after all these years of walking a life of faith, i am more convinced and confident of the reality of a creator god of the universe, the veracity of the bible, the authenticity of genuine belief, and the uniqueness of jesus…than i have ever been.
i also live in the daily beauty of real, deep, profound and life-altering friendships with people who exist because there is more to living than simply what meets the eye…we are all created in the image of a god who designed us for deep connection with others.
the majority…the overwhelming majority…of my days are framed with a purpose greater than myself and an awareness that the world does not revolve around me. concepts like discipline, compassion, grace, patience, love, submission and gratitude are the simply fruit of a bigger picture that comes from a life of faith.
with that said, i am also at a time in my life where i have more questions and more frustration with the journey of faith than at any point in my life. go figure.
i know a lot of this comes from how easy it is for me to identify with people who walk away from the church. not just to another church, but who walk away from any church. many of them are people i love deeply and still have wonderful relationships with.
i find myself agreeing with so many of their frustrations. often, my explanations of why things appear the way they do… or my answers to difficult questions…seem woefully shallow. and end up raising even more questions.
why is science and evolutionary thought so often seen as the enemy of faith?
why do so many church people treat women as second class and inferior to men?
why is sexual “sin” so much bigger than all the other “sins”?
why does everything have to have a simple answer?
what is up with christian’s infatuation with following charismatic leaders?
why do so many people claim to believe a book they have never read cover-to-cover?
why is doubt seen as a bad thing?
why do so many christian’s feel a need to judge and condemn?
why don’t we openly address the examples of violence, genocide, and the blatant devaluing of women found in the bible?
why do we so casually and flippantly disregard the teachings of jesus?
why are our rights as americans often held in higher regard than our citizenship in the kingdom of god?
if truth is absolute, why is there so much room for personal interpretation of the bible?
why do people who claim to know the love of god…act with the same kind of drama, jealousy, and selfishness as those who claim no awareness of god at all? and sometimes even much worse…
so many more…
i know my questions are, in and of themselves, rather judgmental and condemning. as i read back over them, i see that i might be guilty of my own criticism. but that’s the risk of baring one’s own soul.
i know there are many people who struggle with wrapping their head around the existence of a personal god or the resurrection story or the reality of a spiritual world. i feel for them and i wish they wouldn’t simply reject it as a matter of intellectual suicide. but there’s not much i can do about that one.
but because my life has been spent as a shepherd-guide in the church for my whole adult life, my heart breaks and my frustration boils when i see “us” (church people…both individually and collectively…and myself included) act in ways that casually, and sometimes callously push people away by our behavior.
and i wonder if we just don’t know. or just don’t care.
whether it is our clueless insensitivity or hard-headed unawareness…or plain old relationship laziness…we need to recognize there are things that need to change. there are questions we need to address. there are mysteries that need to be acknowledged. there are apologies that need to be offered. there are high-horses that need to be climbed down from.
and there are doors that need to be opened. again.
do you get what i’m feeling? i hope so.