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‘Work-less’ faith is ‘worth-less’ faith

Created date

June 21st, 2011

Welcome to Living faith, where faith meets life. What is living faith? Ruth Pundt s faith is alive and making an impact in Baltimore. The 77-year-old, who lives at Oak Crest in Parkville, Md., lifts the spirits of hospice patients with warm conversation and hot chocolate. She assists with three worship services every week for assisted living residents and stays after for several hours visiting and offering practical help with their daily activities. Ruth heeds the words of the prophet Micah, who stressed that God desires reverent hearts and attitudes that translate into actions: And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Unstained by the world

The epistle of James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab to make the point that living faith exists not only in the mind but reaches the heart, tongue, and hands. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. While there is no shortage of faith (according to the Barna Group, about 94% of Americans age 61 and over believe in God), faith that lives is getting harder to find. In a recent Gallup poll, 70% said that religion is losing influence on American life, the lowest level since the Vietnam era of the late 1960s. Not so with Col. Michael Oldham of Annapolis, Md., who, after retiring from the Army, earned master s and doctorate degrees in theology. Now, at age 72, he ministers to military members and families at Fort Meade and teaches theology and Bible courses in a variety of settings, including two seminaries, a business group, and, formerly, in a prison. Examples from other readers who knit prayer shawls, advocate for social justice, protect the environment, and counsel cancer patients encourage the heart and stir the soul. But how does one develop living faith and continue to grow in it? Please share your ideas and experiences with me by regular mail at 703 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228, or email atbill@ericksontribune.com.

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