We live in a crowded and busy marketplace of competing faiths, dueling deities, and rival worldviews, which means that we have to choose, deliberately and intentionally, which god we’re going to serve and which way through life we’re going to travel. Bob Dylan got it right when he said: “You’re gonna’ serve somebody,” so we need to choose that somebody/Somebody wisely. If we don’t, we’ll likely end-up simply serving some version of ourselves. Maybe subtly or perhaps obviously, we’ll make ourselves the center of our attention, loyalty, and commitment.
When choosing the god we serve and the path we follow, I think there are important questions to ask, questions like:
Does my faith have a truthful, realistic, sober, yet hopeful view of the human condition and the nature of the world? Does it cause me to see people, however broken they/we may be and however wrong they/we may go, as beloved children who have more potential for light and joy than they/we know?
Does it give me a vision of the world made whole? Does it energize me to work toward that wholeness?
Does my faith cause me to respond to suffering with compassion?
Does my faith speak meaningfully to my longing for love? Does it enable to become more loving?
Can it deal failure and guilt—with shame and alienation—in a way that restores people to community and gives them/us the confidence that new beginnings are possible?
Does my faith give me a reason to live that is bigger and more enduring than myself?
I remain a follower of Jesus, because the way to which he calls me is a way which answers “yes” to these questions. As I experience it, It is a way to authentic and meaningful life. I am some distance from the life to which he has invited me, but that distance is a reflection on the energy and pace of my travel, not on the direction and value of the path.