Rich started writing for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as music critic for the symphony and opera seasons. Originally from Granite City, IL, he graduated from Simpson College with a degree in music education. In 1984 he received his MA in Music ...
Rich started writing for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as music critic for the symphony and opera seasons. Originally from Granite City, IL, he graduated from Simpson College with a degree in music education. In 1984 he received his MA in Music Education from Truman State. Now retired, Rich enjoyed reading, writing music and short essays. He is the director of Kirksville Community Chorus.
MCKNOTES ON FAITH
From time to time I have a difficult time thinking of what I want to write about. I committed to writing two segments a week, and while it’s not a requirement, I do my best to honor that original agreement. When I get stuck I think back to my original statement regarding what I would write about. I said I would write about anything that affected my life.
I’ve decided this time to write about my faith. I am a Christian and have been all of my life. I have spent the majority of Sunday mornings in church, though there have been times when I take a break. That doesn’t mean that my faith wanes. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. For me, sometimes I think my faith is stronger when I’m not involved in weekly group worship. I think faith is a very personal thing, and while I recognize the value of attending services with other Christians, I don’t believe it is necessary in order to sustain one’s fervor.
Let me be clear. For me, the most important part of calling myself a Christian is the way I live. That has less to do with my personal habits than it has to do with how I treat the people around me. I believe that non-judgmental kindness and true compassion for people is a significant part of being a Christian. My father, who was a great model of his own faith, always reminded me that we are all sinners, but we are privileged to walk in the light of redemption according to the Holy Bible. That doesn’t give us a free pass to do whatever we want and ignore the moral guidelines provided by the Bible.
Every church has its own tenets and specific dogma regarding what’s right and what’s wrong. Growing up, I was not allowed to attend movies or dances. Later in life those “rules” relaxed, and even my parents sometimes attended movies. Some churches consider smoking and drinking sinful. The list of various dos and don’ts is long and confusing.
I think it’s important to believe there’s something greater than ourselves on which to rely. It’s often referred to as a higher power after it passes through the political correctness filters. I believe in a higher power. I don’t know the answers to the great questions of life. I don’t think that’s required of me. I just want to feel that I’m living my life in a way that is not hurtful to others. I try to do my best to help others in whatever way I can.
We tend to lean toward faith when things are going wrong. In my prayers, I rarely ask for anything for myself. Even when I was facing the most difficult health situation ever, I never prayed that it would just go away, only that I would have the strength to endure whatever came my way. I never wanted to be a burden to anyone. I’m not afraid to die, though I truly enjoy life. I don’t’ want to be sick, especially to be dependent upon anyone to take care of me.
I believe that faith brings me through the difficult times in life. I also believe it helps me to insure that I have mostly good times in my life.
Some people have difficulty with faith. I find it necessary to get through the valleys up to the peaks. I will gladly share my faith with anyone who cares to discuss it, but I do not favor forcing my views on others. It’s important to let people decide what works for them.