Faith as surrender (and Garrison Keillor as theologian)

Several years ago I posted about Miroslav Volf’s definition of faith, which goes as follows:

Faith is not something we give to God. In that case, faith would be a work, and a silly kind of work because it would be work we do even though it doesn’t benefit anyone. But exactly the opposite is true. To have faith in God is to be “without works” before God (Romans 4:5). Faith is the way we as receivers relate appropriately to God as the giver. It is empty hands held open for God to fill.

On the way home from some care home services this evening, I listened to Garrison Keillor’s “News from Lake Wobegon” podcast from August 31, 2013. He concluded the week’s story with the following reflection:

“I used to think that faith… was sort of like a building block and you’d put all these blocks together and you’d build a house, sort of like the one the little pig built that the wolf could not blow down. And now I get older and I feel that faith is a matter of surrender, it’s a matter of just giving up and leaving that house and just walking out and experiencing the cold and the rain and doubt and confusion and trying to keep up your hope and some sense of gratitude. If you just keep up hope and gratitude maybe that’s… all you need…”

Not exactly the same thing as what Volf said, but then Keillor’s a storyteller first, theologian second. But open hands held open for God to fill and the notion of surrender to God run along the same lines. I like it.

3 thoughts on “Faith as surrender (and Garrison Keillor as theologian)

  1. Pingback: Closed hands and self-reliance. | The Eagle & Child

  2. Toni

    I rather see faith as being a belief about something so strong that it results in your actions and lifestyle being affected. James may have had a little to say about this. Important to recognise that the actual faith we have may not be the faith we claim to have, based on our actions.

  3. Marc

    Yes. I agree.

    I suppose in a way there are two kinds of faith, or two ways to define it: faith as something we have, much in the way you describe, which shows itself in transformed life, and faith as something that receives from God the gift of salvation, much as Volf and Keillor describe. They aren’t two separate things, but perhaps two sides of the same coin, as it were.

Comments are closed.