Saturday, April 16, 2011

We Are All Pioneers, Laborers

Real faith cannot be bequeathed. It cannot be taught. It can only be discovered.

There may be eighth generation Mormons, but there are no eighth (or even second) generation Saints.

Every person in the world for whom faith is real has had to come to it on his or her own. And there is no accident of birth, no physical, no mental, no spiritual condition, no inheritance or lack thereof, that gives anyone any sort of head start. If you think that your faith is something you got from your parents or even your Sunday School teachers, then you don't have the kind of faith that can ultimately save you.

Real faith cannot be accumulated. We can't pile it up like riches, to be deposited today and drawn on tomorrow. There is no wealth of faith, no treasure we can lock away and save somewhere.

Faith is like manna. It has to be gathered fresh every day. It has to be eaten and digested while it is fresh, or it does our bodies no good. Yesterday's manna will turn to ash in our mouths.

So in the kingdom of God, there is no aristocracy. We are all working class. We are all miners. We are all field hands. We are all weavers or smiths or millers. But the ore we are mining, the field we are sowing, the cloth we are weaving, the metal we are working, the grain we are grinding is our own hearts. It is ourselves. We are the raw material and the end product of faith.

Everything that resides in us -- our desires, hopes, and dreams; our big and little questions; our sorrow, our pain, our weakness and our failings; whatever gets us out of bed in the morning, our joy, our laughter, whatever gives us pure, unadulterated happiness; our loves and our one great love; our grief; our dullness and our intensity; our aches and longings, requited and unrequited -- all of it is grist.

That is why being gay cannot possibly exclude us from the Kingdom of God; nor can the loving bonds we form with one another, the relationships we build with one another that make our lives worth living! Our lives, our loves, our families are where faith dwells! These are the things without which faith is useless, because we would have nothing for faith to give meaning.

If we have been shut out, disinherited, excommunicated, we are blessed. Because the first step in the journey of real faith must be to abandon or to be stripped of our illusions. If we think we have, we have nothing. If we know we have nothing, we have everything we need.

I yearn for this for us.


Bravone said...

John, Thank you for this post on faith. So much insight. For me, faith is a continual effort, but maybe as you pointed out, it is meant to be that way. Sometimes I wish it were like my knowledge of gravity. Once understood, I don't need to anything to keep my belief in it strong.

I love the comparison of faith to manna. It needs to be gathered fresh every day. That thought will stick with me for long time. Thank you.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Bravone!

Anonymous said...

Sexual sin can and will exclude you from the kingdom. If you don't repent and you die, the devil comes for you. Scary thought.

Matthew said...

I love your comparison of faith and manna - it is perfect. Thought provoking post.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Matthew!