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The Texas Bigfoot Conference, hosted last weekend by Jefferson, Texas, welcomed four hundred firm believers to discussions of sightings and tracking techniques, as well as souvenir tables that offered a T shirt which said, "Bigfoot: Often Imitated, Never Invalidated." It impresses me when people are willing to devote their weekend to something they feel strongly about, and who proudly wear their faith across their chest in a succinct statement. But according to Daryl C. Colyer, a Lorena businessman who has investigated hundreds of reported bigfoot sightings in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, "It's not a matter of believing, like faith, when you believe in something you can't see. It's a flesh and blood animal that just hasn't been discovered yet. And I think we're getting closer and closer and closer," Colyer said.
Interesting stuff. But I think Mr. Colyer may have it all wrong, not about bigfoot, but about faith and how we live it. The only Bigfoot I personally met was a sweet, loving cat, aptly named, being the only cat in history to make noise as he walked across a carpeted floor. I have, however, bumped up against enough moments of faith in action to recognize them as flesh and blood animals just waiting to be discovered.
The author of the book of Hebrews knew about this bigfoot style of faith, and documented it quite clearly in chapter eleven. Beginning with, :"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, the author goes on to list countless examples of the unseen becoming embodied by some of the biggest and brightest names in our faith history. Sarah, Jacob, Abel, Moses, all made a flesh and blood discoveries of their faith in completely unexpected ways, to say the least. I think that if Sarah had had a moment between contractions giving birth to Isaac, she might have mentioned God's sense of humor, and the reality of her labor pains. There are many more historical figures, from the disciples to the early church leaders, from fifteenth and sixteenth church reformers to eighteenth century missionaries, from believers who helped settle the Western United States to believers who died helping to settle the questions of the Civil Rights movement, all of these women and men, known and unknown, understood the meaning of what embodied, flesh and blood faith was all about, and what it could sometimes cost.
Embodied faith, having a sense of purpose that can be translated back to an articulated belief in God, is the major issue of the Christian community today. There is no such thing as preaching to the converted if the converted don't understand that faith is more than a moment in time in which they knew that God existed and loved them. How does my faith inform my life? is the question we should each be regularly asking ourselves. As its companion should be our ready response to live by what we believe.
The Texas Bigfoot Conference has come to a close, and the faithful seekers of the undiscovered , yet clearly evident creature, have moved back into their work of sighting, tracking and documenting. These bigfoot enthusiasts could teach us something about sighting, tracking documenting and embodying our beliefs. If nothing more, adopting their mantra, that the discovery of bigfoot is getting closer and closer and closer, would do a lot for our sense of urgency and depth of commitment to following through on the details of the everyday, ordinary life in which God resides. Every choice we make, every action we take with God as our guide in the discovery process creates a foot path of faithful living. We are called to the discovery of the experience of resurrection in our own lives, and that is what faith is all about.
This article was posted on November 01, 2005