Faith Horizons Speaker: What faith really means

Conference speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, relaxes over lunch with delegates at the Faith Horizons conference at St Mary’s Academy.

Conference speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, relaxes over lunch with delegates at the Faith Horizons conference at St Mary’s Academy.

Nadia Bolz-Weber on Faith:

Faith is trusting that we are who God says we are, that God’s promise are being fulfilled among us, even if we’re not seeing it.

I’m really enamoured with Catholic theologian, James Allison… I listened to a lecture from him and it blew my mind, and He talked about faith being relaxing, in the way that you relax in the presence of somebody that you’re certain is fond of you. When you’re in the presence of someone who you’re certain is fond of you, you’re funnier, your spontaneous, you feel free, time might go by, you might not even know it. Allison talks about faith being in God’s presence in a way that we can completely relax, that’s very related to the Lutheran idea that Faith is trusting God’s promises. It’s not intellectually ascending to a set of theological propositions. Faith is trusting that we are who God says we are, that God’s promise are being fulfilled among us, even if we’re not seeing it. And that’s what Habakuk is about actually actually… I mean Habakuk was like, “Look you know, You keep saying this thing is going to happen, and I’m not seeing it,” but the righteous – not a moral category by the way, the righteous are people who trust that God’s promises come to fruition, and we live in this trust of that… so to the end, that’s faith.

Also I don’t think that faith is given in sufficient quantities to individuals, I think that it’s given in sufficient quantity to communities. And so that whole thing that God will not give you more than you can handle, I think it’s like “God won’t give you more than you all can handle”. Faith is a team sport, it’s not this individual competition, right? I think that people can be tormented, by going, “I don’t think that I have enough faith, I fell like my belief should be stronger…” but it’s kind of like with the creed, people say, “well I can’t say the creed, because I just don’t know if I believe every line,” but in a large group of people, for each line of the creed, someone believes it, so you’re covered, right? because it’s not your creed, it’s the church’s creed.

[Faith is] really about community in a lot of ways…

This western individualism that we have has sort of run amuck in religion, where it’s all about the individual and how much faith do I have and my personal relationship, and it’s really about community in a lot of ways to me.

Transcribed from an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber