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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is Believing?

My last post focused on my own struggles with faith. Now I would like to look more deeply into believing (it is called de-construction by smart people!)

I think there are three components or aspects to faith: thinking, feeling and choosing. The cognitive, or thinking, part is rational. It has to do with analysis. The feeling, or affective, part has to do with those swirling emotions which push and pull us. Choosing, the volitional function, comes down to decisions we make. No one of these three is the total picture. Different people tend to emphasize one more than others because of their personality. Different situations can also influence us to lean more on one than another. All three have conscious and unconscious aspects.

So what does this have to do with faith? We will look at each one individually then tie it all up during the week. At least that is my plan right now. I conclude with a little biography. When I was five years old my mom walked me the half mile or so to kindergarten. We lived in Chicago so the streets were busy. I remember the exact location (in front of Sears, across from the school) where I asked this question, "Mom, how do you know if you really love some one?" (That's right barely out of diapers I was filled with existential angst about authenticity.) Long story short my mom told me love was like giving someone your gloves when it was cold. (it is always cold and windy in Chicago!) In other words, love is not a feeling, it is an act of self-giving and other-blessing. I think faith questions are similar. With the constant changes in our thoughts and feelings and our wavering commitments and failures, from minute to minute we may have a different answer to the question "do I know I believe in God?" As important as that question is, it is more imporant to remember that God believes in you. More in the days ahead.

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