God in America
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Faithbook rangerdavie

"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy." st. francis

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Throughout my life, I have had many different images of God, some of which seem to contradict others. I learned at an early age from the scriptures that mankind is made in the image of God. Due to this, these days I try to remember that any image of God we have is susceptible to being flawed while at the same time being capable to inform a partial understanding. In short, I am trying to remember that God is ultimately unimaginable in fullness, but is best imagined by a study of people.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I believe in the existence of God, but I doubt very much this God is understood very well at all by those who claim to know God. I try to avoid making such presumptuous claims these days and am intentionally avoiding the natural tendency to cave into simply believing rather than do the hard work of doubting and confronting what is wrong in this world with bold love and civility. I believe that the human capacity to question assumptions, policy, ill-informed practices, and the evil that lurks under the maskerade of goodness is exactly what is needed to bring about human transformation and redemptive hope to our world. 1 person liked this
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There have been a couple milestone moments in my life where I knew I was living a life that was contrary to what was in line with my values, my calling, or my passions and that if I continued on pretending that everything was ok, I would be in direct conflict with my beliefs. The decisions I made in these moments resulted in misunderstandings, losses of friendships, and even losses of employment and income. Although I would be the first to claim that I did not necessarily handle such decisions as wisely as I could have in the least, they were, at the same time, the most monumental learning moments in my life where I had to trust that there was a better way to approach life than to submit quietly to my own irrationality. It was in the midst of finally facing my fears and expressing my own point of view that I found a life and a freedom from going through motions and to really living from my heart in a powerful and profound way in contrast to being obedient to my fears. 1 person liked this
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The day I took out loans for college.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator the actions in my life that demonstrated love for life, dignity, and unity. 1 person liked this
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that faith requires one to close ones eyes, mind, or heart to some "otherness" in order to be belief. Faith should compel us to seek, search, and prod deeper for truth rather than require of us to settle on a facade of knowing it. Faith should bring a posture of humility rather than arrogance. 1 person liked this
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have quite a few, but I would highlight my father.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That it all hinges on a love for God which is perfectly expressed only by love for neighbor. 1 person liked this

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that Jesus wanted me to fearfully attempt to please him rather than freely and joyfully join his cause of love.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator illuminating.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a baptist preacher's kid.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. My parents seem to be pretty compelled by things that are heavenly, providential, soul-saving, and things that result in exclamations of God praise. I think that I tend to be more compelled by stories of what God is doing here on earth through living people to creatively provide for one another, care for one another, and cultivate dignity through faith, hope, and love. 1 person liked this
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My first child is on the way. I imagine that it will from the stories I have heard. :)

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator If my faith is anything less than being lived out in a whole way of life, then I am really not interested in it. 1 person liked this
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There is a mix of Catholic, Presbyterian, Nazarene, Free Methodist, Non-denominational, and Baptist flavors within my family. We blend the respective traditions non-intentionally through conversation.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. It is easy in the sense that my faith lives inside of me and it is simply a matter of listening to it and responding. It is difficult because when one does respond to such impulses, it has consequences of going upstream/uphill in a culture of going with the flow.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The common meal.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Hard to Be [David Bazan]/Velvet Elvis [Rob Bell]/Braveheart

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The role of religion in politics should be the prophetic voice that is not sleeping with the rulers.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Sure. As long as transparency about biases and insistance on respect for all religious traditions are upheld.
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely. These texts are works of literature and should be explored as such within educational circles.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Interfaith dialogue is important, in fact, essential to a civil society as there will always be diversity between faith expressions and a need to live and work together on planet earth.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I do feel comfortable discussing my faith with others, but usually only if they feel comfortable talking about theirs with me as well.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I definitely have a feeling of duty, but am attempting to rethink this as a response to an invitation to join the God of redemption to work for the outcast, poor, and disenfranchised.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Religious beliefs can be compromised by engaging in politics, but this does not mean that politics should be avoided. Religious beliefs should compel us to be engaged in politics in order to confront corruption and be a prophetic voice on behalf of justice. This is best done in civil dialog and debate.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator 9/11 has had a great impact on my thoughts about religion and especially the topic of religious groups sleeping with the White House to gain political advantage. I am much more awake to our vast and beautiful religious diversity as a result and do want to make space for such religious freedom and expression knowing that all religions and people groups have subgroups that are radical, irrational, and misguided. The tenets of my Christian faith compel me to pray for those deemed as my enemies and for those who mistreat me. It is pretty hard to not identify with those whom you pray for. If you are like me, half way through the prayer you begin to see the things you don't like about yourself in the other that makes them your enemy. This helps me have a more critical view of myself and more human view of the "other" although I have much to learn on this front.

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Published October 11, 2010

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