I recently read the book above which was written by by Tim Costello. He is a former politician and is now CEO of World Vision and also a pastor. It is not a book I would have picked for myself to read but my daughter was given it for a birthday present and it is not something she is interested in reading quite yet as it is not aimed at her age group.
In this book, Tim writes about his own faith journey – his learnings and likens it to tree rings – as his faith grew, a new ‘ring of faith’ was added to his ‘tree of faith’. I believe everyone’s faith/ spiritual journey is individual and bespoke. I feel there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to faith. This book chronicles Tim Costello’s faith journey and the things he has learned about himself, his faith and is still learning. For me, there are some things that resonate and some that give pause for thought.
There were a few observations that stood out to me, they were his observation of young people – he states they “were attracted to Jesus and what he taught. They loved the product but almost universally had contempt for the retail outlet.” The retail outlet being the ‘Church’. He goes on to explain some reasons why that might be, some of which I agree. I believe this is something that everyone would have a viewpoint to contribute.
Another one that stood out to me was when he spoke of a hymn he learnt as a child when he was learning piano. Growing up in the 1960’s, he saw many disturbing pictures of Ku Klux Klansmen. He came to learn that as the prelude to the burning of the cross, the crowd would sing “The Old Rugged Cross“. This was the hymn he learnt to play on the piano as a child and now, as an adult states that he has not been able to sing it “without shuddering because of this shadow”. He states “I have come to understand distorted faith can feed a human desire to feel superior; so many of us are intent on justifying why we are better than others. All I can plead is that the most important teaching of the New Testament is that all have sinned and all have fallen short of God’s standards – all. None are better, none are inferior, and none can save themselves without the help of God and the support of a circle of love.”
He also talks about the use of religion as an expression of altruisitc evil. He states “Religious faith can be used to justify truly horrific actions, whereas true spirituality is always unequivocally pro life and pro respect.” He also writes that he feels as humans, we have no right to take away another life in the name of God or anyone/ thing else. He states that only God has the right to take a life. It is something that resonates as we observe the way humans are treating each other and justifying their actions around the world. It is saddening to observe and see that these atrocities are being carried out at times, by young idealistic people who have been convinced their actions will be rewarded. My thought is why should any horrific action rewarded? Why should there be glory attached to killing? History has repeatedly shown that wars, killing, murder and violence have not solved the problems that they were intending to resolve. If anything, they have presented more.
The book surprisingly proved to be an interesting read, providing some thought provoking questions/ points which I feel the answers are still being sought. While I don’t agree with everything the church teaches, my spirituality and faith in the human spirit is restored when I see or hear about random acts of kindness. I feel the future is in our younger generation and am still learning as a parent, that this can sometimes be very hard to do but I remind myself that it is a learning journey. I say to my daughter that every mistake is a lesson learnt – and there have been many! My faith journey is evolving, which I feel is the case with most people. It is a different journey for everyone and there may be some similarities but I feel overall, that it is a leap of faith. Whatever your faith, belief, spirituality, I hope that the learning journey continues and we can move forward together to Laugh, Love, Live! It is a mainly personal and inspiring journey – I hope that moving forward, there are more messages of tolerance, love, acceptance and compassion. Peace and blessings!