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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

FAITH IN THE FACE OF EVIL

Good and evil has been a part of the human story since the beginning
of our existence on earth.

How that struggle has been written shapes belief, myth, culture, law
and society. The way in which the conflict is told is as diverse as
the human family itself.

Faith is a stance or a foundation of how each person takes their role
on the stage of life. Faith may be as limited to oneself or to an
idea. It can be as expansive as faith in one's tribe, nation or one's
understanding of God.

Those who claiming no faith even in oneself or another are without any
a foundation. What power have they to act? Can they do anything other
than react?

By nature faith summons the forces of our being towards the good.
Therefore faith calls forth confidence and courage when there is no
cause to for hope and therefore no reason to act. Faith defies the
forces of evil to rally forces to act in heroic measure for the good
of others.

What occurs when faith is twisted, deformed, distorted and/or
misdirected to become evil? How can something so noble become so
ignoble? True faith is directed towards life, even life beyond life.
Whereas distorted faith is directed towards death even to glorify
death. Thus life becomes the measure of what is true faith and what is
evil. That which promotes life, protects life, enhances or improves
life serves the divine. That which devalues, seeks to destroy, or to
diminish life is by nature evil.

True faith in the face of evil calls for deliberate contained action
in order to discriminate what is good from what is destructive. True
faith treasures the gift of another's belief. It distinguishes between
those using belief to better humanity versus those misusing faith or
beliefs.

Those misusing religion do so to protect themselves, their tribe,
their followers. They look to harm or destroy those they feel
threaten them. Thus true faith can distinguish between those few who
claim faith but intend death or harm to those who threaten them.

True faith is able to rally the mob to discipline and deliberate
action. Such leaders are able to distinguish between the few bent on
destruction and the greater number of a given community who share
their given identity but seek to enhance the good of all.

There have been and may always be those few Christians, Muslim, Jews
who become so distorted that in the name of their religion they would
murder one to a thousand. But they can never be accepted as
representing their religion or their God. Nor should we ever give into
the temptation to confuse their mission with what their religion
teaches or practices.

True faith and religion band together across their identities to
proclaim solidarity not division or condemnation of the other. Those
who paint a picture that generalizes a particular religion as evil
participates in evil. Across the world diverse religious leaders join
together in solidarity and prayer to refute and reject such forms of
hate.

In our own small town we have religious leaders Christian and Muslim
who bear witness to this truth. We must each take our stand in faith
to promote solidarity and humanity. It is all too lazy and easy to
simply generalize and apply to the many the crimes of a few.

Thus the pastors of Grace Lutheran, St. John's Methodist, Trinity
Episcopal and Divine Savior Catholic have been regularly meeting with
the Imam of Kingman's own Mosque Masjid E Ibrahim. As a representative
of one of these churches I call on every person of true faith to pray
for peace, and understanding, and tolerance. I call on all the
leaders of our faith communities to work for the poor and
disenfranchised in holding up the dignity of each and every human
being making our community one of true faith.

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