Confession: I am Christian who believes in a risen savior and future eternal life with that savior named Jesus.
Of all the interesting, complex things humans experience, faith has to be at the top of the list. Faith in each other, faith in a country, faith in a deity: everyone experiences these, and those experiences will shape your outlook on life. Can one blog post really address the complexities of faith? Absolutely not. Can one post really make you think? Absolutely. I am not here to persuade you of my faith or what you need to do with life. I merely want to share my side of the story, and I want you as the reader to here this as my story and reflect on how your story relates or does not relate.
Faith is grounded upon three things: teachings, experiences, and emotion. What I was taught growing up, at school, at church, and what I was taught from books has all impacted me. Some impacts were negative; other impacts were positive. You can rest assured that everyone has had some negative experience with faith. You are not the only one who has had negative encounters with faith of some sort.
The teachings of your family will be your grassroots. One day you may determine that those teachings were false, slanted, or unconvincing. One day your family may abandon what they taught you and you find yourself having to choose whether you keep the faith or walk away with your family. But those teachings are fundamental to how you view faith. Whatever the religion is, whatever the system is that you have faith in, your childhood upbringing will always play a factor.
No matter how good or bad the teachings were, you will judge life as seen through your own experiences. Church may be great for other people, but it is nothing for you. The military may have saved one family’s life, while it cost a life from your family. Your experiences will always shape your view on faith. One person may have faith in the American government to do the “right” thing. Another person may have zero faith in that government. Why the difference? I would argue a strong reason is the experiences each individual had.
Reason, experience, knowledge – all of these are useful and needed in faith, but your emotion will always play a role. I have yet to meet someone who made decisions entirely devoid of emotion. If your faith brings joy, you will probably stay faithful. If your faith brings you pain, you will have to judge the teachings you have learned to determine if it is worth staying faithful. But I strongly urge you to keep your emotions involved and to be aware of your emotions. Emotions are important in regards to your faith.
Now I called faith the majestic dragon. That should reflect my positive experiences with faith. But I use faith in a general sense: faith in country, humanity, your relationship, your God(s). I think some of the most beautiful moments in life are experienced when our faith is fulfilled. Your faith in a sports team that comes through as they win; your faith in your significant other when they exceed your expectations; your faith in humanity when something marvelous happens. You religious faith is no less beautiful than these moments.
I confessed that I am a Christian at the beginning of this blog. I recognize that there are many who are not Christians. I recognize that there are many who despise Christianity. But let me share this: my faith in the Creator God and his son Jesus and his Holy Spirit has transformed my life. God has been the foundation I could depend on when family, friends, school, and country all failed. Sure, I have had some bad experiences with religion, church, etc. But I have had more joy in my faith than outside of it. I have had more logic within my faith than outside of it. I have had more positive experiences with God than negative experiences. And to me, my faith in God is the most majestic dragon I have ever encountered in this life. More fearsome and awesome than I could ever express. A dragon that could kill me where I stand, but instead allows me to mount and ride upon its wings. My faith in God has changed my views on life. And as I go about this blogging venture, you will witness my faith in God many times. I do not ask that you agree with all my beliefs. I merely submit the request that you consider this incredible dragon known as faith.
May you defeat the evil dragons that you encounter this week and may you marvel at the glorious dragons along the way.