The Real Issues of Faith

From William Stringfellow's book Free in Obedience:
[T]he people and the things which an ordinary Christian comes into contact from day to day are the primary and most profound issues of his faith and practice...For me, the day to day issues are like these:

--a young, unmarried, pregnant girl--who says she is afraid to confide in either her parents or her minister--comes to see me to find out how her unborn child can be adopted.

--a convict writes to ask if a job might be found for him so that he can be paroled from prison.

--a college student, unable to find summer work, borrows twenty dollars.

--a woman, who has found another man, wants a divorce from her alcoholic husband.

--a Negro is arrested because he protested discrimination in the city.

--a seminarian is discouraged and disillusioned about the churches and thinks he cannot and should not be ordained.

--an addict want to get out of the city to try again to kick his habit.

--a family is about to be dispossessed from their tenement.

--somebody is lonely and just wants to talk.

These represent, in my life, the real issues of faith, just as the daily happenings in your life, whatever they may be, are the real issues of faith for you. The real issues of faith for the Church have to do not so much with the nature and structure of the ecclesiastical institutions as with illegitimate childbirth, or imprisonment, or with the problems of those who are unemployed, broke, estranged, persecuted, possessed, or harassed by the premonition of death. The real issues of faith have to do with the everyday needs of [people] in the world and with the care for and service of those needs, whatever they may be, for which the Church exists.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

6 thoughts on “The Real Issues of Faith”

  1. "... for which the Church exits."
    That's been my experience.  But I think you meant "exists."

    I'm currently reading Phillip Yancey's "What Good Is God." His take is similar.

  2.  I would ask if you find it funny a professional psychologist made a "Freudian slip" but I shall refrain....

    Given your recent postings on the slavery of death, I wonder how much of that is contained in these writings.  (I cannot recall if Stringfellow was one of the ones you were referencing for your posts)  I mean, we want our life, and our church, to be involved in "big" things, as viewed by the world, in order to feel as if we are doing something important and lasting, when the Gospels seem to indicate that, well, God is in the details of life.

    Maybe that is why it had to be spelled out "whatever you do to the least of these...."

  3. Wasn't it Augustine who said, "The church is a whore, but she's is my mother."?

    Now that, sir, is Freudian!

  4. Maybe the church is just a GCB?
     This story made me laugh, and I liked this quote:
    "The church has avoided places where it could not tell the dominant story."

Leave a Reply