It’s 4:45 a.m. and I just finished my sermon on the nature of faith.
Just in case you are worried that I haven’t had ANY sleep, I should note that I went to be around 11 and woke up at 3:30 to finish.
Does the sermon make sense? Who knows? I think I offer some ways to think about faith that lie outside the normal realms of church life, but I may be deluding myself.
The one illustration that I really like though came when I was ruminating on the nature of “knowing,” the understanding that all of our knowledge is based upon some sort of faith or belief system. I remembered taking electronics classes at the local community college some years ago. The most basic concept in electronics (and electrical circuits as a whole) is “Ohm’s Law.” This law is a mathamatical construct which says that the voltage equals the current (amps) times the resisitance (ohms). This “law” forms the basis for all electronic circuit design.
Now in this class was a guy named Brad. It was the late 70’s, and Brad (a tall, red-haired guy) had the afro to prove it. Just imagine Doug Pagitt with a fro and you’ll get a sense of this guy.
Now Brad simply couldn’t understand Ohm’s Law. I remember sitting through class session after class session where Brad would ask “why?” “I don’t understand,” he would say. “How do we know that Ohm’s Law is true? What’s the proof?” And we would go through the math to “prove” that it was true, only to have him ask again, “But why?”
Finally, in frustration, the professor looked at Brad and answered his question. “Because God made it that way,” the professor said. “You are just going to have to trust me and know that Ohm’s Law is true. If you don’t, you will never get anywhere with electronics.”
“Oh,” said Brad, “Okay.” And from that moment, Brad trusted the building block upon which all of his other work was based.
Such is the nature of knowledge.