Stop with the CEO/ChrEasters/Palms and Ashes

It is a "joke" among the faithful attendees of Christian houses of worship to give a name to those who come to worship a few times a year. 

CEO - Christmas, Easter and one other time

ChrEasters - Christmas and Easter 

Palms and Ashes - Palms Sunday and Ash Wednesday (generally found in the Catholic tradition)

We really need to stop this. 

Can you imagine not going to a gym. Then, for one reason or another, you get up the courage to go to a gym. You are a little out of shape and are not sure you know what machines to use or if you are doing anything right. Then, halfway through your workout you hear the gym manager say, "You must be one of those "Febuary fleers" - people who only go to a gym at the start of the year then flee in February." Or, "You don't really care about getting in shape you are just here to look good for summer and ensure your swim suit covers your butt.". 

Would you ever go back to the gym?

One's worship attendance does not make or break a Christian. The desert fathers fled into the desert and rarely went to worship (maybe twice a year?) but their spiritual depth surpasses most of us who go to worship each week. As far as I can tell, according to the gospel's, Jesus only went to the Jerusalem temple a few times. 

So may this be the year we Christians stop with our pharisaic posture of belittling those who may not be in the same place we are in.

You know, like Jesus did.  

Evidence based faith is regular ol' faith

When Easter rolls around there are always a good number of shows that crop up on TV dealing with all sorts of "hunts" or "discoveries" of possible proofs of some religious story. It is as though we read these stories and think they cannot be True without having some connection to historical fact. Anyone who has ever read a children's book knows that there is Truth in stories that have talking animals and imaginary worlds. Truth is not, and never has been, limited to the historical or even the measurable.

For whatever the reasons, it is common for some to spend an entire lifetime in pursuit of evidence to justify a belief in something. The irony is that in the pursuit of evidence, we become less and less persuaded by evidence counter to our belief. No matter how much evidence comes out, the conspiracy theorists (those who are out to discover the "real truth") will always find reasons discount evidence that is contrary to their belief. 

However if we step back and look at what evidence based disciplines embrace, I think there is something to an evidence based faith. 

Evidence based medicine (or economics, etc.) has two fundamental postures that are mandatory for any evidence based practice:

  1. Humility 
  2. Curiosity

The posture of humility says, "I don't know everything there is to know and what I do know may be incorrect." 

The posture of curiosity says, "How do I go and learn more about the things I don't know and how do I see again the things that I do 'know'?"

This is why I think the search for the "real Noah's arc" or the "holy grail" are exercises in missing the point. These searches are trying to get evidence in order to justify a belief. It comes off as evidence based faith, but in reality these pursuits often violate the two fundamental postures of evidence based practices. 

If the idea of evidenced based faith is a paradox that cannot be reconciled in our minds, so be it. Much of the teachings of Jesus are paradoxical and they do not make sense. However, as crazy as it may sound, the fundamental postures of evidence based faith are the same fundamental postures of plain ol', regular, faith.