Bob Tamasy: A Little Bit Of The Real Thing, Without Catching It

Monday, November 18, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? If not, you’ll probably want to do so soon – being laid up with the flu isn’t something anybody puts on a bucket list. It’s interesting, isn’t it? We go to the doctor, or local pharmacy, to receive a vaccination containing a tiny bit of the real disease, a killed or weakened strain, so we won’t catch the disease itself. Just enough so we don’t get infected.

A vaccine – for maladies like the flu, shingles, measles, polio, rubella, diphtheria, whooping cough and smallpox – contains dead germs that cause our bodies to produce antibodies, defenders against the live germs that cause the disease. The result is immunity against foreign invaders, antigens that can attack and afflict a healthy body. (Thus sayeth Google.)

End of science lesson. My point is, being vaccinated physically is usually a good thing. But spiritually? Not so much.

We often hear of individuals, particularly young people, turning their backs on the faith in which they were raised. They might have belonged to families that attended services every time the doors opened. Their parents might have been prominent in their spiritual community. In some instances their fathers were revered pastors. But for these offspring, teachings they heard and faith they saw demonstrated – or thought they were seeing – weren’t enough.

The question becomes, why not?

First off, faith in Jesus Christ isn’t something one inherits or passes on to the next generation. You can’t write it in your will. You can demonstrate it through your own life, and you can be remembered for it, even as part of your personal legacy, but you can’t bequeath it to anyone.

Genuine faith is both personal and individual. No one can give it to you. Unlike disease, faith can be communicated but it’s not communicable. But perhaps you can become “vaccinated” against it.

Young people are amazingly perceptive. They can spot counterfeits from miles away, especially of the “do as I say, not as I do” variety. They are justifiably suspicious of people that don’t practice what they are so fond of preaching.

And in today’s religious culture, in efforts to make the Bible and talk of God seem more “palatable,” the message has sometimes become so diluted as to become virtually meaningless – and “harmless.” Sounds a bit like a vaccine.

This might be one reason the apostle James wrote words some people through the centuries have found troubling, referring to the importance of inward faith being evidenced by outward behavior. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:17,26). Kind of like a vaccine?

He wasn’t suggesting the Bible teaches we can earn God’s acceptance or that the biblical doctrine of grace (undeserved, unmerited favor) is in any way lacking. But he was pointing out professed faith, without actions that flow from it, might be as counterfeit as a supposed apple tree that never bears fruit.

If our walk fails to align with our talk, no matter how piously and properly we speak, maybe we should check to see whether our faith is genuine – or if we’ve only been vaccinated. 

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


New Book By Local Author Helps Children Know God

Local author Karen Sherrill believes others can help children know God through his Word and that by knowing him, they can begin to trust him in challenging circumstances. This is the goal behind her story about a little girl with a great, big faith in God in her new children’s book, “Gena Trusts God”   ( published by WestBow Press ).   Written in a simple poem ... (click for more)

Jesse Pirschel To Be Installed As New Pastor At Covenant Presbyterian

Pastor Jesse Pirschel will be formally installed as the new senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) by the Tennessee Valley Presbytery at 6 p.m. on Sunday. A reception will follow in the Schum Fellowship Hall. Pastor Pirschel and his wife, Lenny, were born and raised in California, moving to Chattanooga from Temecula, Ca., after being called by Covenant Presbyterian ... (click for more)

East Ridge High School Football Field North Stands Condemned; Next Home Game To Be Moved

The main stands at the East Ridge High School football stadium have been condemned. The field was being used for pee wee football on Saturday, but the north section was roped off for safety purposes. Fans at the games were watching from metal bleachers on the opposite side. Officials said some fans had complained about the condition of the old concrete facility, including ... (click for more)

Assessor Bennett, Former Assessor Ramsey In Jetton Camp For Assessor Of Property

Assessor of Property Bill Bennett and former Assessor Claude Ramsey recommended Sterling Jetton as the next assessor at a breakfast fundraiser at Wally's Restaurant in East Ridge on Saturday morning. Mr. Jetton, who spent 27 years in the assessor's office, is running against County Commissioner Marty Haynes in the March 1 Republican primary. Noting the political heavyweights ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Black Lives Matter’ To Me

Between the time a 14-year-old boy was shot four times late Sunday afternoon on 7 th Street and a 20-year-old reputed gang member was killed Tuesday night on Willow Street, there appeared in my morning reading an article on “Black Lives Matter.” I read it because I mourn over what the black community continues to struggle with in both our city and our country. It is an article, ... (click for more)