There was an interview with acclaimed writer Karen Armstrong in the Charlotte Observer sometime back. She is a theologian and writes about the role of religion in the modern world. In the interview, she was asked about a statement she made related to atheism. The question was posed, “You… say religion is hard work. Are nonbelievers lazy?
Her answer was thoughtful and makes a lot of sense. She said, “No. What I am implying is that nonbelievers can’t comment on faith unless they practice it, because none of our doctrines or beliefs make sense unless they are translated into practical action.”
She goes on to compare knowledge about religion to knowledge about dancing or swimming or driving a car. You can’t learn to do those things simply by reading a book. They must be practiced. But the more they are practiced, the more they are enjoyed.
Each of us is in a different place on the journey of faith. Some of us are struggling to believe at all. Others feel secure and strong in what they believe. Most of us are somewhere in between. But, I have to believe that most of us want to grow. Today, let us each seek to deepen our faith by finding ways to put it into practice:
Give to someone in need. Forgive someone who has hurt you. Listen to someone who is lonely. Use your skills within a ministry. Share your hope with someone on the edge of despair. Take actions that lead to peace and justice.
Let us pray: Loving God, there are times when it is difficult to believe. There are times when the world seems to be unraveling and our lives are turned upside down. We want to believe. We want desperately to have a deep faith that gives our life meaning and hope. Help us to practice – over and over – the central tenants of our faith. We remember today the words of St. Francis, that it is in giving that we receive. Amen.