As we've announced our move to start a church in urban Cincinnati, the one question we're constantly asked is, "Will you feel safe down there?" It's a question that both Kelly and I have struggled with throughout this process. During the week after we made our official announcement, there were two shootings within ten blocks of the building where [hopefully] our church will be meeting. We have friends and family members who are concerned for our wellbeing and have advised us to either invest in bulletproof vests or purchase assault rifles. It's wonderful when people are that enthusiastic and encouraging about the place to which you're moving. I won't lie and say that I'm fearless about relocating there but, at the same time, I'm refusing to buy into the Chicken Little gospel that some people are preaching to us.

In light of the terrible bombings in London earlier this morning, I think all of us need to come to grips with this question: how safe will we ever be? We might think you have a pretty safe existence because we've protected ourselves: living in the suburbs in a Midwestern American town, driving cars side-impact airbags, having three different bolt/lock combinations on our front doors, receiving yearly immunizations from infectious diseases. Safety, pure and simple. But we fool ourselves into thinking that just because we've isolated ourselves from apparent danger that we're free from harm. Despite our best intentions, we put ourselves in harm's way everyday. I don't mean to frighten, I just want us to realize that we've never been as safe as we've told ourselves we are.

There's a direct correlation between our feelings of safety and faith. I been thinking about all of this since my post from a couple of days ago. Everything we do in life is based upon faith. You don't live a day when you don't exercise faith in something or someone. That's why atheists crack me up; they definitely have faith, it's just everywhere but in God. When I hop in my Explorer to go someplace, I exercise immense faith. I trust that the automotive manufactures at Ford built a car that won't blow up. I trust that Shell sold me gasoline and not sugar water. I trust that county officials have synchronized the traffic lights so that everyone doesn't try to go through the intersection at the same time. I trust that the semi-truck driver that I'm tailgating secured his load well enough so it doesn't crush me. And obviously I trust hundreds of other drives to act responsibly behind the wheel of their car. I love the fact that the same people who lament over our safety in moving to the hood drive the expressway everyday [and don't worry, cell phones make them better drivers]. It's all about faith.*

We repeatedly live by faith, but want to hold back when it comes to our personal safety. It's my belief that sin emerges when we substitute our worship of safety for our worship of God. When we trust in the items of this world to protect us and not the Creator of the Universe, we're not practicing true faith. How safe will we ever really be? We were never promised safety in this world. Sin ruined it all. So as we go out to live our lives, we shouldn't deceive ourselves into thinking that we're ever truly safe. Maybe we'd do greater things if we didn't dwell on it so much.

* I wasn't sure where to fit this in, but think about the faith you have in paper. You work hard everyday to receive a fair wage. Hardly any of you are paid with actual articles or items for your services rendered [sorry if I offended my mob friends with that statement]. No, you get a paycheck, a piece of paper, that you hope the bank will acknowledge so that you can get more paper: cash. You then go into a retail establishment and trust that they will acknowledge that paper as having value so you can purchase what you want. Your entire livelihood is based on imaginary numbers expressed through pieces of paper.

It's truly a fascinating thing to think about. For most of American history, the value of the dollar was linked to the gold standard, i.e. you could go to the government and request they give you gold for your dollars and they couldn't deny you. It was President Nixon in 1971 who removed the gold standard and, since then, the money you have in the bank and in your pocket are based on the faith of the United States government. How safe does that make you feel?