By using words like “faith” I am really misconstruing my intent. Words like faith can easily be part of what I call god-talk which amounts to chatter which I sometimes describe as, “gospel-eze.” For example, I could go down to a church and banter about “God” and “the Holy Spirit” and “Grace” and “the Second Coming” and “the Lord’s Supper” and do so adroitly and readily find a place in a social context. And, I find each of these terms of value but if I should do so as described I would be grossly out of line and disrespectful to the people of that church for my needs of a social context have already been met elsewhere. And “banter” as offered above certainly has its place but the problem lies in it never becoming more than banter with no effort made to explore these and other words and concepts beneath the surface so that they have personal meaning. In some contexts, the need for social connection and for maintenance of the social connection are so paramount that the verbiage must not only be the same but its meaning must remain the same disallowing any real personal meaning to take place. For “personal” meaning occurs when words and concepts find application in that “foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart” which is never found when a rigidly scripted format is valued over personal experience.
Let me illustrate with a common spiritual notion like “sin.” Sin is simple when it is kept on the superficial level of a judicial act that has occurred “in Adam,” as in the “Adamic fall,” or in the day-to-day misdeeds that we all make. But sin is more of a challenging notion if we see it as a state of separation from our Source, a state which leaves us in the darkness, a darkness which Paul had in mind when he declared that at best we only, “see through a glass darkly.” Understanding this heart-level dimension of sin then makes us aware of how our ego influences our interpretation of our day-to-day experiences, even our spirituality so that we become aware even of the self-serving nature of our spirituality itself. This insight then makes grace, for example, even more meaningful as we can see God’s forgiveness as covering even that sin and allowing us to be a bit less spiritually arrogant than we had been before.