Life is a journey, a journey in multiple dimensions, and seldom in a straight line. In life the dimensions have familiar names: Family, health, career, friends, hobbies, faith, and so forth. As we mature, different dimensions claim more of our attention or at least more of our energy, others at times get aside until later or ignored.
Sooner or later people explore dimensions set aside and ask ultimate questions: Is there a big picture? How do I fit into the big picture? Why does evil exist? Is this all there is?
Faith provides some answers or at least different questions. What is God calling me to do and to be? How am I to respond to evil in the world? Where is God in all this?
Faith communities give people with ways to connect with God and pursue answers in the multiple dimensions we call life. I perceive that God has given us a variety of faith communities: congregations and diverse denominations, to meet the diverse needs of diverse people.
We once lived in a house with three steps to ascend the eighteen inches up from the garage to the kitchen. For most of our time in that house those steps were sufficient for us to go inside. But for a few months our daughter needed a wheel chair and those steps became insurmountable for her. So I built a temporary ramp. To save space and costs, I built that ramp four feet long. Although twice as long as the space occupied by the stairs, it was a less than a quarter as long as recommended for wheel chair ramp. For our purpose it was sufficient, although still limiting as to who could push the wheel chair up that ramp. A couple of years later we again needed a ramp. This time I tripled the length of the ramp. While the added length improved accessibility, we still needed to use it carefully. Now I understand why accessibility ramps should have a foot of length for each inch of rise and hand rails. I have come to recognize how merely a one inch high door sill can block some people.
For many people worship and Sunday School are sufficient steps to begin a life long journey exploring life’s dimension of faith. For much of human history church and religious rituals were the major if not the only social media and entertainment. Today social opportunities are virtually inescapable, effectively making the traditional first steps to one’s faith journey more difficult or at least more difficult than alternative opportunities to discuss issues in life’s other dimensions and set aside the faith dimension. Now more than ever people of faith need to imaginatively create alternative on-ramps for those just beginning to consider the dimension of faith in their lives.
Could a baseball team become a spiritual on-ramp? A community service project? What might connect to these ramps?
How might you give access to your neighbors to faith in the one true God?
To those outside the law I became as one outside the law
(though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law)
so that I might win those outside the law.
To the weak I became weak,
so that I might win the weak.
I have become all things to all people,
that I might by all means save some.
— 1 Corinthians 9:21-22