Welcome to Essentials Of Faith! The mission and goal of Essentials of Faith is Maturing & Refining Faith Through Discussion of Ideas. Trials and tribulation are definitely the most effective transformers of faith, but meaningful and honest discussion of ideas is an essential component of this process as well. And as one’s faith becomes mature and expands, so does their discernment and wisdom in serving, approaching, and relaying the truth of God to others.
A mature faith discerns between what really matters and what does not, rather than bickering over matters that have no real bearing on the eternal fate of the soul. A mature faith enters a room, situation, orlife and discerns how, when, and where to approach another about God rather than intruding with a static script or one-size-fits-all message, unless of course that’s what is needed in that moment. A mature faith carefully determines what individual, specific, and unique matters and issues a person or situation needs addressed in that moment that will contribute to and be productive toward their eternal salvation or need.
Essentials Of Faith isn’t anything special or controversial. It’s just a specific process for assimilating a growing collection of discussion ideas. Essentials of Faith is designed to take groups through the toughest and most heated topics and issues in the most tedious and thorough process possible such that when everyone walks out from the other side of the flames of discussion they have an extensive understanding of the topic or issue from almost every perspective possible.
The process starts with the discussion idea. The group chooses an idea and each member researches it on their own. When the group comes together, everyone lays out what they’ve found, know, think, feel, etc. It’s important that everyone is open and willing to honestly discuss and really considerideas, discoveries, perceptions, etc. The idea at this beginning stage of the process is to put everything on the table from every perspective and angle and to tear the discussion idea apart piece by piece until it’s totally shattered into it’s most basic and rudimentary parts. This part of the process tends to be very heated (think iron sharpening iron), which is good. When it seems the idea can’t be broken down any further, it means you’re not done. Keep bantering, reasoning, and going back and forth until all the little shards of the idea are each broken into 10 more fragments. Kick the idea until it falls dead on the floor, then gather the group around it and keep kicking it while it’s down. Whenfeet begin to cramp from kicking that dead idea into a million pieces, then it’s probably been properly deconstructed. Time for the next phase.
Now comes the most tedious part. Everyone needs to get on their hands and knees with magnifying glasses and pick up one of the tiny shattered pieces. Hold the piece up to the group having everyone carefully examine it from every angle and perspective. Pass that piece around for everyone to get a closer look and feel. Everyone should take careful notes on what they observe, feel, and sense about that one piece. Then pick up the next little piece and do the same thing. Keep repeating this with every one of the million little fragments the group shattered the idea into. When everyone is crawling out of their skin from this tedious process, it means phase two has been properly executed.
It’s time for everyone to line up, compare, and contrast all their notes on all the shattered fragments they’ve passed around. As this part of the process proceeds, themes, trends, consistencies, and inconsistencies will start to become clearer and more pronounced. It’s at this stage that the payoff for all the hard work and heated discussion begins to be realized. As the group picks through and analyzes every little note and detail about the discussion idea and it’s deconstructed parts, they’ll pull out the essential and absolute truths and other important components of faith while also separating out the dogmas, personal opinions and preferences, traditions, and other nonessential parts that really don’t matter. This process challenges each individual in the group to reconsider their own thoughts, ideologies, dogmas, and what they think is essential.
The hard work is done and the group can now finalize and come to a consensus (or not) on the discussion idea. Record what truths were gleaned, what essentials of faith rose to the surface, and what dogmas, opinions, personal preferences, traditions, etc masked and detracted from what was actually important. Now that the group has a firm grasp of the discussion idea, each individual can have the confidence to address this issue or idea with others, knowing they won’t get bogged down or distracted with non-essentials and will have the wisdom and foreknowledge to get at what really matters, the essentials of faith.