Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
Statement of Faith
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A Question of Faith
Have you ever wondered what faith is? I don't mean just the religious kind. I mean faith as in conviction -- a firm belief in something, be it religion, friendship or duty. Do you know what faith means?
Faith is not something to take lightly. Though you might think that it is a separate idea from your daily life, something to aspire to rather than something to just have, nothing could be farther from the truth. All our lives are built on faith. Every human being lives on a modicum of faith, regardless of character.
Every day, we go about our business taking a lot on faith. We travel to schools and offices, believing implicitly that we will get there safely. We study and we work, without a doubt in our minds that we accomplish something. We interact with other people, with carefree assumption that we are being heard and understood. We take care of our interests and our cares, confident that everything will be okay. We retire to sleep at the day's end, completely assured that we will awake the next morning.
If you think about it, a lot can go wrong at any time. Accidents happen. Mistakes are found. Misunderstandings take place. There are almost as many opportunities for our faith to be broken as it is to be verified. The matter-of- fact consumption of life's moments without a second thought is an application of faith. Faith that should be meticulously protected and cultivated in the face of adversity.
Do you know why people become jaded? They become jaded because they have lost their faith in what they used to believe in. Once again, these beliefs need not be the hallowed precepts of religious dedication. These beliefs are, quite often, related to the simple yet critical ideals of human experience. Friendship. Work dedication and efficiency. Love. A vast host of concepts and ideas that we hold dear, being people who care and hope.
It is important to watch yourself, that you don't get trapped into abandoning your hope. Life is fraught with as many disappointments as rewards, and it is dangerously easy to simply stop caring, and then to say "so what? something's going to go wrong anyway" to everything. To shrug your shoulders at the world, at other people, at principles --that is not anyone else's loss but your own.
Many of us are prone to this disillusionment. Our generations have taken disillusionment and skepticism as hallmarks of our identity. Notice how quickly we label a hopeful teenager: Naive. Ignorant. Labels that carry negative connotations. And yet we cast about, complaining that the world has
nothing to offer us, that the world has betrayed us with its cruelty and indifference. Something is amiss in this logic.
The weakness of our generation is that we take pride in losing faith and being cynical. "The better to protect ourselves from the mean people and circumstances of the world," some would say. But who are these 'mean' people? Who are they who create these 'mean' circumstances?
The answer: people who have lost their faith. Just like us. Do the math, and you'll notice that you're probably not far off from being mean yourself. It's not that you're a bad person -- in fact, very few people are truly 'mean' -- it's just that you do your best to cope with bad experiences. And how do we cope? We become jaded. See the cycle?
The happiest people in the world are also the ones who suffer the greatest disappointments. The reason why they don't seem all that sad is because they compensate for those bad times with the good times. They savor the joy of hopes fulfilled, more than enough to soothe the hurt of hopes let down. They consistently have faith that no matter what, everything will turn out okay. What have you got to lose by doing this? Certainly not your pride -- there's