UTNE Reader-Jill Herzig, May 1999

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UTNE Reader, May 1999 - Jill Herzig

"We have this in common, states the women as she sees my prayer book, awaiting news of her brother who is in a coma." What is the commonality that we share? The answer is faith. When we are faced with an issue that is difficult to handle, we rely on faith to help us through. We need the strength to go on by finding something that inspires hope in us. This is the premise for the article by Nora Gallagher entitled "The Thin Place where God Lives"

I found this article intriguing because it describes the faith journey of the author not unlike the journey I find myself on today. She begins the article by explaining her place in her religious community. It is noted that the world is divided into two places, the world of the unseen and mysterious, and the world of practicality. The trouble with having beliefs is they are not always explainable and the foundation is rooted in trusting an unseen power.

As the author grew up, she lost her way on her path to God. She got caught up in her everyday life and didn't hold religion in high regard. The journey was not resumed until she was older and having faith took on a deeper meaning. To continue on the path, many times a defining point in our lives must be reached. In most cases this is an event involving accidents, sickness, or even death, a circumstance that we do not have control over. We then realize we are fallible and that we need guidance from a greater power and support from the people around us.

To become a member of the religious community as an adult is to enter with your eyes open, to ask for justification of what is taught, and to introduce the concept of doubt. "Doubt is the handmaiden of faith, its cop, the one that keeps faith straight. To doubt is an indication of freedom and a guard against fanaticism." It is easy to doubt, to be cynical of what is presented to us. To make faith stronger, we must doubt and question what is presented to us. This gives us the ability to grow in the knowledge of our faith and to expand our beliefs to encompass an ever-changing world. As the author points out, the world is constantly changing; we must evolve with it to continue our faith journey. We should become active in our role as a member of the community. "Being a member of a faith community, means being faithful to God, and being faithful to God means being faithful to others, in sickness and in health, for better or worse."

The main thing to remember on this journey of faith is that everything created belongs to God, all the good and the bad reveals God's plan. He is in everything. "He is not too good to hang out with jet-lagged women, or men dying with AIDS, or for that matter, someone nailed in humiliation to the cross. God is not too good for anything." And in this we find hope. In this time where human presence and interaction is diminished by technology, we can find a place where we can fit in. No matter what mistakes we make there is a place where we can be accepted and our beliefs embraced. As a member of a faith community, we will always have a place to gain support as a haven of hope.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 1999

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