Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Leaning Into Faith/DONNA MANN

I recently sat at a Presbytery meeting and listened to the various reports, while knitting. I am thankful I no longer feel called to chair any of these committees. Been there and done that. I marvel at the many ways God calls people to serve. As I listened, I found myself thinking about my faith journey and how it has paved the way for my present understanding.

Because I’m attending a workshop on ‘Writing about Faith and Religion” in the next few weeks, I’ve been watching for resources pertaining to particular faith issues that might be helpful. I have a book on my shelf, “Writing to Inspire” to which I often go when wanting to balance my passion on a topic with a reasonable approach so my reader hangs in with me.  Not saying my passion can totally tip the scales when writing, but they’ve been known to do this.

Mary Lou Redding says, “Devotional writing is not just pleasant-sounding words that make readers feel good inside, verbal stroking. On the contrary, good devotional writing often makes readers not more, but less comfortable, because it confronts our inertia or resistance and leads us to see where we can be more responsive to God’s work in our lives and in the world around us” (Writing to Inspire (p112).

But, isn’t that when I can get in trouble, even with friends? Do people not expect others in their circle to write what they are comfortable in reading – saying what they like to hear?  And how is one to know the different faith positions that any person might take at any given time? Certainly faith is not a static condition where one believes in this moment exactly as one believed twenty years ago. Conditions and experiences often enhance faith and yet for some, even make it fragile.

Thinking about this blog in reflection to the upcoming workshop, I wrote the following words in the margin of my Presbytery agenda, “I had to go to the edge to find where I didn’t belong, acknowledging that I didn’t even want to be there.” This didn’t have as much to do with choice as it did listening to other’s fears about not being in a specific place with a particular understanding and using certain experiences, phrases and words.  Are we to write what pacifies another’s beliefs or stretch them?

There is a certain freedom about ‘coming home’ in one’s faith and feeling the presence of God that some would be surprised to read in inspirational or devotional writing. With this understanding, I look forward to what is next. 

"Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs. 3"For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations And will resettle the desolate cities.… (Isaiah 54:2)

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Bette said...

we need Stretching for sure.

Peter Black said...

Thanks, Donna, for your interest-piquing post. Coming to faith often is a journey, and I agree it's like a 'coming home.'
And yet, I reckon the journey continues once we're on the inside of the faith experience or life. Yep, there's so much more to explore! :) ~~+~~

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