What is faith?
There are lots of models of faith. One of the ones I like is in Francis Bridger’s book Children Finding Faith.
In this, faith is described as believing, trusting, doing and imagining.
Faith as believing – knowledge, knowing facts, understanding certain pivotal truths underpin our faith, as demonstrated in the Creed. This is what Rachel Turner calls ‘God-smart’ in her book Parenting Children for a life of faith. “Christiand often find themselves forced into a polarised choice between faith as intellectual assent and faith as emotional commitment.” I would suggest it’s both and more.
Faith as trusting – encounter, knowing through experience, heart, feelings, relationship, what Rachel Turner calls ‘God-connected’.
Faith as doing – living a life which shows what we believe and who we trust. ‘Faith without works is dead’.
Faith as imagining – the ability to re-image ourselves and others as God sees us, to create images and enter a world which we have heard about but not been to. Imagining details of Bible stories often allows us to encounter God in a fresh way which changes us. Imagination allows us to imagine God who we cannot see, to imagine Him being able to do impossible things, to imagine our role in His huge plan, and to begin to live as if our imaginations are true – not to live according to a fantasy but to live according to the rules of an unseen kingdom, and for a future which we don’t yet see but have heard will be AWESOME.
This last one is the hardest for many of us adults, but children find it far easier. This is one of the brilliant things about faith as a family, that as we journey together we can learn from and be inspired by each other’s strengths in the faith. Adults may have more knowledge or understanding, for example of Bible times and culture, and children have an amazing ability to hear those facts and create that world.
What part of this model do you feel most at home with? Which one features most in your family faith at home together?