed out to buy the current books. Here is the preface:
There are so many responses to that word faith. Here are just a few examples.
I was brought up as a Christian, it always made sense, there never was a time when I never believed, it just made sense to me.
I always struggled with faith. There is just so much suffering and so many unanswered questions, so to be honest I have shelved the difficult issues and accept that faith is just that, it is faith, I just take it as is and refuse to engage with the difficult stuff.
I wish I had faith, but it’s just a step too far for me. I wish there was a God as I could do with something to hang on to at times.
I have faith, but I am not sure how to describe it, as I can’t put a name to what / who I believe in.
I write as someone who has faith in God, but am very keen to put a name to the God I believe in, to give that God some identity, or maybe it could be put better by saying that I want to give a face to this God. I don’t expect everyone who reads what I write will say they also share that belief, and my aim is not to convert people to my beliefs, but hope that I might encourage any reader simply to be authentic in their beliefs. I, of course, could be wrong, after all faith is ‘faith’; it contains belief and if I am honest any set of beliefs are also tied to our preferences, choices and perhaps even our personalities. But…
There is always going to be a ‘but’! I am going to start with Jesus. I wrote above that I try to put a ‘face’ to God, and because of Jesus I will try to put together a picture that will describe who God (s/he) is. (I will try and use inclusive language throughout. The problem with most languages is that they heavily favour male pronouns, but if God is not a ‘he’ then we cannot really use male terminology for her/him; and yet if God can, in some way, be personally known, we also cannot use an ‘it’ language!)
Welcome to an amateurish guide to my approach to faith.