Faith is a very personal thing. Certain scriptures, songs and prayers can unlock memories, bring comfort, challenge ideas and inspire. It is comforting to know that there have been people that have gone before that have experienced difficulties and faced challenges (and sometimes failed) who maintained their faith. These people become heroes of the faith, or sometimes saints. These are the people I feel I can relate to because of the challenges that they faced. When I stop to think about these people, I realize that they are my heroes. I’ve included those who through my reading, praying, meditating and fellowshipping have encouraged me, inspired me, sometimes even threatened me (out of my comfort level at least). I don’t know if I can really number them, rank them, or order them, but here are some of my faith heroes: (I want to keep this a growing list, I’ll continue to add more as I discover them, or are reminded of them)
C.S. Lewis –
Lewis is a writer extraordinaire. His Chronicles of Narnia are fantastic, and helped to mold my very imagination as a youngster. As an adult I’ve grown to appreciate his intellectual musings especially in books such as The Problem of Pain, and Mere Christianity. Lewis is a thinker, a searcher, and most importantly a finder.
Some favourite Lewis quotations:
– You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
– Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
– I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
– Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
– A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.
G.K Chesterton –
Gilbert Keith Chesterton is noted for his writings, apologetics, fiction, non-fiction, letters, memoirs and musings. My favourite book of his (and indeed one of my very favourite books) is Orthodoxy. Chesterton explains in ways that are funny, poignant and cut to the heart. He was a contemporary and friend with other English influential writers such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell.
Chesterton’s sense of humour is legendary. When The Times invited several eminent authors to write essays on the theme “What’s Wrong with the World?” Chesterton’s contribution took the form of a letter:
- Dear Sirs,
- I am.
- Sincerely yours,
- G. K. Chesterton
He is one of the few Christian thinkers who are equally admired and quoted by both liberal and conservative Christians, and indeed by many non-Christians. He routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox Christian,” and came to identify such a position with Roman Catholicism more and more, eventually converting to the Church of Rome.
Favourite G.K. quotations:
-The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.
-The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion
Steve is a writer – of lyrics, poems, songs and stories. He is a fantastically talented guitarist, and when I hear the combination, I can’t help but be moved. I had the very good fortune of hearing Steve play, talk, muse and teach at a conference in Winnipeg just a couple of days ago. He gave me a couple of titles to pursue. What resonated with me more than anything, was his understanding (and exploration of the idea of the trinity). Steve quotes a theologian (name forgotten here) who says : The Church in North America is confessionally trinitarian, but practically unitarian.
What Steve is getting at, and what I will pursue, is the 3 persons of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Some profoundness that nearly floored me yesterday:
* God had perfect love, communion, fellowship in the trinity before time/the universe/humans existed. He did not ‘need’ to create us.
* We were created as an expression of God’s love, out of love, not to be loved
* By grace, we can experience the type of relationship the trinity has by nature
* In a monotheistic religion can God be love by nature? Only in the figure of the trinity can love be circulating before creation. Otherwise, humans (or other creatures) were required to be created for love to exist. In other words, God couldn’t be love until there was something to love. Weird!
* The power of the trinitarian relationship can be applied to all relationships humans have: financially, ecologically, spiritually, sexually etc..
Some of my favourite lyrics are from a song written by Jim Croegaert that Steve sang:
And here by the water/I’ll build an altar to praise Him/Out of the stones that I’ve found here/I’ll set them down here/Rough as they are/Knowing you can make them holy
I’m nearly certain that Mr. Bell would not want to be anyone’s spiritual hero. I’m sure he’d be gracious about it, however. He’s a hero because he is a searcher, a learner, a discover – and when he’s done all of those things, he has a gifting that allows him to share it with others. His music and his lyrics bring others into a holy place, a place of worship, the very courts of heaven above – God’s presence. This isn’t because it’s of some mighty ability he has. But God used Bell’s talent to give me a little clearer glimpse of Himself.
These are ideas I’m excited to pursue!
Probably a leader on anybody’s list. I don’t feel I need to say much about her. One thing I find both heartbreaking and encouraging is the utter spiritual darkness she operated under for the vast majority of her ministry. She felt such darkness, and prayed everyday for God’s grace to allow her to come out of her depression. What is amazing, is that she didn’t stop acting on her faith, a faith that had all but dried up. The song Blessed Be Your Name includes the line ‘Blessed be your name, when I’m found in the desert place and I’m lost in the wilderness, Blessed be your name.’ She was in the desert longer than the Israelites. Still she blessed God’s name. If she can persevere for a lifetime, I certainly can for days or weeks.
Please inform me of your faith heroes!