I admit I was a bit dismayed to hear that the public radio program Speaking of Faith is changing it's name to "Being, with Krista Tippett." While I understand the cultural forces -- along with the new national audience -- that shaped the decision to move away from the "f" word, it raises good questions for anyone who finds their "native" language being shaped by forces beyond their control.
"Faith" in Lutheran parlance is a leap, a risky reliance on God alone that has nothing to do with rigid certainty and everything to do with a relationship of trust. When Luther relied on "faith alone," he was saying that he couldn't rely on his own righteousness OR on the "right-ness" of an institution. He risked his life for this kind of faith because it gave him the freedom to be God's child, sinning boldly and relying on grace instead of institutional approval.
Unfortunately, our current religious climate has turned both "religion" and "faith" into bad words, words that imply an exclusivity that is finally contrary to the Gospel, IMHO. The graphic that accompanies SOF's announcement says it all: they see the movement as one from static to dynamic.
It's a live question for ECLC as we get ready to launch a new worship experience. We're naming it "Bonfire," a word that has deep resonance for the kind of holy space and community we hope to have here. But we know that for some people any image of fire is going to be problematic (especially in light of recent anti-Muslim demonstrations). How do we communicate -- in a tagline or less -- that this holy ground is actually an open circle, a dynamic space to encounter a living God rather than a dead word? I'm not sure, but I'm not yet willing to give up on language that has deep meaning just because some parts of our culture deem it too dangerous.