Power Comes From Faith

Discussing his book David and Goliath, in an interview, Malcolm Gladwell states:

Power comes from faith.

Power comes from faith

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. ~ Matthew 21:21

Go Make Something Happen ~ Seth Godin

In a review of David and Goliath, Seth Godin states:

The point [of Malcolm Gladwell’s book] is that we are ALL capable of doing great work, ALL capable of doing work that matters, ALL capable of heroism. Why then, do some succeed and others never even try?
Silicon Valley works for the very reason that a broken inner-city fails. Because of cultural expectations. People become heroes when they’re surrounded by a culture that allows them to dream it’s possible.
Surrounding our young people in a culture that allows them to dream to become heroes.

“Power comes from faith” but have we put too much faith in technology without understanding how any given technology changes us. As Craig Detweiler writes in iGods:
It is good to be connected to family and friends, but when we cannot resist the urge to check updates or upload a photo, we are veering toward idolatry. Idols serve our needs according to our schedule. When we call, they answer. They give us a false sense of being in control. But over time, the relationship reverses. We end up attending to their needs, centering our lives on their priorities and agendas….
We need a theology of abundance to deal with the outcomes of our technology, the massive fruitfulness that the Creator God baked into us. We need a theology of abundance equal to the grace and generosity found in the blood of Jesus poured out for many. We need a theology of abundance commensurate with the superabundant presence of the Holy Spirit that can flood our senses, short-circuit our rationale. Unfortunately, our economics is built on a model of scarity, and our theology feels equally impoverished.
Steve Jobs iPhones from heaven
We also need to reconsider how we motivate our children, as Daniel Pink tells us in Drive:

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery— the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Dan Pink - Purpose

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

9780307269188_custom-3d3b0eaf27cd6d564d6e6ea0118c2f2df00c8902-s6-c30In The Case for God, Karen Armstrong explains, if I’m asked if I have “faith in Christ”, the question is whether I agree with the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth was divine, died on a cross, and was raised from the dead, or some form of that story. In both cases, questions of “belief” and questions of “faith” require answers of thought.

Yet, as surprising as it may seem, these understandings are relatively recent. “Faith” has its etymological roots in the Greek pistis, “trust; commitment; loyalty; engagement.” Faith in God, therefore, was a trust in and loyal commitment to God. Belief in Christ was an engaged commitment to the call and ministry of Jesus; it was a commitment to do the gospel, to be a follower of Christ. In neither case were “belief” or “faith” a matter of intellectual assent.

Also in a NPR interview, Bart Ehrman says:

During his lifetime, Jesus himself didn’t call himself God and didn’t consider himself God, and … none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God.

The Bible in its essence is not a text of restrictive moral codes that if you follow them then God will allow you when you die into some abstract fairytale land called heaven. The Bible is actually an activity, a spiritual process that has the potential to introduce one to transcendence, the ability to know and experience things that are beyond everyday reality.

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” ~ Luke 17:20-21

The Kingdom of God is in Your Midst

Emile Durkheim described human beings as “Homo duplex,” or “two-level man.” The lower level is the level of the profane—the level of ordinary consciousness and self-interested pursuits.  The higher level is the level of the sacred at which we lose our petty selves and become simply a part of a larger whole.

As Jonathan Haidt author of The Righteous Mind wrote:

I mean that we evolved to see sacredness all around us and to join with others into teams that circle around sacred objects, people and ideas. This is why politics is so tribal. Politics is partly profane, it’s partly about self-interest. But politics is also about sacredness. It’s about joining with others to pursue moral ideals. It’s about the eternal struggle between good and evil, and we all believe we’re on the side of the good.

This perspective also helps explains the persistent undercurrent of dissatisfaction in modern life. Ever since the Enlightenment, modern secular society has emphasized liberty and self-expression. We exult in our freedom, but sometimes we wonder: Is this all there is? What should I do with my life? What’s missing? What’s missing is that we are homo duplex, but only our first-floor, profane longings are being satisfied.

And as John Shelby Spong writes in The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic:

The prologue to John’s gospel was a hymn to the “word” based on the a hymn to “wisdom” in the book of Proverbs (8:21-32), and thus it was a deeply Jewish concept. Both hymns began to hint at the growing awareness that God was not to be perceived as a being, no matter how majestic, distant or otherworldy. God must be understood as a verb, calling, informing and shaping us and all creation into being all that we were created to be. In wisdom was life and that life was the light of all people. The “word” takes flesh. “Wisdom” expands life.

This was not to speak of a divine invasion in human form, as if the divine and human were two distinct realities; this is, this was not an experience of Hellenistic dualism. Jesus was not being portrayed in John’s prologue as related to God in the same way that Clark Kent is related to Superman–in other words, God in disguise as a human being. The author of John’s gospel, in his prologue, is either using or creating an early Christian hymn based on a hymn to wisdom in the book of Proverbs to express the mystical unity that human life can have with God and asserting that this was in fact the unique thing about Jesus of Nazareth.  It is that life-expanding oneness with God to which the author of the Fourth Gospel believed that Jesus was calling us. the Christ life, so envisioned, cannot be found in ritual activities, as we will see as John’s story develops. It was his understanding of Jesus  that in him dwelt both the presence of this “word of God” and the presence of the “wisdom of God.” Both had been lived out by Jesus of Nazareth. That is the secret of John’s gospel and the invitation in this gospel to us is to come into this presence.

In our age of overwhelming information, how do we find truth? Our mass media and educational system reinforces that we should be proud of what we know and ashamed of ignorance. Nobody wants to look stupid, ignorant, or crazy. Yet, such pride of knowledge often serves as an effective barrier against moving beyond what we already know, since it makes us ashamed to look beyond the boundaries imposed by our ignorance.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ~ Matthew 7:7

Any person who is prepared to enter with respect into the realm of great and universal ignorance, the secrets of being will eventually unfold, and they will do so in a measure according to her freedom from natural and indoctrinated shame. When faced with strong and often violent social pressures, few people are willing to take such a simple and satisfying course toward self discovery.

To arrive at any simple truth, requires a great deal of contemplation. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not calculating. Not busy behavior of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Not listening to music. Not watching television. Not thinking. You simply have to hold in your mind what it is you need to know. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, “Truth is the offspring of silence and unbroken mediation.” And yet those with courage enough to travel on such a path to real discovery are not only offered little guidance on how to do so, they are actively discouraged, and have to set about it in secret, meanwhile pretending to be diligently engaged in frantic diversions which seem to conform with the deadening social consensus that are being continually thrust upon them.

Sir Isaac Newton

This deadening social consensus has turned our contemporary society into a waste land of people living without true aspiration. They merely go through the routine of their lives, doing things that they are told to do. They do not have the courage to do something that they really want to do because they would stand out and seem to be a little crazy.

When we look at each other, we are seeing the past. That is to say, what we see before us has happened. Science, logic and waking consciousness all deal with things that have happened. Science and reason can only predict what will happen if what will happen repeats what has happened. They cannot predict absolute novelty. Creativity and the power of faith is the present. It is becoming. It is our very becoming. And a person with an intuition on that level can intuit the destiny of nations.

From a video essay about creativity we learn:

All of history’s greatest figures achieved success in almost exactly the same way. But rather than celebrating this part of the creative process we ignore it.

This missing chapter in the story of success reveals the secret to doing meaningful work. But in the modern world, full of distraction, do we have what it takes to do great things?

In other words all of history’s greatest figures had pistis: trust; commitment; loyalty; engagement. All of history’s greatest figures did not believe Jesus was God or Lord and Savior but they all had faith.

We are ALL capable of doing great work, ALL capable of doing work that matters, ALL capable of heroism. We just need faith.

And as we learn in a video featuring Will Smith, Anthony Robbins and Sir Ken Robinson, there is a redemptive quality to making a choice. You are not a victim of your past. A lack of resources is never the defining factor. You were born an artist [extremely creative], the trick is to remain an artist [extremely creative] as you grow up. So do something, make a choice but be prepare to be wrong.

Waking consciousness, science, rational life, perfectly good but don’t try to interpret faith in terms of reason, science, and logic. Religious imagery is telling you what is becoming. Reason is telling you what has become. The mystery of life is on the level of faith. So always remember that “Power comes from faith.”

“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

~ Matthew 21:22


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