Escondido, CA

‘Setting the record straight’



Recently someone asked me what I do for a living. When I told him that I pastor a church in town he replied, “Oh, so… you’re a man of faith.” My response got him thinking and I hope it’ll get you thinking as well.

“You’re a man of faith too, you know.” His facial expression became that of bewilderment because his family didn’t attend church in his growing-up years and, well, he considered himself an agnostic. In other words, he neither claimed faith nor disbelief in God. He “believed” that nothing could be known beyond material phenomena.

I couldn’t help but to chuckle when he shared this because it reinforced my statement that, indeed, he is a man of faith! The fact of the matter is that we all are.

You sit down on a chair confident that it will support you. You stand in a line assured that the product you need will still be available when you place your order. You do not question true love or gravity or the laws of logic and yet you cannot see such things.

Also, the faith you exercise is not a blind faith. Your faith is predicated on the fact that you have sat on chairs thousands of times in your life and, well, they never collapsed on you. You’ve seen pictures of the earth being round and spinning on its axis and so gravity just makes sense because you’re not floating away like a helium balloon into the sky.

The thought of blind faith is not only preposterous in such matters; it’s also preposterous in regards to belief in God. Why is that? Well, there are various reasons, but I’ll just highlight one: Blind faith is preposterous because man has the capacity to contemplate ultimate reality.

French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal is quoted as saying, “I only know that on leaving this world I fall either into nothingness or into the hands of a wrathful God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be everlastingly consigned.” Pascal’s quote is a testimony to the statement that we, unlike all other creatures on the earth, have a capacity to explore a meta-physical, transcendental reality. If such a reality truly does exist, then perhaps God exists.

And if God exists, then perhaps the Biblical narrative of His redemptive plan for humanity through belief in Jesus Christ exists as well.

The narrative starts with, “In the beginning, God (Genesis 1:1)…” If you have the faith to believe that, then keep on reading. And if you keep on reading, then don’t be surprised if you find in yourself the faith to believe in the rest.

~ Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 23 years and have three children age 13 years and under. Jacob (13), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 12 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.

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