What are the fruits of our beliefs?

appletree” ‘A man bears beliefs, ‘ said Emerson, ‘as a tree bears apples.’ He bears beliefs about himself, about his fellows, about his work and his play, about his past, about his future, about human destiny. What he loves, what he serves, what he sacrifices for, what he tolerates, what he fights against–these signify his faith. They show what he places his confidence in.” James Luther Adams  wrote these words in 1946 in his essay A Faith for the Free. 

I found these words to resonate a chord with in me as I read and watch the news about events in our country.  I only have questions at this point.  And there are many.  What is our faith if we deny health care to 47 million uninsured americans and millions more with pre-existing conditions?  What is our faith if we feel justified in yelling, “You Lie!” to the President of the United States?   What is our faith if we continue to support business practices that are clearly not in our best self-interest?   What is our faith if we feel comfortable in fighting against others receiving something (government sponsored– taxpayer paid  health care)  that we ourselves benefit from (Our elected officials in Congress) ?  What is our faith if we insist that schools only teach concepts we are in agreement (creationism, euro-centric american history) ?  What is our faith if we teach that some humans (sexual minorities) are abominations?  What is our faith if we insist on citizens being able to own weapons of automated destruction?   What do these things tell us about us as a people? 

If we were to honestly attempt to answer these questions, I think we would find that we are not the religious people who we claim to be.  Our faith seems to be made up of beliefs that are not found in any religious heritage.   We have missed the mark and need to repent of our short comings. 

Perhaps the day will come where we can measure up to the ideals stated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey:  “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”    We seem to be having trouble with how that government even treats those in the fullness of life.  We can be better.   Blessings,

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this reflection.

    I agree completely and would add “What is our faith if we believe that war can be just when it shatters the interdependent web of all existence, destroys the worth and dignity of the people who we kill; and, by its very nature, is a renunciation of justice, equity, and compassion? What is our faith if we cannot agree to renounce all war?”

    Just as we can be better to our own fellow citizens, we can also be better to our brothers and sisters around the world.

  2. I will not answer every question asked here, but I dare say that this feels like a very politically motivated post, and not so much of a religious one. I mean, if you are to go to the left side of the political aisle, we must ask necessary questions like “What is our faith if we empower the slaughter of the next generation before they come to be? What is our faith if we make no consequential stands for righteousness in the people of the nation? What is our faith if we do not actually hold to any orthodox religious belief?” No political party or political system is currently, nor ever will be, perfect. Until we see the return of the Messiah to build a benevolent theocracy, there will not be a perfection of justice in the political world.

    [ Thank you for asking additional important questions. The prophets in the Old Testament were very political in their questions of the day–Jeremiah, Micah offered some of the most challenging political questions that could have been asked of a nation. Yet they also shaped a religious response. None of these questions yours or mine have a right or wrong answer. They are not meant to, at least mine are not meant to, but they are meant to get us to think hard about who we are as a people. What do we really hold confidence in? What do our actions say about where we hold our faith? ‘You will know them by their fruits.’ So what are our fruits when we deny healthcare access to others. And to honor your question albeit paraphrased, what are our fruits when we encourage the abortion of the innocents? I am not sure the answer lies in the establishment of a benevolent theocracy as that implies the end of one of God’s greatest gifts to us–free will. The questions I maintain are deeply and profoundly religious ones. Blessings,]


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