We continue to witness the developing of human consciousness and imagination and practice. This is not something we observe from the sidelines; we are right in the middle of it.
I see the development of faith and belief within this, as a heartbeat to the great human story.
This is the adventure we are called to, an adventure with others who are like us and others who are not.
My friend Alex suggests one of the most important questions of the 21st Century is, What does it mean to be human? We come together to ask the question, What does it mean to be human like Jesus?
To make sense of how he lived his life to be able to do what he did.
Too often people have seen the wrong side of faith, like Richard Dawkins when he says:
“Faith is the great cop out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.’*
Faith is a future sensing capability. It’s about bringing in the future, the things that haven’t been discovered yet, or don’t yet exist, but they will if we act on what we believe:
‘Faith is the belief in things larger than ourselves. Faith is the ability to honour stillness at some moments and at others to ride the passion and exuberance that is the artistic impulse, the flight of the imagination, the full engagement with this shimmering world.’**
Surprisingly, these words were written by another atheist.
We are capable of imagining and creating new possibilities for communion and love, for creativity and generosity and enjoyment, and this in a universe where chaos lies just beneath the surface, where circumstances are never perfect, the timing is not good, and we’re anything but ready:
“You’re a pioneer. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, someone else would have done your side before you.”^
You may be thinking, I need to become someone else; I can’t do this. But the truth is, you need to be more yourself, and, to know yourself at the core of your being, and you will open up possibilities for the future you cannot imagine in this moment. Even making this journey will change how you see and what you see.
How often our organisations change the people we are, but we do not notice, asking us to perform some task or join some programme that we’re not really good at or interested in – we call it volunteering and we say that if people were really committed then they’d just do it.
When we find something we want to take responsibility for then something interesting happens, we begin producing an abundance of thinking or relating or behaving to be shared with others. When a community of people are exploring life in this way, they don’t so much have abundance but we are abundance.
One of the greatest things a community of people can do is help its members to become more who they are, identify their responsibility, and join together in abundance for others.
This is possible, but it isn’t easy:
‘It’s easier to tach compliance than initiative.’^^
(*Richard Dawkins, quoted in Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(^Beto Sicupira, quoted in Linda Rottenberg’s Crazy is a Compliment.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)