Faith Lies (with Darrell Smith): Lie #6, Faith Is a Private Matter

Continuing our Thursday series with Darrell Smith, sharing from his book Faith Lies: Seven Incomplete Ideas That Hijack Faith and How to See Beyond Them.

Faith Lies with Darrell Smith
Lie #6: Faith Is a Private Matter

Much like divulging whom we voted for in the last election, many of us have embraced the incorrect idea that our spiritual lives are strictly personal—part of an internal dialogue between our heart and the source to which we hold. This, like so many of the lies we face, is a lie of incomplete thinking—a half-truth.

Faith is most certainly personal. We are not wrong to think that we have an internal dialogue with the divine. We are not crazy when we recognize that the God of the universe knows us and loves us personally. We are right to recognize that the same transcendent power and ultimate authority that spins the cosmos also chooses to pursue relationship with us—to actually dwell among and within us. Faith is intimately and awesomely personal. But personal is not synonymous with private. In no way is our faith a private matter.

Our faith was never meant to be something we do alone. Both the stories of the Bible and the overarching story of the history of the faithful confirm that faith is communal.

When we steer into the skid of private spirituality, allowing faith to retreat only to the personal, faith then becomes that which divides us rather than that which unites and ties us together. The results of such faith include division, isolation, loneliness, resentment, bitterness, hatred, and bigotry as we turn more and more inward and fear that which is different from us. Is that a bleak enough picture to get your attention? I hope so.

How about a bigger picture? Hold on to your personal relationship with the divine. It is not in any danger. Just don’t grasp it so tightly in your clenched fist. Let it sit in your open palm. It will remain there. No one will steal it away. And if we hold it openly, we can receive more. Our personal faith can be added to; it can become more than it is now.

We come from community.

We need community.

Community needs us.

Community is not optional.

Explore these ideas in Faith Lies: Seven Incomplete Ideas That Hijack Faith and How to See Beyond Them.

Next week, Faith Lie #7 – Real Faith is Blind Belief

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