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OUR LIVING ROOM FAITH

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REV. ANDREW DEMOTSES

In every house that I have lived in since I have been a child, we have had two rooms; one we called the living room, and the other was a room in which we really lived. The living room was for show, for guests and more formal occasions. The room we lived in was for relaxing, for taking off our shoes, for reading a paper and eating dessert. The living room had delicate chairs, a lovely sofa, lamps and art work. The room we live in has a television set. The living room, to tell the truth, is not for us; it is for guests and to put our best foot forward. It is a place where we pretend that this is how we live, when in reality our daily life goes on in the worn but comfortable family room, delicately hidden from obvious view.

Some people do the same with their religion; they have a living room faith. They have it for public consumption, for looks and not for life. It is a faith which asks only the easy questions and offers only the cliche answers. People keep a living room faith by paying their church dues; if anyone asks, they can say they belong. They attend church once or twice a year; at Easter everyone will see them there. They are polite to others but seldom take the time to be truly kind. They occasionally give contributions, especially when embarassed in front of others, but never sacrifice. For people such as these, all of their life is public and no part of it is hidden. They have no inner life in a deep and enriching sense. Everything they do is outer, is shallow. These are people who live exactly as Christ condemned when He said, "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them."

We need to be certain that our faith is not a "living room faith" that does not touch our real lives. Rather it needs to be a force in our lives that strenghtens and upholds us, that stands in judgement over us, and is found not in our living rooms but in our living.

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