Faith on Earth July 2, 2014 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment How religious faith takes form in an individual’s life is as unique as his or her fingerprint. For one it means conforming to the authority of church leaders, for another it involves personally and intensely working through key convictions about who God is, and for yet another, faith demands abandoning society for a life lived apart from the mainstream. And of course all three examples could shape the meaning of faith for one person. Recently we gathered some members of our board of directors and their spouses for a consultation at the Collegeville Institute called Faith on Earth. Our aim was to engage in self-reflection about what faith has meant in our lives—both now and in the past—and to learn from each other as we shared stories and experiences. We also explored our perceptions of the shape faith is taking in our culture during the early days of a new millennium. Giving particular attention to the roles of doubt, humor, courage, and community, we turned to the work of Czech theologian Tomáš Halík to help us explore our lives of faith in the context of contemporary life. Halik maintains that many people today approach faith like Zaccheus: cautiously, but curiously. Zaccheus was a seeker, Halík writes, and it may be that those who want to follow Jesus must “make ourselves seekers with those who seek and questioners with those who question”(from Patience with God). People of faith are called to persevere with seekers in their doubt, and to persevere with their own doubts as well, Halík argues. Board members resonated with Halik’s support for a faith that is at home with paradox, engaged with the world, comfortable with doubt, and patient with God. The consultation provided an opportunity for rich conversation taking the form of “first person method” for which the Collegeville Institute has become known. On the first night of our consultation, we asked participants to draft haikus to capture something important about how faith has taken form in their lives. Here’s a sampling of the “fingerprints” of faith we shared with each other: God plays hide and seek. I give up searching too soon. And then God finds me. I like the wintery blooms of enduring fragile faith. Resilient flowers My faith lives in me; it ebbs and flows like the tide. A holy rhythm Faith is reliance. God’s grace still overflowing. Peace and joy today You can’t know it’s faith. The neighbors alone can say where your bias lay Faith is like a garden, summer luscious, winter bare. Hope springs eternal. Faith embraces trust A hand above my shoulder God’s propinquity Find the one true faith search creeds, doctrines and find that true faith is not one Faith is like the ocean, calm on the surface but deep. The mystery whispers. I believe, I doubt the two go together, I think, as we risk real life When I am weakest The off key notes are harsh but God is symphony Faith is of nature breath of spring, solid as rock flowing in my soul Believing, knowing how graceful, perplexed at times. God’s grandeur made real Where are you now, God? Nature? Jesus? Spirit? Church? Yes. Are we yours? Yes! Image: My fingerprint by Stefano Mortellaro, on Flickr via a Creative Commons License Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.