When was the last time your faith was really challenged?
I don't mean the last time you were tempted or felt like doing something outside your set of values, etc. I mean your core faith was challenged? You had to question what you believe?
I'm reading a book right now by James Kugel: "How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now" which is a wonderfully written book. Kugel was a very popular Professor of Hebrew at Harvard for many years before moving to Jerusalem to teach, write and research. This book presents a very different way to interpret the Old Testament Scriptures along with what we would consider traditional interpretations. The reader is encouraged to compare and contrast and come to conclusions that may or may not be in line with his or her faith. I am over half way through and find myself questioning my long held beliefs about the origin of Scripture and some of the historical accounts laid out by the writers of the Bible. In short my faith is being challenged.
It got me thinking about how complacent we get - really comfortable with what we think we know and unless that knowledge is challenged, it gets very stale. I'm not talking about more study from the same perspective, but getting outside our comfort zone and looking at our faith from a different perspective. Seeking out contradictory viewpoints in order to sharpen our own viewpoint.
I don't think we should be afraid of finding contradiction to our faith. I wouldn't recommend the book I'm reading to anyone whose faith is not very strong, but without challenging and testing your faith, it's unlikely it will remain strong.
I'll review this book once I'm done with it, but for now, I challenge you to read and listen to conflicting viewpoints so that you can sharpen your own faith walk. Without "iron on iron" sharpening, your faith will continue to dull.
Lord knows, we have enough dull Christians around already!
Pops Blair, 2007