The analogies, examples and humor are really very good. Below, I've typed out an example of an analogy. This is mostly for L.P. at Extra Nos. I've tried to post it there, but as previously when I've tried to post a longer comment to Australia it got lost in the world wide web somewhere. So it's typed here and can try over without typing it once more, as I just had to do.
Trick or Treat
Faith is like trick-or treating. "Trick or treat!" Those were great words. they still are. they are words of kids either greedy or full of trust. The words conjure memories both painful and pleasant. i suppose that a literal interpretation would be that if you do not give the kids some candy, they will push over your outhouse or throw eggs at your car. but that's not what the words mean. They simply mean; "We think that you are going to give us some candy."
When I went trick-or-treating for the first time, around the age of 7, I was green, a novice. My family had just moved to the big city of St. Louis from the country. Knowing nothing of the rules of Halloween, my ignorance showed. My costume was cumbersome. It was cold outside, so I had to wear a jacket over the skeleton outfit. The string on my mask broke after the fourth house, and I somehow felt obligated not to appear at the doorsteps of any erstwhile donors without a covering, so I held my mask in place with one hand. At the same time I had tyo go to the bathroom, a condition that worsened as the evening dragged on. My outfit was all one piece and I could not relieve myself without stripping down to my underwear, a process that modesty precluded. So, as little boys are wont to do, I used my second hand to hold something else. but hands occupied, I could not offer my bag to the nice people at the doors who wanted to shower the coveted confections upon all the kids of the neighborhood. Desperate, I begged my friend, Mark, to get candy for the both of us, and he graciously complied. Unfortunately, his bag had previously been used by his mother to haul meat from the grocery store and had sprung a particularly insidious leak. The evening's efforts were largely lost.
I come from a large family and practiced "survival of the fittest" where any food not in the five main groups was concerned. So my sibling shared only enough goodies to forestall the creeping guilt often associated with enjoying themselves too much in the presence of another's pain. The evening was not at all what it was cracked up to be. The only happy note was when Mrs. Franzmann, who lived down the street, came by out of sheer pity and gave me a couple of leftover popcorn balls. I learned a very valuable lesson that night. The bag is the most important instrument in the trick-or-treater's arsenal. Without it you are dead. With it you have everything.
The next year I used a pillowcase and had enough candy to last until Thanksgiving. I stuffed my face with sweets until my belly swelled and my teeth rotted. I was the happiest guy on earth and never gave the bag a second thought.
Faith is like a trick-or-treater's bag. When you don't have it, you are lost. When you do have it, all you think about is what's in it. When a person does not have faith, we say, "They are lost. You can't get to heaven without faith. Faith is necessary." but when a person believes, you stop talking about faith and talk only about Jesus. The way to get a person to believe is not to discuss the importance of faith. Instead, you have to talk about Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
What do you think of the analogy? Is it hitting the nail on the head? What about the conclusion? Perfect? or stuff to quibble with?