Four Dimensional Faith

It’s always been the case that we live in a complex world. Yet so often we are satisfied with reducing the world’s complex realities to simplistic dimensions. We simplify people so we can categorize them, we simplify ideas and concepts so we can “master” them, and we simplify our faith so we can comfortably attain and meet its requirements. It is our faith that should have room to stretch us and shape us into something new and better… rather we have molded our faith into one dimension limiting its formational capacity.

Regardless of what end of the spectrum of spirituality we find ourselves on, most of us approach faith and spirituality from a 1 dimensional perspective. On either end these 1 dimensional perspectives can be compared with the terms vertical and horizontal. Some people only operate from a vertical dimension. They believe that their spirituality is limited to loving God, but this world is the enemy. They keep their eyes focused upward and to the future, because this world is considered to be no good. On the contrary some people do not have a vertical approach but rather understand faith from a horizontal dimension. They believe that our purpose is to do good and care for creation and society, but they have lost spiritual vitality. God has been removed from the equation. Spirituality is more connected to community and culture than with God.

The bible presents something a lot more complex and I would argue beautiful than the reduced and simplified approach to spirituality. Take Luke 4 for an example.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Here we see from Jesus’ words that we ought not approach faith from a limited dualistic perspective, rather Jesus himself had completely integrated and intertwined spirituality with God and societal engagement as essentials for his faith. He did not believe to be spiritual would require him to ignore the realities of the world and separate himself so he could commit all his time to worshiping God. Nor did he have to reject spirituality as a reality of life so that he could begin having an impact on those who were oppressed around him. No, in fact based on that passage it was the very fact that Jesus had the Spirit, that he did the things he did. Jesus lived out a 4 dimensional faith in a 4 dimensional world. Let us move away from simplicity, as we allow ourselves to engage God and engage our world meaningfully every day. When we pick and choose, prioritizing one aspect of faith over the other, we all lose.

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