{In my last post on faith, I received several very thoughtful comments — including one from Crumpet. She mentioned being an atheist and feeling like she regularly had to defend her choices. I am a United Methodist and sharing my faith is very new and pretty frightening. I think a person’s relationship with their faith is as unique and intimate as life develops. My faith is right for me, but certainly not for others. In writing about spirituality, I’d like to emphasize one essential point that has kept me from ministry — I don’t believe in evangelizing. I don’t think of Christianity as being superior to other faiths; it is, however, just right for me. I’d like to encourage readers to discuss their beliefs, how they’ve developed and how they’ve been influenced. I love learning from others.}

At church yesterday, the sermon focused on dreams and how being in tune with our desires for the future can providing “poetic possibilities.” Ever the list-maker, goal-setter and dreamer, I pulled out a pen and took a couple of notes. I believe that my dreams for the future (family, close relationship with friends, garden, animals, etc) have been placed in my heart by God. The direction of my professional life has certainly be guided by my faith and, finally, I’ve reached a point of maturity where my faith is also providing guidance to my personal relationships.
Pastor Jeff, who is also my friend and confidant, said the prerequisites for vision include a need to be open, vulnerability and discernment. Ultimately, we need to be willing to listen, put ourselves in situations that force us to learn and determine our priorities in life. Love, moral excellence and generosity were listed as examples.
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. Faith is found in forgiving, empowering and gracious love.”

I consider myself pretty forgiving, although I have a tipping point that makes me absolutely furious and unwilling to continue relationships. I am rarely pushed to this ugly place, but it certainly occurs and did his weekend. Moral excellence is a tricky one because who sets the bar? Is there a specific moral memo that didn’t cross my desk? I try to follow the golden rule and be kind, but I’ve been known to honk in traffic and drop the F bomb when provoked.

The beauty of my faith is that while I am regularly reminded of the ways I can grow and improve, I am equally reminded that I am forgiven. It is a beautiful balance.

What do you believe? Why?