Are You a Believer or Follower?

Have you ever thought about how you describe your faith journey? Are you a believer or a follower? I would like to say I am both but somehow that response seems too easy. There are many things I believe to be true in life yet I am hesitant to follow. I will not sky dive, for example even though I believe a parachute will work to preserve me life. I also believe that if I sky dive, Amy will throttle me (but I digress!).

I have met many inside and outside the community of faith who either cannot reconcile beliefs with actions or are too tangled up in one in order to do the other much good. Alas, for me there are too many days when my beliefs are all I have going for me but I am too weak to follow and then there are those moments when all I can do is follow but I cannot get my head around what I ascent to believe. Two years ago I had tentative “beliefs” in coming to this church (let’s be honest, I really did not know you as a congregation) so I was left to simply trust and follow.

Perhaps the best we can do is to simply surrender over into a relationship that transcends both our beliefs and our actions.

I find it interesting that in many of the world religions there is that common thread of surrendering oneself before a higher power. The Buddhists call this emptying; the Hindus refer to this as abandonment; the Sufi mystics speak of releasing; in Judaism it is called submission; and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh simply called it surrender. The first three steps among the 12 Steps in Alcoholics Anonymous begin with admitting powerlessness, believe in a power greater than oneself and to turn one’s life over to the care of God. It is amazing how the spirit of God has ebbed and flowed among dramatically different belief systems to lead us to the same conclusion uttered by Christ: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24).

Are you a believer or a follower? Marcus Borg writes, “The Christian life is as simple and challenging as this: to love God and to love that which God loves” (The Heart of Christianity, p. 41).

Grace to you,

Greg