Election years always bring out the true believers, those who know God best. God wants, God intends, God supports, God is on our side (not yours).
This year's election has made me think not about political battles but the nature of belief. Within certain expressions of Christendom, people don’t simply believe, they believe fiercely. They’ve staked their lives upon the conquered soils of truth and will defend their beliefs with every ounce of strength and courage they can muster. They will stand strong upon their words of Conviction, those words themselves culled from the written word of God. Some even go so far as to boldly confess those beliefs in public forums for all to hear—this is the rock upon which we stand, and we shall not be moved.Belief is typically treated as a matter of accepting certain ideas. That is, if we agree in our minds that x, y, and z are “true,” then we are believers of that truth. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? Do you accept that proposition? Then you are a believer.
But the more I read the biblical text, the more I’m convinced that we’re wrong about belief. In the ancient world, belief wasn’t a matter of mere mental assent; belief was something you did. In other words, what you do reveals what you really believe, regardless of what you say you agree to.It is in that spirit—that belief is revealed in living and not through mental agreement—that I share with you some of the things I believe:
I believe that (more) money will save me. I believe that the poor are cursed and the rich are blessed, that God loves more those who have more and loves less those who have less.
I believe that if I work just a little bit harder, put in just a little more effort, and produce just a little bit more that life will get just a little bit better for me; and I believe that God, as a result, might love me just a little bit more.
I believe that some people deserve what they get, but I believe that I’ve gotten a raw deal.
I believe that God uses commercials and advertising to tell me that I’ve failed at life.
I believe that people should endanger their lives in sweat shops to make products that make my life more comfortable, more convenient, and more fun.I believe that my rights are more important than your well-being, that sacrifice should benefit me and not you.
I believe that what’s in my best interests should be in your best interests.I believe that politics, like money, will save me. I believe that the law reigns, not God.
I believe that God is a very present absence in a time of need.I believe that God is honored when I pretend that I have it all together.
I believe that suspicion beats trust.I believe that being bitter is better than being naïve.
I believe that a cold heart wins.I believe that I must be wise in the ways of the world, that innocence only makes things worse.
I believe that I have to look out for myself, that no one else will.
I believe that Christendom is one of the worst things to happen to the kingdom of God.I believe that I have all the answers.
Lord, I believe. Help thou my belief.