Thursday, February 13, 2020

Virtue development, Faith, part three, relinquishment

The development of the virtue of faith involves the giving up of what doesn't matter.

If the development of the virtue of faith has to do with investigating and deciding on what really matters so as to decide in what to put one's faith, it also implies a choice between what really matters and what doesn't matter.

Giving up and eschewing what doesn't matter becomes an important part of faith development. Some people may experience this as deprivation and sacrifice, and others come to experience it as a liberation and freedom.

Faith development can be understood as freedome from nonsense and counterfeit things which society tells us and seduces us to perceive as desirable and worthy of acquisition and attainment.

When we put our faith in something, we are necessarily giving up putting our faith in other things. We can't do both. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

In Unitarian Univeralism we are very clear that we put our faith in our covenant with one another to affirm and promote our seven principles. Most people, even cultural UUs, don't understand the foundation of their faith nor is the faith consistently and coherently preached, unfortunately, from its pulpits. An uneducated, and uninformed congregation can never prosper and actualize its potential.

Jesus often brought the lack of faith to people's attention. He says four times in the New Testament, "oh ye of little faith." Jesus says in Matthew 6:30 "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Do we worry about the wrong things? Do we strive after the wrong things? What are the right things after which we should strive? In what do you put your faith? In deciding to put your faith in some things, what are the things which you have relinquished?

Lent is coming. It is a time of relinquishment, a time of giving things up. But the giving up of things is not a sacrifice or a deprivation but a making of space and conserving time and energy for things we have considered more important. Lent is a time to consider, reconsider, what I want to put my faith in. And in making this choice, what will I be giving up, rising above, setting aside, no longer paying attention to?

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