this is the first affirmation of faith i’ve written for the men in the Marlborough Unit. It’s a little rough still.
When we were talking on Thursday it became obvious that they weren’t at all comfortable with abstract expressions of faith. They liked that Jesus healed the lepers, they liked that he talked about justice and peace (and that those Tibetan buddhist monks are doing such a good job making it happen), they liked that he’d been to hell… they really weren’t interested at all in the resurrection… so i’ve tried to honour that. this isn’t a list of the non-negotiables that all christians must believe – it’s simply a statement of the parts of the christian faith that these men resonated with… and then some of the implications about what it might mean for them.
it might look a little scant, but actually each statement is absolutely and completely countercultural to them. [i think it might take more faith for some of the men to say and believe these than it would take for them to believe in the resurrection…]
These are the things we have faith in, even though we often doubt them:
We have faith in Jesus who healed the sick and promised freedom from the things that imprison us;
who spoke of justice and peace for all
and because of this, we can believe that one day everyone will know healing and freedom, justice and peace
We have faith in Jesus who chose those who were lonely, and those who society wanted to ignore, to be his friends
and because of this, we can believe that God wants to know us as friends too.
We have faith in Jesus who offered a new beginning to the people who the world thought were too sinful and beyond hope
and because of this, we can believe that God knows us by more than the wrongs we have done, and offers us a fresh chance to begin again, over and over and over.
We have faith that when Jesus died he went to hell, showing that there was no place that was out of reach of God’s presence
and because of this we can believe that God’s hope, love and peace can be present, even here in this prison.
we have faith in these things, even though we often doubt them.