In Albury-Wodonga, the weekly free newspapers used to include a column of reflections. They were written by local ministers, or similar (authors included a local Baha’i leader, as well as someone from the local humanist society branch). I don’t know why they stopped. Equally, I don’t know if they achieved anything!
Cleaning up my computer, I found a few of mine. In the interests of recycling, I will re-release them on my blog.
I saw a recent interview with Peter Garrett. The interviewer asked him about his strong Christian commitment. Garrett mentioned that it is not easy to bring personal faith into the public arena. Many of us will sympathise with this point of view, including many politicians from all parties.
An American family I know found the same thing. Wanting to get to know Australians, they would ask, ‘What church are you part of?’ They soon found out that we don’t like to speak about these things.
A number of people have told me, ‘I can’t talk about my beliefs. It’s a very personal thing.’ If we cannot speak of our beliefs at church and with a minister, when can we do so?
The more I reflect on these conversations the more I realise that what we believe is not private at all. It is the most public thing about us. I can change my clothes or hairstyle from day to day. But underlying everything I do lies my belief about God, truth, forgiveness, love and humanity. Our beliefs are public in family life, with neighbours, at work, everywhere.
It is no surprise that Jesus knew this already. He said, ‘Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.’ (You can find this in Luke’s gospel, chapter 12.)
Jesus’ words tell us that beliefs are public because we live before God. And that we will answer to God one day.
So let’s not ignore or hide our beliefs. I rejoice in the fact that Jesus’ life and death show me what truth and forgiveness are all about. This is not just belief, it is life itself.