Faith Redefined

Years ago I thought I had the key to all the answers of my faith. It was to be found by listening to the teachings of my conservative Bible professors. Funny enough, I realized later they themselves would freely admit they had more questions than answers, and the more they pursued the answers the greater the number of questions.

I’m not completely dismissing the education I got at that Bible college, nor would I wish for anything to replace the time I spent there. I made friends then who are still among the strongest influences in my life — and whose support I depend upon.

But I do take issue with the idea that all of life’s questions can be answered by the Bible. I don’t think the Bible makes that claim, nor do I believe that any of the writers of either the Old or New Testament intended for us to seek all the answers from scripture. 

It’s designed to tell us about God, and again, there are more questions than answers to be found when dedicating oneself to reading any or all of it. God is bigger than all of us put together. Infinitely bigger. 

I’ve adopted a very Jewish way of thinking — it isn’t the answers to the questions but the questions themselves that are important. I’m comfortable with that way of thinking and believe it to be a more honest way of finding my faith.

So my faith has been redefined over the years, as has just about every other area of my life. The more we live, the more we grow, and the stronger we become. Well, on the inside. I would definitely have to say the outside is weakening.

Image credit: ©vectorfusionart – stock.adobe.com

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U R Kidding

In case you haven’t figured this out yet, Ash Wednesday lands on Valentine’s Day this year.

Clever candy makers haven’t missed a beat. You can buy those classic candy hearts with messages for Lent, such as “Ash to Ash” and “U R Dust.”

Valentine’s Day gives those of you debating about what to give up for Lent a great excuse not to forgo candy. What if your true love or an ill-fated secret lover gives you some gourmet chocolate? Is it fair to leave an expensive gift like that sitting around until — April Fool’s Day?

Because Easter is April 1, leaving many to ponder just how blasphemous it is to hear “Christ is Risen” alongside “April Fool’s!”

If you’re struggling with the decision whether or not to go to church for the first time since Christmas, let me help you make your decision. No small share of religious leaders will draw the connection between Christ and fools, ending with the admonition not to be a fool — follow Christ.

As a Christian with experience in a variety of denominations, I recognize my seeming flippancy may offend some. But I’m not finished. There is no shortage of worship services in the days preceding Easter. If you dread the crowds and the traffic, try one of those. It may actually be more meaningful to you.

U R Loved.


Image Credits: © stock.adobe.com

Now, Right Now

It’s hard — so hard.

When you fear your world is about to turn upside-down, and there’s nothing you can do but pray and wait. When you think perhaps the inevitable is happening now.

When your heart cries out, “I’m not ready for this!” but your head tells you, “you’ll never be ready.”

When the practical mixes with the unimaginable.

It’s hard.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

One Step

When I find myself overwhelmed with all I face in the day ahead, I tend to stop, and do nothing. Nothing at all. There is too much, I can’t take it all in, so I do nothing.

One step forward…I feed the cats. Another step or two…take a shower, brush my teeth, pull together the day’s clothing. Is everything clean? Yes. Does it still fit? I think so. Check my purse, make sure I have my wallet, my phone and my keys. And my lipstick.

Backyard header

I make a list. Call her, email him. Prepare this, revise that. Look for the paperwork lost long ago…it has to be here somewhere. Make a decision. No matter how long my list may be, it is shorter than the endless loop of duty and worry that goes through my head.

I am a little less overwhelmed.

Pour a bowl of cereal, no, today I need a more substantial breakfast. It will take a little longer, but this morning I have the time. Do I have juice? Yes, thank goodness, just enough for one glass.

Add juice to the grocery list.

I feel a little more in control.

Autumn - Old bridge in autumn misty park

Start to tackle that list while I’m waiting for breakfast. Just one or two things if I can. The email I’ve been putting off so long…but I’m glad I waited, I finally know just what to say. Once I finish that message, I must send another, to someone else, to confirm my intentions.

Maybe today I should stop by that office and get my questions answered. Yes, I could call, but I know how these things work. They will give fuller, more detailed answers to someone standing right in front of them., someone who isn’t asking idly, someone who is a real person, not a disembodied voice, or worse, one more email to sort through. Yes, I should stop by.

Oh, the list is so long! And even without it, I have plenty to do. I could stay home all day and never have an idle moment, but that’s not a luxury I’m allowed.

I eat breakfast, I check my makeup, my hair, I grab my list. I need to return that book, drop off…whatever that is. I gather it all together.

“Later, kitty gators. Be good,” I close the door behind me, push the button on the key and hear the familiar click as the car door is unlocked.

Wait, I forgot, I need my allergy medicine or I will be suffering.

One Echinacea Flower Under The MoonI run in, race out, get behind the wheel. Sitting there, I am so overwhelmed, I can barely move the key to the ignition.

When I find myself overwhelmed with all that I face in the day ahead, I tend to stop, and do nothing. But nothing is not an option, so I start the car.

Move forward, take the next step.

One at a time.


Image Credits: (Bridge) © Gorilla — Fotolia; (Echinacea) © Melpomene — Bigstock

The Simple Truth

My high school French teacher challenged us one day to “write about why you believe — or don’t believe — in God.”

We were cautioned not to recite our church’s theological platform, but to give our own heartfelt reasons for our belief. All in French, of course.

Well, easier for me to translate a simple thought from the heart than any complex theological belief to French, so that part wasn’t difficult for me. And I would no doubt offend my French-speaking friends today if I tried to repeat what I wrote then, but here’s a short portion of it, in English:

“I believe in God because the sun rises and sets each day. The mountains speak loudly to me of his presence, the rivers and the valleys, more quietly…”

I struggled with that essay, because I wanted it to flow smoothly in French, and since my teacher was a native speaker, I think eventually it did. I regret I no longer have it.

My life, like most, has been a series of sunny days and stormy ones, of peaks and valleys, of mountains I couldn’t scale and oceans I couldn’t swim, along with unexpected and glorious triumphs. Perhaps small, but glorious nonetheless.

I’m grateful to Mr. Keplinger for giving us that assignment, for early on forcing us to think in two languages of our deepest-held beliefs, for whether he knew it or not, it formed a foundation for my faith over the years.

It’s simple, yes, and there are much more complex issues that crowd my mind every day. The details of my faith change year to year, but the core remains the same.

And part of the core is this:

I believe in God because the sun rises and sets every day.


Photo Credit :© Kotenko Oleksandr — Adobe Stock