Faith-Based –vs- Faith-PlacedI took my daughter to Six Flags last night for the very first time. I remember being about her age (8, turning 15) and not imagining that anything bad could ever happen at a place filled with so much fun and laughter.
But as a parent last night, I found myself checking the structures as though I were a certified civil engineer, and assessing the maturity and abilities of the teenage ride operators as my little girl was strapped into pieces of metal and fabric and plastic that would soon rip her upward 250 feet into the air at 50 mph. And yet, all of us parents (the ones on the ground who didn’t accompany our children) did just that. We placed our faith in the talents of the designers of those rides, the builders of those rides, and the operators of those rides.
Well, of course, who wouldn’t trust the famed and noted designer…hmmm, WHO exactly DID design that ride? Well, no matter, the company who built the ride is of elite stature and no one would dare question the precision of...oh my, I have NO CLUE who actually constructed this monstrous piece of steel. That's okay, though, these ride operators are trained professionals who do this as a personal calling in line with their God-given talents...AFTER THEY GET OUT OF THEIR HIGH SCHOOL GYM CLASS!
Oh my goodness. It dawned on me that I have fewer reservations about strapping my daughter into an amusement ride and demonstrate more certain faith in people whom I can't even name and know nothing about than I do in trusting her with the Designer of an entire universe, Builder of mountains and trees and all living creatures, and Operator of hearts and souls.
Regardless of what you may believe about the existence or the nature of God, we at least have a 'biography' of Him in the Bible. If I have questions about strapping my daughter into His care, and I have a concern about His credentials, I can at least turn to any one of the books of the Bible and find an answer as to His experience and His skillset.
But I am guessing that if I were to ask the Ride Operator at Six Flag for references and a dossier that they would tell me to take a hike -- ride or go away. How dare I question their professionalism or ethics or skill set, even though I am about to put my precious baby girl in their care. And yet, God reveals Himself so fully to us so that should we have any questions at all about His intents or abilities or nature or desires, it is there for us to discover with the turn of a page. And yet, we continue to argue and question and doubt and use our 'lack of surety' to deny Him control of the spiritual well-being of our lives. But we have no qualms about trusting a string of strangers at an amusement park with our physical well-being.
Well, all this to say that I thought of the phrase 'faith-based' as it applies to programs in society. "Faith-based" implies that the faith is rooted, based, stems from something that is set, steady and immutable. But I honestly think that we tend to be 'faith-placed' in many instances -- we place our faith in others -- be it individuals, agencies, programs or institutions -- that have in no way personally demonstrated that they are worthy of our faith.
So, I am really looking inward on this one. If someone looked at my life, would they consider me to be a 'faith-based' person? Or would they see that I tend to act more like a 'faith-placed' person?