Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Everything about Christianity is dependent on faith, it is the currency of heaven, I like to say. God's love, grace if you are of the reformed persuasion, is foundational, of course, but God saw fit to make love efficacious only through faith. However, every believer has moments when his or her faith signal is charting at only one or two bars instead of three or four. What do you lean on when your faith is out of breath? Is there is spiritual safety net?

I have found one through experience, really a Dragnet that pulls me back to safety. That old TV show from the sixties always had Jack Webb deadpan, "Just the facts, ma'am." A movie version was produced in the 80's with Dan Akroyd intoning the line, but it just wasn't the same. Anyhow, when my faith is squishy, I deadpan to myself, "Just the facts," and with my response resuscitate my trust in God.

What facts do I answer myself with? Just two:

1) Nothing makes sense if God isn't behind existence. I know that there is no way to explain, not only the cosmos, not only the presence and complexity of life, but also the abstraction of human thought apart from God's existence and creativity. Call it a Romans 1 moment. Fact one: God is (he has to be).

2) Jesus rose from the dead. The tomb was empty, no one ever found the body. One of the most brutally pragmatic empires to rise upon the face of earth lost track of a body they truly wanted to keep their hands on, ostensibly to a ragtag crew of bumpkins? No way! The Jews, who tried to deflect the force of eyewitness testimony by suborning perjury, if anything, wanted to confiscate the body more so than the Romans. Their money perished with them, because they never got anyone to lead them to the body. Despite the efforts of Roman and Jew, never was one eyewitness induced to recant, even in the face of torture. A cabal of twits withstood the mighty and the artful. Why? There was no body, it was in use! It was not a spiritual resurrection, a mythological resurrection, nor a metaphorical resurrection--Jesus grew tired of being dead so he came back to life, bodily! Fact two: Jesus rose from the dead (he had to).

Those two not so little facts inflate the life raft of my faith anytime it springs a leak. With the most salubrious effect, they are my answer back to myself whenever I've fallen into confusion or doubt. I hate to admit it, but more than once (to calm the turmoil of soul) I've had to deadpan to mirror, "Just the facts, ma'am."


  1. slw, If you're talking about faith that God exists... I don't have that doubt any more. I KNOW He is...
    As you know I've had very recent times of "lagging faith". I find myself reaching out to people around me for encouragement to stand. My closest friends and my blog friends are my points of fellowship during these dry times. I also look behind me, not in guilt for my past sins, but to the love and grace He has poured on me in spite of my sins. This is my reminder that He was and is ALWAYS there. Gratitude overflows... The Spirit rises in me, and faith, as a rushing waterfall, flows. Hallelujah!

  2. Rita,
    Nice to see you out and about. :-)

    "If you're talking about faith that God exists..."

    Not necessarily, I think we lose sight of God more than we flounder in disbelief that He is at all. We get in funks and think He can't be omniscient or omnipresent or omnipotent or even compassionate. We land in the twilight zone and get stuck in a "look at what I'm going through," "how can God be what I thought he was?" "Where is he now?" kind of a mood. It pays to clear the table and get back to basics (the foundation) in those times. Then we can build again, this time with more rock and less sand.

    I do believe, however, that this approach could even be helpful to someone who was having struggles even believing that God exists.

  3. I have come to the conclusion that one of the primary roles of apologetics is for the edification of the believer. There are many who have come to faith by way of feelings and experience. But when the feelings and memories wane, it is knowledge and reason that must pick up the slack. When my spirit is dry and I lay in bed at night wondering about this crazy thing called Christianity, it is my knowledge of the solid evidence for it that sustains me, and my understanding of the bankruptcy of other worldviews that has me conclude that there is no place else to flee. Among other things. (If someone complains that apologetics leaves no room for "faith" I shall say more.)

  4. Paul,
    I absolutely know what you mean, and have experienced that same reassuring quality of evidence in a dry place. As important as spiritual experience has been to me, evidence has been incredibly sustaining too.


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