WORDS FROM W.W. May 25, 2012
I’ve driven a Civic Hybrid for the last few years. It’s a unique car. One young man, who is funnier than all get out always tells me, “Pastor Bill isn’t part of the problem. He’s part of the solution!”
People ask me how a hybrid car works and I tell them, “I don’t know.” It somehow switches back and forth from battery to gas and back again. I just drive it, and thank God every time I stop to put gas in it and see the other vehicles there consuming the family food allowance for the week.
So, as far as I understand it, the hybrid car combines those two forms of powering the car in some safe way that keeps it from exploding. And, as you may have noticed, more auto makers are churning out more hybrid models. A hybrid is becoming mainstream, not just some weird looking Prius that looks like someone cut the back end off with a buzz saw! By the way, a Prius is simply an AMC Gremlin with a new hairdo! If you don’t know what a Gremlin was…Google it!
There is a mainstreaming happening in the faith arena also of “hybrid faith.” Hybrid faith is a combination of different beliefs and opinions and comfortable ideas that define a person’s faith journey. It’s spicy Italian food with twelves different herbs and spices- a pinch of this, a dab of that!
Hybrid faith is fueled by truth…as the person views it. If I’m a negative-minded person I might blend more Old Testament judgment into how I journey. If I’m more works-oriented I might blend in more of my beliefs from Rotarian community service. If I’m contemplative I might mix a little of the “Desert Fathers” in with some Transcendental Meditation and Buddhist prayer.
In other words, what powers my life gets determined by…me!
The result is that each individual is driving the vehicle for their faith. Absolute truth is what I determine it is.
Just as hybrid cars are getting a foothold now in auto sales, hybrid faith is getting a larger share of the market in the faith community. A Biblical faith is about as easy to find as an Oldsmobile.
Granted interpretation of Scripture needs some grace and flexibility. God is neither Democrat nor Republican, but you would never know it in talking to some believers. Whether one drinks alcohol or abstains from it can be supported with different opinions in different places for different reasons. What is worship is defined by one person one way and another person in a completely different way.
That is what makes hybrid faith a slippery critter to lasso. Defining it is difficult to do because, whether we want to confess it not, our picture of what it is includes our own faith journey experience. It becomes a “snipe” that is hunted, but never really found. The difference is that hybrid faith is there, and growing like the exhaust smoke trailing a ’66’ Chrysler Newport.