As you read this section you need to know that I write it in a condition which very much falls in line with this segment’s heading. My faith has been quite flat for some time now. Not by conscious choice; rather, simply through poor decisions on my part (or lack thereof), and geography. I have very few Christian friends where I live. Let me rephrase that— I have found it difficult to find the kind of Christian friendships here that can truly feed my soul; but there are some— Jeremy, Paul, Mike, John, Alan. Not that I am all that special, or above anyone else; quite the opposite. It is more an issue of commonality of perspective on culture, society, the Christian faith, and the nature of the interplay between them. I enjoy my pluralistic, feigning-acceptance-yet-ignorance-of-my-faith culture. I walk gingerly among my fellow believers, fearing their reproach or scoffing. I walk boldly alongside my pagan friends, caring for their pain, their heart’s concerns, their relational ambiguities, and gender confusions. Nor do I judge them. That I leave for God.
My soul is weighted heavily with their concerns, their pain, their sorrows, their emptiness. Caring like this is a conscious decision. I rejoice with them at the birth of their children; weep, and pray, with them at the loss of a child, or over a broken marriage, or loss of a partner. I love those whom God has place in my path. I am well aware that I might be the only Christ they ever know.
The same is true of my friends who are genuine followers of Christ…, or even for those who are not quite there yet. The love is the same, even though the people may be of vastly divergent dispositions.
Thus, have I defined one of the reasons for my flat faith. I care for others more than I am cared for. This is a problem. Some years ago one of the pastors of my church described me as a “non-maintenance member.” Surprised, I asked him what he meant. He proceeded to describe me as one who came across as such a strong person that I needed no care, no pastoring, no shepherding. Wow! I sadly informed him that such was far from accurate. But sadder still, nothing really changed. I will admit that I do present quite a solid, secure, aura; because, overall, it is who I am. But I am not without weakness, softness, and a deep need for fellow human beings to gather about me to encourage and love me.
Over the next few EMPulses I want to give you some ideas on what I did, and what you can do to restore your faith from flat to vibrant. A flat faith can suffocate itself and die.
Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President
NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— Flat2Fantastic, pt.11.