Sunday, April 09, 2006

Growing Faith, are you ready?

my first sunflower, Sabrina Stash

On beggining of his book "Finding Faith" Brian McLaren starts to define how faith does grow:
1st stage - Simplicity - at the beggining things are right or wrong, black or white and the follower see things in a very dualistic view, following the authority will make him be in the good side while others would be at the bad side, identifiying who's the enemies is the great deal;
2nd Stage - Complextity - faith gains complexity and the follower try to be effective in his faith and to get independance on getting trained by his authorities, he identifies other alternatives to do things and looks for the best way, he tries to be more pragmatic at this stage;
3rd stage - Perplexity - Here he makes more judgements and tries to find autenticity at relationships, the follower recognizes that he does not own the Truth when accepting other point of views, he tries to be fully honest with others and with himself and allows himself to question about his faith. Though, he run of being controlled as it was at previous stages.
4th stage - Humility - He recognizes other stages, recognizes weakenesses of others at previous stages of faith, but try take advantadge of his journey to help others and to fullfill all his potential.
Beside to think about what stage am I, I was wondering about how the churches close to me deal with this kind of faith growth. Here in Sao Paulo you can find lots of churches in all paths you choose, but I believe the great majority (about 80%) are more likely to recieve people from the first stage of faith and works to their followers stay at this level, they like to works with fear, to set enemies and to disencouraging questioning when tell that questioning might be the tool of devil to start new heresies; also, I can see most of the traditional churches working with stage 2 of faith, stimulating a more pragmatic view , training followers to be more effective but not as far as to free stimulating ideas. Some people will get accomodated, but some will have their faith growing, and when it happens, they will look for another place if their church does not receive their growth with genuine interest.
This kind of evolution is also reflection of our history, once we were very well prepared studying Evangelism Explosion or taking with us the booklet Four Spiritual Laws to evangelize, but today many people will not accept these tools as much as they accepted before.
As long as we are preparing for the starting of a church I wonder: Are we prepared to receive people from 3rd stages on? Will we be prepared to foster and encourage this kind of growth of faith?

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