I’m reading John Lewis’s book, Across That Bridge, A Vision for Change and the Future of America. It is the exact opposite of the other book I’m reading this month, Octavia Butler’s, Parable of the Sower, a dystopian novel set in 2024. While Lewis’s book is full of hope, Butler’s paints a gruesome picture of the not so distant future, and oddly enough both of these stories are about faith.
Lewis’s book is rooted in Christianity. In fact, the first quote in the book is Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Church kids will recognize that scripture and know that what follows is what I call the Hebrews Hall of Faith. In it, we get a list of biblical characters and their many acts of incredible faith.
In contrast, our protagonist in Butler’s tenth novel is starting her own religion that she is calling Earthseed. Lauren is the daughter of a preacher, but she has her own ideas about religion. She discovers that the only constant truth is change, and that therefore Change is God. This runs against my Baptist hymnal theology, that teaches me God’s hand is unchanging, but I understand her thinking.
Reading these two books at the same time has been a blessing. Whenever I get feverishly caught up in the despair of what’s happening now, and what could happen in the not-so-distant future, I turn to Lewis’ book. His book tells stories of the past and how his ideals brought him from being a farmhand to shaking hands with world leaders.
What I’m learning is that my faith must change with the times. The faith that I had when I was baptized is not the same faith I have today. It has changed and grown with me. What I believe and know about God is shaped by my past experiences with my God. I did not know God as a healer until I was healed myself. I will take that knowledge of God with me the next time I fall into sickness. I did know God as a provider until I literally gave away my last two dollars. I will take that knowledge with me, the next time my finances get a little tight.
There is a reason that Hebrews 11:1 starts with the word now. What we believe ought to keep up with the times. The faith of yesteryear was good for that time, but we need a faith that will get us through today and into our tomorrow. Jesus said each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Lord, grant me the faith I need to get through today’s trouble.