A healthy faith evolves; it changes, shifts, grows and expands. I am amazed at how often I see people assert the opposite. They believe one must hold the same facets of faith embraced in the earliest days of profession or they’ve somehow deviated from the faithful path. This does not reflect the nature of scripture or the characters therein. Reading Paul’s epistles in order… in Thessalonians (his earliest recorded work) he believes in the imminent return of Christ and a salvation theology that excludes his Jewish kin and other non-believers. By the time we read Romans (his latest recorded work), the return of Jesus is no longer pressing, and Paul has embraced a universal concept of salvation based on the mysterious covenantal grace of God. Even Jesus evolves in his faith understanding. He moves from seeing himself as Israel’s messenger to being the caregiver for a gentile, Syrophoenician woman and her child. The scriptures themselves move from a ‘law-based’ theology to a ‘grace-based’ theology. A healthy faith does not get stuck in the early stages and beliefs. A healthy faith evolves.
The flip side of rutting ourselves in the dogma of faith’s first steps is invalidating those early steps. It is often a temptation to completely deny the conservative (often simplistic) elements of our early belief. It’s easy to demand others ‘be where we are’ in their faith and forget it took us years of thought, prayers, life experience, and growth to get here. We risk denying the generations behind us the simple entry points because we want them to know the complexities of truth now.
Beginning the first Sunday of June, your preaching ministers will be addressing the theme: Texts that Changed My Life. We will be journeying back to earlier days of our faith to affirm the entry points and turned corners that have shaped us. I think I can speak for Kendra, Matt, Kyle, Dylan and certainly myself and say these sermons will be personal and confessional. We are trusting they affirm your sense of growth, prod you out of a rut, help you turn a corner, permit you to embrace your path of maturity or simply enable you to know us and know God a little better. I’ll see you in worship this summer.