Join us for service at:
Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Sunday Service at 10 a.m.
in-person at Meadowbrook,
or via Zoom!

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Faithing in Action

Jesus was the perfect example of someone who walked through life faithing. Faithing is not about what we believe, but about living with openness and flexibility, trusting in mystery and goodness. Faithing is about continuing forward even when you can’t see the path. Faithing is the "wakeful expectation of God" (Jurgen Moltmann), a conscious expectation that the divine will be with us in whatever happens – walking with us, carrying us, nudging us, challenging us, comforting us, guiding us. It is intuitive knowing and releasing of fears and control. Faithing is about walking through life with a positive, trusting, compassionate, generous outlook. Yes, this was Jesus.

In the Epistle of James, he writes, “My sisters and brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it?” In other words, just talking about faithing on a Sunday morning does no one any good if we aren’t actively faithing during the week. If our actions are not in alignment with the way we say we want to live our lives, then we are not in integrity with ourselves and our faithing was simply a bunch of hot air.

Sharon Salzberg, in her book Loving-Kindness, tells a story about bringing a Buddhist teacher to the United States from India. After he had been here for some time, they asked him for his perspective on their Buddhist practice in America. While he was mostly very positive about what he saw, one critical thing stood out. He said that those practicing here in the West sometimes reminded him of people in a rowboat. They row and row and row with great earnestness and effort, but they neglect to untie the boat from the dock. He said he "noticed people striving diligently for powerful meditative experiences – wonderful transcendence, going beyond space, time, body and mind – but not seeming to care so much about how they related to others in a day-to-day way. How much compassion do they express toward the plumber who is late, or the child who makes a mess? How much kindness? How much presence? The path may lead to many powerful and sublime experiences, but the path begins here with our daily interactions with each other.” 

Let me say this, you can be grateful you aren’t me. I think about this all the time. Every Sunday my sermon is about some aspect of how to live our lives faithfully, in alignment with our souls and a sacred presence within and around us. Whether it is social justice and resistance, or compassion, or forgiveness, or joy or hope, or whatever else, it is all about faithing. But this passage nails me to the wall. Kaye, all this stuff is really great, but how do you LIVE LIFE out there?? Do you really practice what you preach? I live with this ALL THE TIME and I know when I’m not living up to it.

Geri Larkin tells a story about “a young monk who went to his teacher in tears. He blurted out that he was having a terrible experience with his meditation practice. Every time he settled down, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes, all he could see where two dragons fighting each other. One dragon was a deep blue and it was filled with anger and greed and lust. Even its fire was terrifying. It was ferocious, this dragon. The other dragon was just as ferocious. Only the other dragon, pale white, was filled with love, wisdom, and compassion. Its fire was a deep, deep yellow. The young man was terrified of what would happen. Which dragon would win? He couldn’t tell and was afraid to watch them fight, which made him afraid to meditate. Could the teacher please give him some advice?

The teacher smiled. He looked at his student, his eyes filled with compassion. “Do you want to know which dragon will win?” The young monk nodded, “Why the one filled with love and compassion and wisdom, of course.” But how did he know, asked the young monk. “Because that’s the one you’ll feed.” 

I know when I’m feeding my blue dragon too much. It is when I let my worries overrun my brain and derail my connection with God and then I get overanxious, I lose sleep, I get cranky and I pull inside. It’s all constrictive behavior, not expansive behavior.

I feed my blue dragon when I get needy and whiny when things aren’t going my way, when I’m clinging too tight to my desire to control.

Whenever I feed the blue dragon, I end up miserable and usually the people around me end up miserable, too. What does it look like when you feed your blue dragon?

On the other hand, I feed my white dragon when I practice faithing, when I don’t take things too personally, when I take a step back, relax into the unknown, take a deep breath and ask for patience to trust the process and the path. I remind myself to watch and listen and feel for God’s nudgings.

Sometimes I have to fake it till I make it. Sometimes I have inner reservations and fears about something that I know aren’t helpful and are simply negative energy that I don’t need to send out.

Sometimes I stamp my feet and protest the unfairness of life anyway. Sometimes I melt down anyway. But most of the time I can observe myself for a moment and decide if I like what I see, decide if I’m listening to my higher wisdom (my white dragon) or my petty ego (my blue dragon).

Here are a few questions you might ask yourself in any given situation to help you see if you are faithing or not:

  • Are my words in alignment with love and compassion?
  • Are my actions in alignment with love and compassion?
  • Is this who I want to be in this situation?
  • Am I letting fear and/or ego get the best of me?
  • Am I responding in a way that is expansive or contractive?

I’m not sure why we fight it so hard at times because faithing and feeding our white dragon feels so much better than not faithing and feeding our blue dragon. So, keep trying, my friends!

Love & Light!