Saturday, October 09, 2010

ruminations of Faith (part 1... ?)

I've been watching these videos, the New Birth Portraits. There are actually very well done "coming to faith stories" put together by Redeemer Presbyterian Church, located in New York City. The pastor of the church is a fairly well-known author, Tim Keller.

I first heard about Pr Keller when my church did a four of five week "faith renewal" in-depth sermon series, bible study, etc based on his book Prodigal God. It was a pretty good book, and led to some interesting thought processes in me. I didn't quite agree with everything he said, but that's for another time. I was drawn to him to a degree through the videos that were shown at times. His soft spoken nature was engaging.

Shortly after that series was done, a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer came out, entitled Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet Spy by Eric Metaxas. As a result of reading that book I started to "follow" him on twitter @ericmetaxas. He generally tweets about what's going on with his book, but one day he tweeted about his new Birth video. So, I followed the link he pushed through in his tweet and watched it a couple times. And then I kind of moved onto other things, but I did mark the site for the New Birth Portraits, as they are called on my de.lic.ious account and there they sat.

A few months later, I was told about a Lutheran pastor who did youtube videos. They are kinetic and fast paced, but are packed full with good Lutheran theology and are deeply rooted in the confessions of the Lutheran Church. I wrote about his vids in my last post. Since that last post, I have watched most, if not all of the videos that Rev. Fisk has posted. Each one makes me think, take notes, reach for my copy of the Book of Concord, and my Bible. In the last few weeks since discovering Rev Fisk my faith has grown deeper and it is a direct result of getting into the Word and really working with it, or as it we Lutherans say 'reading, marking, and inwardly digesting" it. I've discovered new things I've never heard of before and new authors I've never heard of or read before. It has been a wonderful and strengthening experience; however, this new found zeal, if I can call it that, has made me reflect on the faith I brought to the table, as it were.

One of the things that I have struggled with for a long time is this: I've never really had a "come to Jesus moment" or a "I accepted Christ as my savior moment" that seems to be so prevalent in the post-modern Christian church. The evangelical movement seems to make that a priority in their way of looking at things. It was lost on me and I found myself wondering and maybe doubting a little. I think that is something that many Lutherans struggle with, too.

This whole process has been a bit of an eye opener to me, too. I used to use and example that worked for me when it came to faith. It still works, I guess, but in my mind its changed a little. I used to say that you can't have faith with "I." Meaning that first person singular that is "I" or in this case "me" had a part in faith. There was no faith with the "I." Pardon, but I know realize that this is dangerous thinking. It really isn't. I was dangerously close to saying that I made the decision to follow Christ, when, in fact, through the Holy Spirit I was brought to faith. I didn't do anything. It was all Holy Spirit. Time and time again the human nature to make God small and we Humans big worms its way into Christianity the whole "hey, God, get outta my way, I think I'm gonna drive for awhile," or perhaps "God you really are my co-pilot. Or better put perhaps this video:

I was born into a Christian home, my father was a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod LCMS pastor and my mother always had faith. So I grew up in it. I was surrounded by it. I never realized it, but the Holy Spirit was working in me from day one. I had a what I call a "stand up/sit down" faith. Because I was in it since birth, in the case by "in it" I mean the LCMS, I knew when to stand, when to sit, and when to recite and sing the liturgy. I could do it from memory and not even think about it. I can relate to this video very well:

I don't think I ever got as far as he from my faith as Rev Fisk hints to above, but I did find myself questioning it.