faith moves mountains

When Jesus taught about forgiving someone who has hurt you 7 times a day, the disciples said, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17) because they knew it was an impossible challenge he put before them. He then said that having faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains into the sea.

This is not about performing physical miracles. Rather, it is about how we can create new miraculous realities. The mountains represent offense. With just a little confidence in these new realities… in yourself, in the offender, in unity, in reconciliation, in relationships, in love… habitual offenders can be forgiven, reconciliation can happen, and relationships can be restored. Entire mountains of offense, bitterness, resentment, anger, and even hatred, can be thrown into the sea, removing the barriers between the offender and the victim.

We have to believe this is true. That this is an alternate reality. This is what faith means here.

Create a new reality by forgiving someone. There! You’ve moved a mountain!

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About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • kormosendre

    This is what has been on my mind for the last few days: “Unless you are like a child…”

  • sam scoville

    My head believes this to be true (what you say);
    and I can say the words, and do. Wear the t-shirts, post the bumper sticker. My heart is the doubter, stumbling block–subversion. Call me Clanging Brass. Forgive?

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    David- Amen!!!!

  • Rhonda Sayers

    While I agree with your thoughts about the cartoon and that bad doctrine is done by taking things out of context…I tripped over the fact you merged 2 texts.
    Mt.17:20 The “little faith” was in regard to casting out a demon moves a mountain.
    Lk. 17:6 The “little faith” was in regard to forgiveness uprooting a tree and throwing it in the sea.

    just saying with love and not trying to be divisive… ;-)

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info DrRobert Mansfield

    David- guess you got caught like you did me on Job. I still do not believe that either of us took the concept out of context in a way that isn’t consistent wuth the meaning.

  • sam scoville

    Mission Impossible:
    Walk on Water (WOW)
    Walk on Eggs (WOE)
    Choose your magistery.
    No myn can serve both

    (Contextual and Textual
    Harrassment: no text is
    ever not out of context.
    Don’t we always do damage
    to the whole and holy?(It’s
    the denial and cover-up
    divides the issues.)

  • http://theprodigalprophet.com Dylan Morrison Author

    There are many mountains in the land of Religion and many climbers lost on their dangerous slopes!

  • sam scoville

    The one’s I bump into are confident in their climbing, Dylan. I’ve heard of lost souls but they don’t appear in these threads. If you come across any, I’m recruiting for the First Church of the Crippled & Lame Shall Enter First. You know: failed mountain climbers–bumppety bump, fallen of a cliff or into a crevasse and lost as hell and know it. Poor little lambs who have gone astray.

  • LouiseM

    There are many mountains in the land of Religion and many climbers lost on their dangerous slopes!

    Many climbers moved by moving mountains too.

  • http://marthaorlando.blogspot.com Martha Orlando

    Wow! Absolutely loved this one!

  • Becky Garrison

    Once again, Naked Pastor and Asbo Jesus prove brilliant minds think alike.

    http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/1047/

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    hah that’s great beck!

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    gosh! nice one. do you think we should sort out who’s done the best cartoon by having a punch up? :-)

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    bring it on ;)

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    haha! oh… er… um… i actually have a bad arm… and my leg hurts a bit… i’d like to fight… i really would… but i’d best not… :-)

  • Becky Garrison

    OK Gentleman – draw your … never mind.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    that’s okay. i can wait ;) good cartoon btw!

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    yours too, sir. yours is more uplifting than mine. we should maybe one week decide on a theme and see how different or similar our cartoon is on that theme. could be an interesting little experiment.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    For starters, I like the cartoon and the accompanying narrative. I get it.
    However, I always saw the mustard seed thing as an unfulfilled promise/wildly exaggerated claim.
    How do Christians know Jesus wasn’t serious when he made that claim? How does one distinguish this from statements made in which Christians claim Jesus was serious?
    Is it being stated that miracles aren’t really possible and that faith is not capable of producing physical miracles?

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    TGM- Who said God wasn’t serious. Read Acts 12 to see a story about what God can do with even a little faith. We believe faith can lead to physical miracles. The question we must always ask ourselves is will God be glorified. This is the reason Jesus didn’t turn the stone to bread.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Dr. Robert D. Mansfield,
    Good morning sir! I remember the miracle…this is the rescue of James from Herod, right? I don’t recall what part faith played in this miracle, however.
    The glorification of God was the criteria that we also used in the Churches of Christ, but we also claimed that the time of miracles was over after the day of Pentecost (Acts 2?), with the notable exception of the apostles.

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    TGM- Good morning to you as well. Your memory is pretty good- except it was Peter (James had been killed). That chapter also tells how the church gathered to pray for Peter’s release, but when Peter showed up they didn’t believe it was really him- showing how even a little faith can move mountains (in this case 16 guards).
    I certainly do not believe the time of miracles is past- However, I think part of our problem is that we look for “headline news” and miss the miracles He performs for us daily. But there are still major miracles- healings doctors can’t explain, major financial obstacles taken care of- it is just that sometimes God uses the mundane every day things to accomplish these that we do not classify them as miracles.

  • http://robinlionheart.blogspot.com/ Robin Lionheart

    RDM,

    I would not call a spontaneous remission under medical care a “miracle”; a miracle would be a supernatural event like someone’s amputated limb growing back.

    Seems to me like people call natural, mundane things “miracles” to shut out the fact we live in a world where real miracles never happen.

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    Robin- if you choose a very narrow definition of miracle, you won’t see them. Try broadening your perspective.

  • sam scoville

    Broadening perspective: MIRACLE – from I. E. smei: “to laugh, smile”–causing one to simile. The word MIRROR also comes from the same root. Go figure.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    DRM,
    “Robin- if you choose a very narrow definition of miracle, you won’t see them. Try broadening your perspective.”

    The problem with that approach is that everything potentially becomes worthy of miracle status. Whatever you want to claim as a miracle then becomes a miracle.
    Nobody who believes in miracles has been able to adequately explain why amputated limbs are not miraculously restored. Don’t you find it a bit suspicious that all supposed miraculous “cures” have reasonable alternative explanations? A restored limb, however…THAT could not be attributed to medical prowess, luck or a resurgent immune system.
    Are amputees relegated to some sort of sub-class that is undeserving of healing?

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    TGM and Robin- To me it seems you are saying that if something doesn’t occur in a specific context, there are no miracles. But we do that in many contexts things have happened which modern science could not explain. Just because God chooses to involve us in the process makes it no less miraculous.
    Healing miracles are often the hardest to understand. Why does God work in certain cases but not others? (The fact that He works in any shows the evidence of miracles.) I believe the answer is found in Mark 1 which indicates we are healed in order to serve God (better). Who is to say that the amputee can’t serve God (or humanity) better from his position of seeming weakness. Look at Ron Santo, would he have inspired those he did, or had the motivation to do what he did with two healthy limbs?
    Amputees are certainly not a lesser class of people to God (and shouldn’t be to us.) I walked into a hospital room one time right as the doctors were walking out having informed a 19 year old boy that he was about to lose both legs right below the knee due to a motorcycle accident. This young man, by his own admission, was on a road to hell. God was trying to speak to him, but he was running. Now, as he put it, he was flat on his back and forced to listen to God. Isn’t it better for him to go to heaven with no legs than to hell with two good ones (Matthew 5:29-30). We look at things from an earthly perspective. God looks at things totally differently. If we had His eyes we would see much differently.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @DRM,
    “TGM and Robin- To me it seems you are saying that if something doesn’t occur in a specific context, there are no miracles.”
    No, what we are saying is (to quote Christopher Hitchens): “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
    “ But we do that in many contexts things have happened which modern science could not explain.”
    Yes, and in the past, those things were explained away as acts of gods or miracles. Our understanding of the universe grows with each passing day and the number of things that cannot be explained shrinks accordingly. It is incorrect to claim that because science cannot currently explain something that it must be the work of a deity. It’s a false dichotomy and a common logical fallacy. Christian explanations are not automatically correct by default because science cannot explain certain phenomena. Negative arguments simply do not stand up under scrutiny.
    “Just because God chooses to involve us in the process makes it no less miraculous.”
    In fact, it would. Otherwise, anything can be attributed to divine or supernatural intervention. Your standards for what qualifies as a miraculous event are so vague as to make the concept entirely meaningless.
    “Healing miracles are often the hardest to understand. Why does God work in certain cases but not others?”
    This was the question we posed. But do you answer it? Read on!
    “(The fact that He works in any shows the evidence of miracles.)”
    No, because you did not establish that in those cases in which you claim “he” works are indeed miracles to begin with! You can’t wriggle out of that one so easy. Even more disturbing is the rationalization that follows.
    “I believe the answer is found in Mark 1 which indicates we are healed in order to serve God (better). Who is to say that the amputee can’t serve God (or humanity) better from his position of seeming weakness. Look at Ron Santo, would he have inspired those he did, or had the motivation to do what he did with two healthy limbs? ”
    Referencing a religious tome does not in any way bolster your argument from a logical or ethical standpoint. Don’t quote the Bible. Simply answer the question as to why your god does not heal amputees. It is a straightforward question and one that deserves a straightforward and logical answer. There have been a myriad of supposed medical miracles that have occurred throughout the ages, but there is not one verifiable case of a limb being restored. Ever. Once. Why not?
    “ Amputees are certainly not a lesser class of people to God (and shouldn’t be to us.)”
    I never referenced how I felt about amputees, I’m more concerned with why a supernatural being would not answer the prayers of them or their loved ones to restore limbs. Why would this god answer the prayers of others, but not those of amputees? Your answer is not satisfactory in the least.
    “I walked into a hospital room one time right as the doctors were walking out having informed a 19 year old boy that he was about to lose both legs right below the knee due to a motorcycle accident. This young man, by his own admission, was on a road to hell. God was trying to speak to him, but he was running. Now, as he put it, he was flat on his back and forced to listen to God.
    So much for the concept of free will. “Do as I say or I’ll cut your legs off. That’ll learn ya!” From the perspective of basic human morality, this is just downright sick and evil. Such a being is not deserving of worship, even if he did exist.
    “ Isn’t it better for him to go to heaven with no legs than to hell with two good ones (Matthew 5:29-30).”
    I don’t recognize the Bible as a basis for morality.
    “ We look at things from an earthly perspective. God looks at things totally differently. If we had His eyes we would see much differently.”
    On this point we are certainly in agreement.

  • sam scoville

    Incommensurate. Reduce “religion” to science-ing
    and talk about it in terms of eviedence and logic, rationality and proof as if discovering
    gravity and the speed of light, short-cut cause and effect etc is like (to me) explaining any NASCAR race in terms of ignition, combustion, exhaust and tire pressure. Eureka. Can an omniscient god make a rock too big for him to lift? NO? Gotcha! And vice versa: talking about religion as if it could explain stuff, give reasons why, because and affect is like wondering how many angels can fit on the head of a pin so as to understand the relationship between the tangible and the intangible, mind and matter… Incommensurate: the 2 realms. Go ahead, collapse, conflate, and confuse. You are not alone. Sacred and Saecular: rah rah and rha. Can’t tell the players without a program & the beat goes on.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @sam scoville,
    Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), eh?
    Been there, done that. And no…there’s no “Gotcha!” about this. This isn’t about me winning. It’s about reality vs fairy tales. But you know that. As you do more often than not, you switched the focus from the topic at hand to making it about the person(s) involved. It’s tough to discuss ideas and much easier to just mess with people. Perhaps you can try straying off the path of least resistance once in a while. It would be quite refreshing for some of us.
    Back to NOMA.
    NOMA is a pathetic attempt to make room for both religion and science when only one (science) is capable of providing explanations about reality and the universe we live in. It’s an accommodation for those who lack the intellectual courage to accept or promote a concept of the universe as it likely is. Stephen Jay Gould was wrong. Perhaps NOMA would not be an issue if religion did not intrude regularly upon science, but it does. To deny that is, well…completely insane and a lie.
    Dress NOMA up with flowery poetry and tangled prose all you want, but it’s still a steaming pile of crap.
    So, here I am…AGAIN…back at square one with another true believer. Instead of prancing about and vomiting nonsense in an attempt to make the discussion about ME, why don’t you answer the question?
    Why doesn’t your god heal amputees?

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    I agree TGM. Gould’s claim that “the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap…” is imperfect. He framed this descriptively, when in fact I think he should have framed it prescriptively. Religion DOES attempt continuously to overlap and even overturn the scientific and it should not.

  • sam scoville

    NOMA is new to me, but I like the idea. No myn can serve 2 magesteries. Jesus says something like that. Descriptively: science is how we understand and manipulate the physical reality. Descriptively religion is how we address ok call it the “fairy tale” reality if that’ll keep us on the same page, Godless. Don’t want to collapse, conflate or confuse the 2 if we can manage. Then Prescriptively (which Naked Pastor introduces): I suppose that’s how any one–the 2 of you or anyone else on this thread–decides should “rule”–be Boss. And so: Prescribe. Physical reality or Fairy Tale Reality? Would you allow for only one? Physical reality? Ban the fairy-tale-ers and Sophie Choices? Eliminate classic crap and philosophical traps. “Religion DOES attempt continuously to overlap and even overturn the scientific and it should not.” Guns don’t kill people, NP: people do. “Religion” doesn’t continuously attempt to overlap and even overturn the scientific. People with pathetic notions of religion do. (Pathetic is merely a descriptive term here; don’t mean to judge.) God and amputees? Is that the best anyone can do with re what “religion” might address and what “science” addresses? Mixing the 2 magisteries–as usual. How many angels can fit on a pin head? Let me count the ways.

  • http://evangelisticdiscipling.info Dr. Robert D. Mansfield

    TGM
    No, what we are saying is (to quote Christopher Hitchens): “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

    Don’t quote Christopher Hitchens- I don’t recognize him as an authority.

    Our understanding of the universe grows with each passing day and the number of things that cannot be explained shrinks accordingly. It is incorrect to claim that because science cannot currently explain something that it must be the work of a deity.

    Using this analysis the healing of an amputee couldn’t be considered a miracle because science MIGHT be able to explain it 20 years from now. As I said previously your stand is too narrow because it excludes any act from being defined as a miracle. I would contend that if you saw an amputee’s leg healed you would try to find some way to explain it away, anyway. There is the testimony of millions over the years that have testified to miracles in their life. That is not an assertion that doesn’t have evidence to back it up. You just trip over it because you DON’T WANT to see it.

    In fact, it would.

    So now you are an authority on God and how He works? You have no fact here at all. The fact that there is human involvement does not preclude the fact of divine intervention as well. No logic demands that conclusion.

    The next point you totally ignore. Concede with me for a moment the existence of God (remember you have said yourself that you just do not see enough evidence of His existence, you have not claimed that He doesn’t exist). Is it not possible that God seeing and knowing all could determine that the world (and His interests) could be better served by not performing a certain miracle? Are we so egotistical as to believe it is all about what we want in this moment of time? Just could it be? By the way- how can you expect me to answer questions about a deity, and even if I could, I couldn’t do it without referring to His word. What do you want from me- a miracle? (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

    It doesn’t mean the man didn’t have free will. He could have still rejected God. What it does mean is that God’s priorities are not temporal but eternal. It is hard for temporal beings to understand that. From a human perspective it may be hard to understand, fortunately there is a perspective that sees more than our finite human mind can. If you don’t want to accept the Bible as your standard for your morality, what do you have, whatever seems good to YOU at the moment? Wow is that not egotistical? Isn’t that the same rationale that Hitler or Hussein used? If that is supposed to be morality I will take the Bible.

    As to your discussion with David and Sam:
    You are totally wrong about what you call NOMA. Christianity has no need to reconcile itself with science. That would require Christianity changing every 20 years or so as science does. Isn’t it science that said the world was flat, that Pluto was a planet, that the Earth was the center of the universe, that man could never fly, et. al…. I would never hang my hat on the “god” of science- the rules keep changing. Christianity has said the same thing for 2,000 years. Christianity hasn’t intruded at all on science, but instead science keeps intruding on Christianity, attempting to disprove it’s tenants. This pathetic attempt continues to prove ineffective and unsatisfying to a truly thinking person.

    Back to your original question- Maybe he does- maybe your definition of healing is too narrow. Maybe your implied assumption that an amputee is worse off and in need of something to make them “whole again” is an error. But just remember, God never performed miracles to prove himself to unbelievers, but as a blessing to His children. Maybe you just don’t understand miracles, God, or the condition of an amputee. Maybe that is keeping your view too narrow to see what you crave. Try looking through the eyes of faith. God bless you.

  • http://robinlionheart.blogspot.com/ Robin Lionheart

    TGM: No, what we are saying is (to quote Christopher Hitchens): “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

    RDM: “Don’t quote Christopher Hitchens- I don’t recognize him as an authority.”

    Nobody was appealing to him as one. (Furthermore, that’s not quoting Hitchens per se, but rather Hitchens translating an ancient Latin proverb: “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.”)

    In other words: if you provide no grounds for an assertion, then we need no grounds to dismiss it as unfounded.


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