From the President 4-23-2017

July 27, 2017
Posted by: Brenda Tyler

Some years ago, Peter Vardy, wrote a little book entitled, An Introduction to Kierkegaard. In it Vardy writes:

                 “For Kierkegaard, there is nothing higher than faith . . . Faith is essentially, a life – a life

                  lived in imitation of Christ and as a follower of Christ. It involves becoming a self, an

                  individual whose life is informed by an awareness of one’s dependence on and

                  accountability to God.”

 

Vardy goes on to say,

                “Faith is not a matter of assent to doctrines, it is not a matter of belonging to a particular

                 religious group and taking part in its rituals. Faith is shown in how one’s life is lived –

                 those alone have faith who trust their whole life to God, for whom God is at the center

                 of everything they do and think . . . Others may talk about faith and lecture about faith –

                 but they do not have it. Faith may therefore be found in the very simple persons whose

                 whole lives rest on God. They will know themselves to be sinners and failures but they

                 accept that God loves them not because they are good or virtuous. God loves them as

                 they are – warts and all. This is the hardest thing of all for the strong, independent

                 individual to understand but it is what faith involves. Anything else is an exercise in

                 self-deceit.”

 

From an early age, my whole life became God-centered, I wanted to know everything possible

about God and I wanted to experience the fullness of God. The church became that place that

was my home away from home. Whenever the doors of the church were open, I was there. I

remember going away from home to college. At the first holiday break, I drove 480 miles,

passing my parent’s home and going directly to a program at the church. My parents reminded

me of this all throughout their lives.

 

I say these things because I have faith in God and God’s church to touch human hearts, like

God touched mine, providing meaning and purpose for the living of one’s life. But it is more

than the living of one’s solitary life; it is living life in community. There is an old Latin saying,

Extra mundum nulla salas, translated, ‘There is no salvation outside the world.’ The

community we know as church is all about the world that God sent God’s son to love so that

the world can learn to love as God loves.

 

As you know, the world really needs people of faith joined together in a variety of faith

communities, to teach the world to love as God loves. God will use us ‘warts and all’

to help accomplish this high purpose. ‘Anything else is an exercise in self-deceit.’

 

Faithfully yours,

 

Ron