Teaching the simple truths that shape our faith

My main goal on the days I blog here is build relationship through dialogue.  Agree or disagree…let’s talk!  I’d love to hear your opinions on the subjects about which I write.  Do they touch you? Anger you? Bless you? Do you agree with a hearty AMEN!–Or desire to discuss why I’m way off base?  Look for my blog posts every Tuesday and every other Thursday.  It’ll hopefully be a little diversion from the usual…

Organic.  It’s my new favorite word.  It even sounds clean and simple.  Plus, I think I’m at a place in my life where simplicity totally trumps extravagance!  I grew up in the fat 80’s, so take my word on this!

Today I went to the local Farmer’s Market and picked up a bunch of produce for the coming week.  I love knowing that the stuff I feed my family is not sprayed with toxic pesticides or other synthetic chemicals. Fruits and veggies, fresh from the farm. Simple. — And yeah, a little dirt and a few bugs.  But that stuff is just all part of the “organic” experience.  Ask any organic food user; seeing the dirt, pebbles and tiny bugs wash off the lettuce, strawberries and spinach and then down the drain, is cathartic in some strange way!  Washed clean.

It got me to thinking.  In my walk of faith, I wonder if I can apply the term “organic” and still be in line with God’s Word.  What do you think? Are we called to live an organic faith  IN Jesus? What does that even mean?

When I looked up the definition for “organic”, the three words that were used to define it, were:  fundamental, systemic and living.  Further decoding of these words to get to their meaning, was an amazing revelation:

Fundamental: Our foundation.

Systemic:  Affecting the whole body

Living:   Referring to life– to exist

Wow!  Is it just me, or does that sound exactly like what the Bible and our faith is all about?  Even what Jesus’ whole message is about!– and let’s not forget the mystery of our salvation, through grace!  Big, yes. HUGE, in fact!  But a simple truth.

I’m not saying that following a life of faith is EASY.  It’s not even remotely easy.  It’s application  in our lives can be down-right difficult!  The “building character” part of our walk can cause emotional and even physical pain!  Unfortunately, simple and clean DO NOT necessarily equal easy and painless.

What about the pesticides? What things can be toxic to my faith-walk?  My best, yet condensed answer would be, anything that keeps us from our growing relationship with Jesus.  Whether that means the world, self, or even (..and I’m hiding behind my computer desk as I write this…) RELIGIOSITY!   Because Organic faith means Christ ALIVE in us!

Perhaps that’s why for many of us parents and ministry leaders, we gravitate so comfortably into the Christian children’s media genre.  Speaking for myself, I just love the no-nonsense approach that a product like What’s in the Bible? uses to teach.  It is 100% truth…not watered down, but simply-stated.  I like that! My very tired mommy-brain likes that, too!

Most of the time I don’t need all the bells and whistles when it comes to learning about or growing in relationship with Christ.  I’m done jumping through all the man-made hoops in order to feel worthy of His love, truly forgiven, or saved.  He is my gift.  I accepted Him fully into my heart, and realize that He now is in charge of my life– even if my human nature / control freak / OCD kicks in throughout the day, and I momentarily forget.

Grace; Clean and simple, but sometimes difficult to totally comprehend.

One of my favorite choices for comparing wording and having a cleaner application to Scripture is, The Message.  While most of us know John 3:16 by heart, this is John 3: 16-18 (The Message):

16-18″This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

Organic, indeed!

What are your thoughts on this?  Is this approach too small or simple for something so big??

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9 comments
Lisa S.
Lisa S.

Denise, what a beautiful example of how Jesus sustains us physically as well as spiritually! Thanks for that insight. When it comes to worship, I'll tell ya...I'm a loaded potato kind of gal! :) Don't you just LOVE metaphors?!

Denise M
Denise M

Well, as a Catholic Christian, when you gave the definition of organic as Fundamental: Our foundation; Systemic: Affecting the whole body; Living: Referring to life– to exist, the first thing that I thought of was the Eucharist. Fundamentally, Christ came to set us sinners free, He is the Lamb of God. Systemic-as heavenly food, He is nourishment. He called Himself the Bread of Life in John 16, especially in verses 48-58. Interestingly enough, personally, I prefer to celebrate the Mass in quiet, with silence, simple, "organic" in a way. You know, no additives. But sometimes you do need the full on loaded potato with all the singing, music, smells and bells. :)

Lisa S.
Lisa S.

Good points, Carole! I think that's where the disconnect may happen in our journey of faith. Sometimes thinking the ritual is what brings us to Christ...when in fact we are celebrating our faith in Christ, through the ritual. Kathy~ I am so humbled by your words! I consider you to be a great, insightful writer!! Awesome blog, my friend!!

Carol Reehle
Carol Reehle

My 2 cents: I had a similar conversation with a few people at church last Sunday regarding the ritual piece. I have attended a non-denominational, non-traditional, but Bible based church. I got saved through Young Life ( youth ministry) in high school where the truths of the Bible were applied to our lives without any rituals. Growing up I attended a Lutheran church with some of the rituals. I remember a Young Life friend who attended a Baptist Church in HS was drawn to the more ritualistic Episcopal Church in college and I could not understand why. She felt that the rituals ( stations of the Cross etc) helped to draw her to Christ. It made me realize that many rituals were designed with that in mind. God even directed us to continue with some rituals ( ex.communion- NT, passover- OT) to help us remember and to pass on the importance of certain things to our children. I think when the ritual is done for the ritual itself and the focus lost that is where the danger lies. So, I think 'organic' faith will be different for each of us. One's leftovers is another's fertilizer! [To try and say it without offending] The key is, is it promoting healthy growth and reproduction. Are we growing in Jesus, with Jesus and bringing others to Jesus. Whatever aids in that is organic for you, what detracts or deters that is waste, so get rid of it. We may need to incorporate a bit of both, ritual and freedom- especially in teaching children where repetition in learning is so importatnt.

Kathy
Kathy

Organic always makes my brain think Organic "Matter"! Now that is either "yucky" or cool depending on how much you like science. But I was thinkin', Organic really does "matter" based on your listed definitions. Love seeing your thoughts in writing. Can't wait til next time. And by the way...we both have the same thread running through our writing this week (maybe because we are sewn from the same cloth from the same creator) as I also used the Message and John 3:16 on the website. Organic brownie now please! Love, Kathy

Lisa S.
Lisa S.

Ori, I will say that being raised Catholic, some of the rituals I grew up with really did make me feel as though I was in the presence of God. There was "holiness" that different Sacraments exuded, so I do get what you mean. My thought process has changed a bit over the years, but I certainly can appreciate how religious rituals can be an important aspect of one's personal relationship with God. In fact, when the last Pope was elected, I watched the whole thing on TV (like I remember doing as a child, attending Catholic school)-- which my kids thought was extremely boring, I might add! But it was a ritual that was so tied into our Church history, I felt it was a great learning experience for them as well as being a very important historical event.

Cindy
Cindy

Spoken beautifully, Lisa! I so agree with you!

Ori Pomerantz
Ori Pomerantz

Is this approach too small or simple for something so big?? One man's meat is another man's poison. Some people might concentrate on God better if they use rituals that for you would be excessive. The simple approach works for you, and that's great.