November 22–Faith: Distributed Trust

I have written here that faith is trust.  I have also written that faith may be more useful to us as a verb than as a noun:  to place one’s heart upon something, to engage in life in the present moment.

I recently heard a discussion on the radio about what is happening to our experience of trust in this country.  It will be a shock to no one that the consensus was that trust in large institutions is crumbling: government at any level, churches, charitable organizations, schools, etc.

But, it’s not, some argue, that trust is disappearing.  Trust is changing–from giving our loyalty and openness to institutions to extending ourselves in relational ways.  They call it “distributed trust.”  We see this happening all the time.  When we review a product online and see that 75 other customers have given it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  We are more likely to purchase that item trusting the experience of people like us.

While our ability to trust external systems of power is crumbling, our willingness to trust relational experiences seems to be growing.  There real potential for spiritual practice there.  If I can pay attention to the business ratings of 75 people whom I don’t know but whose experiences I will heed, perhaps I can choose to lean into a live person in the moment and ask about their experiences.

Especially those who seem to hold different views.  For instance: Tell me more about what you think of immigration policies.  I have a number of people in my life whom I care for deeply who are immigrants–some documented and others not.  I’m looking for our best solutions.  What do you think they could be?

And then listen.  I stand to learn whatever the response is.

Bob Patrick

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