I received another article clipped from the Wall Street Journal; again found in the column, “Houses of Worship.” “The New Promised Land” appeared in the October 8, 2004 issue of the Journal. Naomi Schaefer Riley chronicles the growing acceptance of Mormonism expecially in the New England states. I find two statements made in the article interesting.
First, “By church policy, Mormons who do missionary work by going door to door never proselytize in the area where they have put down roots. Thus they are seen in two ways: as the strangers who come to the doorstep carrying the Book of Mormon and as co-workers, neighbors and friends.” My thoughts center around the idea of why disconnect who you are and your eagerness to share from where you “put down roots”? Does this offer some kind of dis-integration of life and faith? Certainly, this is Riley’s evaluation, “thus they are seen …”, rather than the necessary philosophy behind such, that is of course unless Ms. Riley is herself a Mormon in which case I am willing to stand by my reflection but concede to knowing too little about these kinds of particularities of the Mormon religion.
What really caught my attention was when this line of reasoning encounters the following statement, “They seem to like the strong sense of community and the obligations that come with it.” How is it that I can disconnect from the community in which I put roots down the faith I cherish? Does it not seem a bit anti-communal? If by community we describe shared “something” – geography, interests, relationships, etc., it would seem that my authentic participation in a given community must inherently include the flavor of my faith.
These thoughts are not intended to denigrate Mormons or Mormonism. Rather, anyone who holds a “cherished faith” ought to consider whether or not they have dislodged the thread of faith from the fabric of life. If a life of faith is to be paramount to udnerstanding true reality (Dallas Willard might suggest such.) then one would not be so worried about how they were received on the front porch with their book of faith but would instead see to it that their lives reflected the very faith they hold. Inquiries then would flow naturally from conversations rather than from a disconnected missionary position.
I do believe my faith in Jesus worth expressing as it is weaved into the fabric of my life by the Spirit of God.