Finding one's path with 'faith feelers' PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 10 August 2012 08:21
One's faith is very personal and unique for each individual.
Most religious people try not to pass judgment on someone else's beliefs. Some are very open and vocal about their faith, others are very private. Is one better than the other?  Certainly not.
Some who are deeply devout spend nearly every waking moment dedicated in service of their creed. Such a person can be called a zealot. By definition, it just means they are full of zeal and passion. However, the term "religious zealot" is often viewed with negative stereotypes.
Having a strong fervor and conviction is to be admired. God gave us the knowledge and energy to share his "Good News," and most people of devotion agree it should be proclaimed.
Sharing one's conviction can be a very positive experience for both sides. However, when such passion is perceived to be forced on another, the reaction can be negative.
Having anything thrust upon you, no matter the good intentions, is rarely accepted well. It is especially negative when not sought. It is in our nature to resist things forced upon us, good or bad.
Often, it is only in hindsight we realize the person doing the forcing has our best interest at heart. God is persistent, both directly, and through others.
Thus, those who choose to publicly proselytize often walk a fine line. They risk ridicule and criticism from the public they are trying to serve. They also find great rewards when they lead someone to find or deepen their sureness.
No matter our view, it is imperative each of us use our talents and energies to embrace the humanity and dignity of all God's creations around us. This is especially true when we mistakenly know in our hearts the other person is wrong.
In contrast, some people are extremely deep and private with their faith life.  
Most believers are somewhere in the middle, what could be called "Curb-feeler Christians."
Before going too far, many readers, especially younger ones, may have never heard of curb feelers. In simplest terms, curb feelers were a popular attachment to cars primarily in the 1950s, and were placed near the wheels. The metal wires or springs extended out to alert a driver they were too close to the curb, especially when attempting to parallel park.
Most believers have their faith feelers extended when it comes to their relationship with God. Depending on how we use those, it can either be good or a detriment on our divine journey.
Our life is a journey of acceptance, we certainly don't want to park away or travel too far away from God's curb. We want to stay close to our belief system and with God. It helps keep us on the right path - a path toward grace. However, we don't want to be constantly rub against God creating an irritation.
As we spend our energies traveling down the highways and byways of life, we want to stay on the right road. When we lose our way, as we all do from time to time, we may cross the line and do something we regret. We may also say something and wish somehow to find a way to take our words or actions back.
At our worst, we may veer completely off the road. We lose our focus altogether and venture away from our beliefs as we head in the wrong direction. As a popular bumper sticker reads, "God allows U-turns."
Those times of crossing the line or leaving our path can be minimized if we are in tune with our curb feelers.
Faith's curb feelers can be the Bible or other cherished writing, a church leader or trusted friend beside us who can provide a curb-feeler jolt. We can also stay focused and in tune with our moral compass or conscience. Or a proselytizer may open our eyes or guide us back.
Most importantly, we should always be open to God's will for us through our prayer lives. Many times our prayers have not progressed intellectually, and we still pray as children for trivial matters.
Good prayer is not simply asking God for what we want, but rather being open to hear what God wants from us. Let us not be the foolish ones who ask God to grant us patience, NOW.
Obviously, the curb feeler never became a common accessory; however, keeping ourselves on the right path requires the vigilant use of all our faith feelers.

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