Many of the struggles we have with faith stem from a misunderstanding of the nature of faith.

We tend to think of faith as believing a series of intellectual propositions to which we choose to assent or with which we happen to disagree. We view faith as a way of thought, a view of the world that some people hold but others reject.

Cynthia Bourgeault points to a radically different understanding of faith when, reflecting on the work of Teilhard de Chardin she suggests

if the premise is true, you will live it into action. Rather than trying to do faith from the “top down,” by first convincing yourself of the logical plausibility of the argument in question, begin from the “bottom up,” by acting in alignment with it, and see what happens next!….

faith is not something that we have but something that we do is perhaps the best antidote possible to the despair and distrust that paralyze so much of our post-modern moral resolve.

It is a call to step out of the boat onto the ocean of love and discover—all our fear and skepticism to the contrary—that the water really does hold us up.

Rather than faith being a matter of intellectual assent, it is about active behaviour. We do not find our way to faith by trying to argue ourselves into a particular set of convictions. We live our faith into existence by the daily choices we make.

The choice to live as if life were a dark meaningless void, always leads to destruction, suffering, and death. It is an irrefutable law of the human condition that hatred, anger, resentment, bitterness, greed, violence, jealousy, envy, rigidity, and the abuse of power, never lead anyone into deeper light, goodness, truth, and beauty. The tools we use for the journey shape the place at which we arrive.

When we live as if life is trustworthy, beautiful, and true, our hearts begin to open to the possibility that, in fact, life is deeply trustworthy, beautiful, and true. Faith finds its legs as we trust that life is not oriented towards destruction, death, and despair. As we align ourselves with goodness and light, we find that goodness and light grow.

The choice to live as if life were infused with love, beauty, goodness, gentleness, truth, and light, always leads to a life in which we are more able to perceive the presence of love, beauty, goodness, gentleness, truth, and light wherever we look. The decision that the core of life is the steady heartbeat of love, does lead to a life in which the power of love grows and is enhanced by our choices.

I cannot think my way to an experience of the steady trustworthiness of life. But, I can live as if it were true. And, as I live in trust and faith, I find my confidence in the forces of life deepens even in the face of the real horror and tragedy that stalks so much of life.

In the end life is a wager. We are always taking a chance. But, the likelihood that we will grow into a deeper embrace of wonder, light, and love, is enhanced when we choose to align ourselves with the forces of life rather than forces that tend towards death. The challenge is to put faith to the test by living as if goodness, beauty, and love are in fact true. The proof of the test will be the degree to which our hearts open more fully to the power of love and the shape of our lives is more deeply conformed to compassion.


we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

You will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16)

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and inner strength. (Galatians 5:22,23)