What, exactly, does that mean?
I’m serious. What does it mean?
I tried looking this up on Google, just for curiosity’s sake. I didn’t want a course, or a book, or a sappy movie. I wanted a definition.
The one I found used this.
Theology differs of course. There are more than 30,000 Christian denominations and sects (you read that number correctly) for a reason. Christians are notorious for fussing over tiny details. In contrast, there are just four major divisions in Judaism, with several smaller groups.
Hell, there are way more than 200 different kinds of Baptists (and they all have churches here in Kentucky, one every half mile or so). I was raised Baptist, and I remember that we had a church split when I was a kid. The major argument that I remember was over the color of the carpet.
So some theologies stress what they call “salvation” which requires nothing but “faith.” That’s Billy Graham’s easy believe-ism.
Other theologies blend the two: faith (“believe what we tell you”) and works (“do what we tell you”). My particular branch would say that anyone who tries to meld the two isn’t really ‘saved’ at all.
But James is pretty clear here, and the passage was always a thorny one at the Fundy Church From Hell because they had to explain it away.
Faith, without works, is dead.
They explained this by insisting that salvation comes as a result of faith alone, but the only way you can determine that someone has been “saved” is if you see works.
If you don’t see “fruit,” then you know the person is a fake, or a “corrupt tree,” as the writer of Matthew says.
So what in the hell is “fruit”?
That’s an easy one.
If you look all this stuff up from a Mormon viewpoint, it’s a little different because they add in other religious texts, but their basic position is quite similar to that of the “faith plus works” Protestants. Faith is where you start, and works are what you do, and fruit is what is produced.
They aren’t as quick as most fundigelicals to consign people to hell, which is nice of them, but still, they wanna see that fruit.
So, we’re back to the beginning. In light of all this, what does “faith-driven” mean?
It’s a common phrase. A little search on Amazon produces dozens of books, study guides, and DVDs with that in the title. It’s a Christian buzz-word, popular at the moment.
It means at its core what I said above. Faith is where you start, works are what you do, and fruit is what is produced.
There is, of course, not a time-table for any of this. It’s not like you begin with faith today, and three months from now, we ought to see half the fruit. But where it all falls apart is when there is no fruit at all. Nothing. Zip. Same old, same old.
Or how about this?
You get religion. You happen to be a blogger, so that’s good because that means we can keep track. It’s all public, you know. You blog about your religion. You write about it on Facebook, publicly.
She became a Mormon in 2008.
So that, maybe, is the starting point for “faith.” Faith is where you start.
By 2011, she’s lecturing on religion, but tossing in a whole lot of libertarian political ideas as well. There are several of these little screeds.
Okay, maybe a religious political activist is what she is. That’s her “works.” That’s what she does. Sort of.
She also managed to get kicked out every Mormon church she and Joe ever attended, and leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth as they went, but oh well. . .
Faith is where you start. Nobody expects anyone to have this down pat in the beginning. Really, they don’t. Not even judgmental assholes at the Fundy Church From Hell expect that, and they are the worst judgmental assholes in Christendom.
Works are what you do. Nicole describes works herself. “. . . follow his teachings. . .” she says above, talking about Jesus. Follow his teachings. You know, go around doing good or feeding the multitude or raising the dead or something. Follow his teachings.
That’s subjective as hell because seriously, what did he teach? Remember, you are restricted to the red words in the New Testament only. Make a list of what he taught, of what exactly “follow his teachings” means in real life.
But no matter how you interpret that, the goal of following his teachings is to show fruit.
Fruit is what you produce.
Fruit is what you produce.
Do any of these words, any of them, even one of them, describe Nicole? Any?
Well, it’s probable that she has never cheated on Joe, so maybe we could say that she is “faithful” to Joe. But all the rest?
She started this religious journey, she says, in 2008. That’s a solid decade ago. Ten years.
This screen shot, in my computer, is dated December 29, 2015. That doesn’t mean that’s when Nicole wrote this. It means that’s when I got it. So on that date or before that date, this is what Nicole said to her mother in public.
Now, look, I get the basic thing here. Joann was being a bit passive-aggressive. She does that. Nicole gets very irritated with her and sometimes I find myself sympathizing with Nicole, but only briefly. There is no reason to have family squabbles on public Facebook pages, but this the Naugler saga so of course it’s public.
However, I have been through deconversion. I know how it looks and feels.
She personally struggles with faith.
I get it. I have a certain level of empathy about it.
But be honest, Nicole. You use religion. You use religious buzz-words to make your audience think you are religiously oriented when you are not. You are not. If you ever were, you shed that coat a long time ago.
You aren’t any more religious than I am.
You just lie about it and I don’t. I get to say fuck off without having to explain why it’s okay for me to do that. Jealous?