Musing on the story of St Paul visiting Athens. He’s hanging out, listening to ideas, debating philosophy and religion. He sees an altar with an inscription ‘To an unknown God’…
I’ve been to church all of my life. Church people hold strong opinions about God. Lots of people who don’t go to church and have equally strong views about God… beliefs and prejudices, thoughts and ideas, certainties and doubts… often held for many years.
But starting with an ‘unknown God’. How do you start from scratch?
Musing on 3 dimensions to faith in God…
There’s an intellectual dimension. A set of things, people or values that you believe in. Several friends recently have told me recently what they don’t believe. Faith is about thinking through what this ‘unknown God’ is like and committing yourself to a set of beliefs and values.
There’s a spiritual dimension. I walked along the beach this morning. The sun was rising. Scientists could tell me about the material aspects of sand, sea or sky, but there was a sense that there was something bigger and deeper than just the material. It was beautiful, clear. There was a super-natural wow-factor.
There’s a social dimension. There’s a context of people and situations – students at university, tradesmen on a building site, parents at the school gates, patients in hospital. The intellectual and the spiritual must relate to daily life in general and my life in particular.
Yesterday I was chatting to Tom who helps run an after-school club. Evie, a young black girl sat next to Tom who’s very white. ‘My skin’s a different colour from yours,’ says Evie.
‘What colour is your blood?’ asks Tom.
‘Red,’ says the little girl
‘Mine is too,’ says Tom. ‘It shows that we’re both the same on the inside.’
A great insight – that involved the mind, spirit and people! Tom was starting to explore all 3 dimensions of faith with Evie.