How to pick your heroes: 8-12-13
Flash: Islam is not a country: 8-14-13

Avoiding simplistic faith: 8-13-13

In some ways faith is simple. God loves you. End of story. Well, end of story except for all the implications of that.

BeliefnetBut in other ways faith is nuanced, complicated, frustrating. And unless we recognize that we move from simple to simplistic. And there's a difference.

I was thinking about this the other day when I took at look -- as I do now and then -- at the Beliefnet website. As a rule, Beliefnet offers helpful material, including some thoughtful columns and blogs.

But sometimes it strikes me that the editors of Beliefnet do things that make religion seem simplistic.

For instance, in the list of stories and features I found over this past weekend, there were a lot that reduced religion to simple numbers:

* 9 Ways to see God in Challenging Times.

* 15 Ways to Look and Feel Fantastic.

* 12 Ways to Transform Your Life.

* 7 Powerful Things to Say to That One You Love.

There were more, but, well, you get the idea.

In my experience, every time you run into a book or an article that reduces complex matters to six simple steps or eight procedures, you find simplistic stuff that doesn't represent reality in all its odd complexity.

The lesson here is that God may have given us just Ten Commandments, but we would do well not to imagine that six of this or eight of that can adequately cover the territory.

While faith is simple, it's not simplistic. And to try to make it so is to degrade and denigrate it.

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And speaking of a certain number of simple rules for faith, here's a piece that lists seven characteristics of congregations that are attracting young adults. As I say, simple sometimes can become simplistic.


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