Friday, October 18, 2013


With fall in full swing, the cool air, brilliant colors of the leaves, and gathering of the birds for their great migrations, I feel compelled to get outside and spend some time in the great outdoors.  Last weekend I had an opportunity to spend some time in the woods, and came away feeling a need to get out more often to spend more time in my place of worship – the place that renews my faith.  So what is this faith that is renewed in me?

In his essay “An Opportunity for a Powerful New Religious Influence”, Robert Greenleaf references Dean Inge’s definition of faith – “the choice of the nobler hypothesis” and goes on to explain:

It is the choice to act upon those assumptions about the nature of people and the world that will release an optimal contemporary force to lead people to be religious in the root sense of the word, that is “bound to the cosmos,” at one with the great creative force. A religious person in this sense stands above and beyond dogmas and creeds and one’s limited capacity to conceptualize and articulate. It is religion at the level of awe and wonder as one contemplates the great mystery of all creation and of one’s own significant being. Despite other differences, faith at this level will give a small group of able, dedicated, responsible, truly conservative people the common ground from which to proceed with assurance.

So it is this faith that goes beyond history, beyond story, and beyond religion as it is typically defined, that is what we need to tap into. We can find this faith by experiencing life, not hiding behind the distractions or numbing ourselves with our addictions. It takes times of quiet, times when we seek communion to bond with the cosmos. And it is by finding these connections that we can become inspired to go out and form new connections to preach this new theology that is really just the old theology that we forgot about somewhere down the road to civilization.

Go for a walk in the woods and hug a tree, walk out in the night look up at the stars or perhaps the full moon reflecting back at us. Spend some time wondering and experience that awe that has always been there – that is the theology we need to heal us.  And perhaps when we come to embrace this theology, we will find the way to end our wars, political and economic failures, poverty, crime, and ecosystem collapse that dominate the news of our world.   We need to reclaim our ability to act with this kind of faith.