Few things in this life are certain.  Death and taxes are the long held exemption to this position; although both of those, while still inevitable, are less certain in their form these days.  For centuries, many would claim that faith was the most certain of all.

However, faith seems less certain for many today.  One can point to several reasons why faith has faded as a category of the certain.  For one, far too many of the faithful merely accepted a faith they were given rather than apprehending a faith of their own.  Faith was what one’s church or family said it was.  Faith too often was something claimed but not owned.  And because it was not a personal commitment, faith was not often reflected in the lives of those who claimed it.  Faith was something kept separate from work, social life and ethical behavior.  Other factors took precedence.  For these two powerful reasons, many people rejected faith as something that was certain and moved it over into positions of personal choice or private practice.  The end result is that faith became something less than certain in our culture.

Maybe this is not a bad thing.  Maybe when faith is not a certainty—a given, people must choose faith.  Maybe the uncertain state of faith in our world today presents the church with a new opportunity.  This new opportunity will require us to answer a new question.  When faith was a certainty, the church spent most of its time answering the question: How?  How do we exercise our faith?  How do we behave?  How do we believe the correct things and practice them in the correct way?  Our divergent answers to these questions created the variety of faith practices we call denominations and traditions.  In a world where faith is not certain, we must answer a different question: Why?  Why choose faith?  Why choose to believe in Jesus?  Why choose to be a part of something called a church?  Why does any of this matter to me in the post-modern world?

We need to be able to answer these questions for ourselves and share those answers with others.  As The Scripture teaches us in I Peter 3:15, we are to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  So, beginning in January we are going to explore answers to these questions.  From the beginning of the year through Easter, we will consider this question “Why Jesus?”  Why choose faith in Jesus?  This will not be an exploration of apologetics (a systematic defense of faith); instead, we will consider our own experiences with Jesus in an effort to make faith in Jesus a viable choice for others.  Then from Easter until Pentecost, we will take a similar approach to the question, “Why Church?”  Why choose to live our lives through a faithful community?

These may seem like simple questions with obvious answers to us.  Yet, for our friends and neighbors for whom faith is something less than certain, these questions are important for us to answer.  I look forward to seeking them with you.