Frank's report 19th Sept 2011

I am delighted that Mary has offered to lead us at our next meeting (Oct 1st) on the theme of “The nature of faith” She offers the following notes to set us thinking... 1. “The Nature of Faith” …………. That was Frank’s phrase in his summary of the PCN meeting 3rd Sept. 2011 The front page of June 2011 “Reform” ( URC monthly magazine) was dominated with the words THE HABIT OF FAITH. It turned out that the phrase came from notes on a conversation the editor of the magazine had had with Canon Dr Francis Ward, dean of St Edmondsbury Cathedral! The following is a quoted from that conversation: "We went to church: for me it was with no great conviction, but it did form habits and I am a real believer that you need to learn religion. It is a bit like learning to read – you can’t just choose in or out – your choices get framed by the habits of your life and in my case a lot of it stuck…... … for me I can think myself into the doubts, the radical doubt about God, and I often find myself thinking this is just an enormous charade. But then it’s as if you get drawn back to thinking, -well - actually God’s the best idea humanity has ever come up with – a beautiful, good, loving being, who is beyond what we can imagine, passing all human understanding. If you do find yourself choosing to take the step into faith then you realise there are actually more profound realities and truths to be grasped or wrestled with. Then you get drawn in and the fruits of faith begin to become apparent. You start to think – what does it mean to be a self-sacrificial person who is actually thinking about other people rather than myself?” I (Mary) have found myself in such a mood, again and again! I remember a little book “For the Church Member” produced for young people wishing to join a Congregational Church, having the heading “The Faith that holds us” Some of us now say that we know the strength of that”faith which holds us!” 2 OTHER FAITHS We hear of the activities of multi-faith groups and applaud the search for understanding between people of varying “faiths”. We probably intend our hearers to take it for granted that all faithful religious people practise “tolerance”! 3 FAITH IN THE BIBLE Romans 1 v 16-17 in the KJV “The just shall live by faith” Hebrews 11 “What is faith?” asks the writer?!!!¬ OR DO WE MEAN -saying : The Apostles, or Nicene creed? Is Faith more of a verb than a noun??. Our recent critical interest in hymns has brought another response – from Monty Lynch a PCN convenor, who has written words for “To God be the glory” Interestingly it contains the lines, "Don’t wait for the answers, just question in faith, for spiritual journeys should never be safe.." ‘Faith’ is not necessarily just about ‘ideas in the head’ and seeking better answers This becomes clear when we use the alternative word -’ trust’ Trust is risky. Is this person honest? Will love help someone to see God? Will the truth be acceptable?? We can only discover these answes through commitment,- taking risks.. Have you returned your PCN Response questionnaire yet.?? Due October 3rd.. Look forward to seeing you all again on Oct, 1st. Frank G.

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