Holding the Vision for an Inclusive Definition of Faith

One of my favorite podcasts is Dear Sugar with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. It’s essentially an advice column in the form of a podcast where they respond to people’s letters asking for help, which invariably lead to deep queries into the human experience. They brought on Reverend Jacqueline Lewis from NYC to address a woman’s distress over having departed from her very Christian upbringing and thus her parent’s way of being and doing in the world. She sees their differing vantage points of faith as being mutually exclusive whereas Rev. Jackie points to the fundamental purpose of faith beyond and below how God is defined. That faith, regardless of how we get there, should be a mutually supportive and deeply connective force in our lives.

“One of my favorite scriptures says, how can we love a God whom we can’t see if we don’t love our neighbor whom we can’t see. The best of what religion has to offer and the best of what faith has to offer is an organizing principle. There’s a way in which faith reminds us of our goodness, helps us to imagine creating the world we want and if faith isn’t doing that then it’s too puny.”

My vision for the world in one hundred years from now is not limited by how we define God. In fact, how we define our faith and experience God is irrelevant. What IS relevant is that we are operating from the expansive nature of love and connection to one another and that THAT is the guiding principle in our lives. We know this because we have experienced the implications of maintaining exclusive notions of faith and we know deep in our being that this only leads to separation and suffering.

Listen to the full podcast here: 

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