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Faith Adventure

What's the difference between belief and faith?

My dictionary says:-
belief: 1. a principle accepted as true or real especially without proof; 2. opinion, conviction 3. religious faith; 4. trust or confidence - as in a person's abilities.
faith: 1 strong or unshakable belief in something especially without proof; 2. a specific system of religious belief; 3. Christianity trust in God and in his actions and promises; 4. a conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion; 5.complete confidence or trust in a person, remedy etc.
- which would seem to suggest that belief and faith are dependent upon one another, in fact those of us living within a religious system need faith in order to believe these things for which we have no proof!

Mark Oakley in his essay Reclaiming Faith in Spirituality in the City (SPCK 2005) wants to understand faith in different terms, "people believe in order to find assurance, a solution, a system of ideas. Faith, especially biblical faith, is completely different. The purpose of revelation is not to supply us with explanations or propositions, but to get us to listen to questions, radical addresses to ourselves and the world we are making. Belief talks and wallows in words, takes the initiative; faith waits, remains on guard, picks up signs, seeks to discern complex parables, listens to a silence poised for God. Belief looks for regimentation. Faith can be lonely: it knows that holiness means being separated somehow. Belief is reassuring, makes you feel safe. Faith is forever placing you on the razor's edge. Belief can order God and normalize. Faith knows this can't be done and, as it were, puts the odd back into God. Belief relates to ideas. Faith knows that ideas can get in the way; it embraces paradox and silence and lives with city-like confusion."

I know that we will react to those views in different ways, but I am intrigued by his description of faith. I love the way that faith is an exciting adventure, whose outcome must remain unknown - open to the wonder of God and the potential of the human spirit. I seem to share a discomfort with belief as something that can be written and controlled and enforced and quantified. When Jesus says, "follow me" - he doesn't ask anyone to sign up to a well argued well scripted doctrine but to experience the adventure and learn about God's reign. The first disciples knew that there lives would be changed but not the way in which it was changed, they expect glory but not the way it is achieved. And so today's disciples are also invited to experience the adventure of faith with all it's uncertainties, fear, excitement and opportunities.

I hope your enjoying the walk.

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